Teresa and Our Lady

St. Teresa of Avila and Our Lady

Saint Teresa writes:

“Before entering the new monastery [of San José, Avila], while in prayer outside in the church, being almost in rapture, I saw Christ who seemed to be receiving me with great love, and placing a crown on my head and thanking me for what I did for His Mother.”
“Another time while all were in prayer in Choir after Compline, I saw Our Lady in the greatest glory, clothed in a white mantle; it seemed she was sheltering us all under it. I understood how high a glory that Lord would give to those living in this house.”

What had the Saint done for the Immaculate One, the beauty and queen of Carmel? She had revived the life of the early hermits who dwelt on Mount Carmel, venerating the Mother of God, their sister and Lady of that holy mountain.

The Church has always considered Carmel as an Order dedicated in a particular way to the love and service of the Immaculate Mother of God. Its history and tradition have been bound to her with such sweet ties, that without its love for Mary, Carmel ceases to be Carmel. In the words of Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene, OCD:

“Devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is a call to the interior life, which is in a very special way the life of Mary. Our Lady wishes us to be like her, more in heart and in spirit, than by wearing an exterior habit. If we penetrate Mary’s soul, we see that grace flourished in her and that her interior life was immensely rich. She lived a life of recollection, of prayer, of uninterrupted self-giving to God, of continuous relationship with God and of intimate union. The soul of Mary is a sanctuary reserved for God alone, where no human creature has left an imprint, where there reigns love, zeal for the glory of God and for the salvation of people.”
“Those who wish to have a full and deep devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel must follow Mary in the profundity of her interior life. Carmel is a symbol of the contemplative life, a life wholly dedicated to the search for God, wholly turned towards divine intimacy. The one who most fully fulfills this high ideal is Our Lady, Regina Decor Carmeli. “In the desert, equity will live and on Carmel justice will preside. Peace will flow from justice and from justice silence will flow, and security forever. My people will live in peace, in a strong fortress.” These verses taken from Isaiah (cf. 32, 16-18) and used for the proper Office for Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, set out very well what is the contemplative spirit and at the same time are a beautiful sketch of the soul of Mary, who is a true “garden” (in Hebrew, “Carmel” means garden) of virtue, oasis of silence, of peace, in whom reigns justice and equity. She is a stronghold surrounded by the shadow of God and filled with God. Every soul called to the interior life, even if living in the midst of this noisy world, must seek to arrive at this peace and at this interior silence that makes possible the continuous contact with God. Only the soul which is completely detached and which has completely dominated all passions can, like Mary, be a solitary “garden” where the Lord finds delight.”