In the past week we’ve celebrated two major Carmelite feasts: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (July 16) and the prophet Elijah (July 20). These two great saints in different ways exemplify what Carmelite spirituality is about.
Elijah demonstrates the prophetic aspect of Carmelite spirituality. The Carmelite seal bears these words of his as a motto:
With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of Hosts (1 Kings 19:10).
Consumed with zeal for holinessElijah was not afraid to confront the rulers of his day. He risked death to preach repentance to King Ahab, while Queen Jezebel launched an anti-crusade to wipe out God’s prophets. He challenged the prophets of Baal to a contest on Mt. Carmel to see whose god would consume a sacrifice with fire from Heaven. After winning that contest (surprise!), Elijah had all the false prophets killed. He led the people to re-commit themselves to the true God.
Then he went and prayed that, seeing their repentance, God would send rain. Elijah’s prayers had kept the land in drought for three years.
So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Eli′jah went up to the top of Carmel; and he bowed himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees. And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again seven times.”And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising out of the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’” And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. (1 Kings 18:42-45)Since medieval times, Carmelites have seen the cloud as a symbol of Mary. She rises from the sea of our fallen humanity, a human being herself, yet without the stain of sin. She pours down on God’s people the pure water of His grace from Heaven. So the return of rain to the land of Israel is also a prophecy of the Woman whose cooperation with God’s grace will bring about the Incarnation.
Here are some more facts about Elijah:
His name means, “Yahweh is God.”He heard God speak to him in a gentle whisper (or “still, small voice”).He nearly despaired because he thought he was the last surviving faithful Israelite.He said, “The Lord my God lives, in whose presence I stand” (1 Kings 18:15).He raised a boy from the dead.He was taken up to Heaven in a chariot of fire.
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.
Back in Advent, Dan and I sang The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came as part of our Evening Prayer. It struck me how perfect this hymn was for teaching children about the Annunciation. I conceived the idea (yes, that’s a pun) of teaching children the meaning of the mysteries of the Rosary through song. Here it was I came up with for the Joyful Mysteries.
My primary goal in our Contemplative Homeschool is to teach our children how to grow in union with God. Christian meditation is a vital part of that process, teaching all of us to listen to God’s voice in the Scriptures, and to ponder His character in order to love Him better.
The Rosary provides a bridge between the vocal prayers we learn as children and more mature mental prayer. Through the Rosary, we meditate on the most important mysteries of our faith.
Many people have created ways to share the Rosary with children. In Singing the Rosary, I have the following goals:
leading children to see the Rosary as a means of meditation, so they are not just trying to concentrate on the words of the vocal prayersteaching them in detail about each of the mysteries, so they have plenty to meditate onlimiting the number of prayer repetitions until they understand what the Rosary is for
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.
|The Virgin Mary Reading by Walters. Here are the posts |
from 2013 she might recommend to you.
‘Tis the season for reviewing the old year. How did you advance towards God this year? Do you remember those blog posts that really struck you at the time, or have you forgotten them? Here are some reminders of how you can grow closer to Christ, taken from my blog posts over the past year.
1. Read the Gospels
If you want to advance towards God, you must learn to love Him. Read what He revealed about Himself. Need more motivation to read Scripture?
Here are 10 Reasons Catholics should read the Bible.
2. Stop making excuses for missing prayer
You’re not going to grow closer to Christ if you aren’t willing to make sacrifices to spend time with Him.
Read 7 Ways to make time for prayer.
3. Ponder God’s Word in your heart
This follows from #s 1 and 2. It’s a particularly Carmelite way of honoring Mary.
See Mary pondered all these things–do you?
4. Choose to become a saint
St. Thomas Aquinas told his sister that the way to become a saint is to will it.
See the details: Can you become a saint by sheer will power?
Read the rest of the list at Contemplative Homeschool.