Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Inspired by the Carmelite Order, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel invites reflection on the life  of prayer and devotion to Mary that characterizes the Order. Although we may remember St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross for their mystical experiences, their lives were spent in obedience and prayer. The remarkable sense of God’s presence is the fruit of a disciplined attention, and, for St John, followed a long ‘dark night of the soul’. May his life continue to inspire us as we walk through the valley of the shadow.

.    .    .

…for his steadfast love endures forever.

.    .    .

So goes the line, repeated in all 26 verses of Psalm 136 (135 LXX). Every saving act of God recounted in today’s psalm should remind us (it seems to say) that God’s steadfast love endures forever. The psalm concludes with a stanza that makes me wish I could drop everything and go to Mass immediately:

It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
   for his steadfast love endures forever;
and rescued us from our foes,
   for his love endures forever;
he who gives food to all flesh,
   for his love endures forever.

O give thanks to the God of heaven,
   for his love endures forever.

I am reminded of the ultimate saving act of God, in which God remembered us in our low estate and came to join us. The Son of God came down, so that we might be raised with him, delivered from sin and death, and given new life. And that life, that deliverance, is remembered, celebrated and received anew in the sacrament of Christ’s body and blood. No matter how steep the mountain or how stormy the skies, the Lord gives himself as our food, our strength for the journey, for his steadfast love endures forever.

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