The Community of the Beatitudes often refers to the Carmelite tradition, particularly on the subject of a life of orison. What does it mean? In what way is this reference
Life of prayer : To belong to the Virgin Mary (n°6)
Published on the 22 April 2021
A sister testifies: « I remember the day I heard that the Community belonged to the Virgin Mary. I said to myself « And whatever next! » Joy, amazement and questions rose from my heart. My head was muddled. Did Jesus love the Community so much as to give it to his Mother? The Community appeared in my view to be honored, enriched, more beautiful. Suddenly, its roots were immersed in Heaven! The Community was enveloped by Mary, as a mother envelops her child to protect it, to share her love and her secrets with it, lifting it up and holding it tight to her heart. What a mystery and what a grace! »
« The Community belongs to the Virgin Mary and exists for the unity of the Church » said Marthe Robin to Ephraïm one day. Several times and at crucial moments of the history of the Community, he received Marian « visitations » which enabled him, even as the Protestant he was, to receive the Marian sap of the Community.
Like us, the Order of Carmel has been aware of belonging to Our Lady from the beginning of its history in the Holy Land. This prophetic word is close in nature to the Secret of Mary by Saint Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort. This belonging to Our Lady is a gift received by grace and we should surely ask for it in an earnest N°6 – FEBRUARY 2019 prayer, and should do likewise concerning the mystery of Israel and other deep sources of our spirituality: « And thus the prophetic word is confirmed for us; you will do well to focus your attention upon it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts ” (2 P 1,19).
«Our belonging to the Virgin Mary feeds on the spirituality of Carmel and that of Saint Louis Grignon de Montfort. Different expressions of Marian devotion will highlight this point. » (GD n°20)
- Learning from Carmel
« « Carmelus totus marianus » «The Carmel is wholly Marian » How beautiful! Couldn’t we also state « Beatitudines totae marianae » « The Beatitudes are wholly Marian ». If the Carmelite order were to lose its love for Mary, it would deny its identity…isn’t it the same for us? Because this is really about our identity. The Blessed Titus Brandsma (martyred Carmelite priest) writes: « If a Carmelite brother wants to be like Mary in order to experience, as he follows in her footsteps, a more perfect communion with God, he must really become « another Mary ». He must allow Mary to dwell in him. Mary must not be outside of him, on the contrary he must lead a life which looks so much like Mary’s, that he is seen to live with, in and through Mary » (Hidden in Love – manual on the Carmelite life) In fact « to belong to » means « to be owned by » « to be answerable to ». « Belonging to » conjures up such a strong link, that it ends up by coloring the whole, setting, one could say, a family trait, an identity, an imitation, leading as far as to a familiar likeness. Finally, let us recall that the Carmelite scapular conjures up the Virgin Mary’s protection. At a time when the Carmel was going through a difficult period of reform (a new way of life was imposed on it) St Simon Stock, General of the order, begged the Virgin Mary for help. In a vision, on July the 16th 1251. She gave him the Scapular as a special sign of the Virgin Mary’s favor for all the members of the Carmel. An increase in vocations and a renewal of the order followed.
- Learning from St. Louis-Marie Grignon
He compares the Marian spirituality to a tree of life which has to be grown, cared for, protected, and watered. Even if the wind shakes it, Mary will strengthen it, providing her elect with the roots of a deep humility. « Whoever perseveres in growing the tree of life, meaning to live with Mary, has nothing to fear». (The secret of Mary, n° 77)
Through our consecration to Mary, every morning, we choose her for our Mother and Queen, yielding to her in total submission and love, our body, our soul our inner and external goods. Thus we call her queenship upon us which makes us servants, children and princes because « the treasure of the Mother belongs to the child». (Little Thérèse) Through this prayer said, either personally or in community, which is so often felt as an act of faith and surrender into Mary’s hands, we really entrust to her all our fraternal life, our work and our responsibilities, our path to conversion and our love for our neighbor and God, as to a steward, to whom we hand over everything and from whom we receive everything. Nothing is wasted and everything can be hoped for.
Queen and Mother
Please note that, among the Community’s liturgical calendar, we celebrate Mary as our Queen on the 22nd of August. So, not only do we belong to her, but we call upon her as the Queen of our Community. Doesn’t St John, at the foot of the Cross, reflect the Community and everyone of us? By God’s will, we belong to Mary because she has spoken her « yes » without waiting for ours. But like John, will we enter into Jesus’s will and be sons and daughters of Mary? Not only individually but as a Community, of one mind and one soul, giving itself as only the poor know how, saying « yes » in Mary’s « yes », which leads us to take her in our home.
We shall come back to these topics again in other bulletins, we have only touched on them lightly.
Let’s close this one by a prayer: « Sure refuge, lamp shining in the darkness of this world, ‘Mother of all our houses and of everyone of us’ (Act of surrender and consecration to Mary, Ephraim) blessed are you, Mary, our Mother! » Let us carry on our conversation with Mary, heart to heart, before honoring her with a « Hail Mary » entrusting her with all our intentions and asking her to make herself ever more known to us.
«If you know you are at home in sinu Matris (in your Mother’s womb) and dwell in it, giving her total freedom to do with you what she wants, you will begin, unavoidably, to look more and more like Jesus». Wilfrid Stinissen
To go further…
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