Since Carmel dates back far beyond that of Our Holy Parents, Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross, one would ask: where did it all begin? In 1321, Our Lady had revealed to Saint Peter Thomas that The order of Carmel is destined to exist until the end of the world. This […]The Mysterious Role of the Prophet Elijah: — Mary’s Secretary
Mary’s Secretary55 followersFollowing1
Since Carmel dates back far beyond that of Our Holy Parents, Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross, one would ask: where did it all begin? In 1321, Our Lady had revealed to Saint Peter Thomas that
The order of Carmel is destined to exist until the end of the world.
This would be fitting because in theory the very first monastic order to take form was under our original Carmelite (Desert) Holy Father, Elijah, who began his intense eremitical life on Mount Carmel where his original cell was that of a cave. This prophet who scripture tells us will also come back down to earth to prepare the world for the Second Coming of Christ, still has an important part to play. Many secrets have been revealed on mountaintops: Abraham went to such a place to sacrifice his son, Issac to God; Moses also received the Ten Commandments from God while on top of a mountain. Was it not Elijah who was next to Our Lord on a similar summit during His transfiguration? Finally, Elijah’s mysterious vision (described below) was seen on Mount Carmel. Now that we know the meaning of Our Lady’s mysterious prophecy of Carmel “destined” to exist until the end of the world, it would be only fitting that it’s father and founder would come back as Carmel’s commander-in-chief for the decisive and final battle ahead. So what makes Carmel, the desert – or mountain – destined for greatness?
Transfiguration of Our Lord
It has been demonstrated that the renewal of contemplative-monastic life brings revitalization to the Church. The effects of Protestantism, Secularism and the synthesis of all heresies which is Modernism, have all penetrated religious life. Thus, we must look back to Elijah where it all began; he was the prophet who was chosen to foresee the glorious foot of Our Lady predicting this future war between the seed of Satan and the seed of Her own:
Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel (the mount(tain), crouched down to earth and put his head between his knees. Six times he looked out to the seas and saw nothing. And the seventh time the youth reported, ‘there is a cloud as small as a foot rising from the sea.’ In Genesis, God the Father said to the serpent: ‘She will crush your head and you will strike Her Heel.’ (1 Kings 18:43)
Are Carmelite souls destined to form Her Heel? After all, it was Elijah on the top of Carmel who saw this Heel take shape. Only time will tell. However, at Fatima on October 13th, 1917 – the same day as the miracle of the sun – did not Our Lady also appear as Our Lady of Mount Carmel?
Carmel seems to be the key ingredient in proclaiming victory over Satan. Carmel was in a very real sense, the first monastic order to exist with Elijah; the first-ever founder and according to Our Lady, will it also be the last? The Blessed Virgin Mary has revealed extraordinary secrets of Her Heart through the holy prophets and order of Carmel: The gift of Her Scapular to Saint Simon Stock and the intense and disciplined rule of Saint Albert of Jerusalem. In no other apparition does Our Lady appear in a different habit, only the Holy Habit of Carmel. If we reread all that was written in regards to Fatima, the “Carmel destiny” and the future role of Elijah, we are reminded that Carmel is truly Our Lady’s order. Consequently, we do not limit ourselves to strictly looking back at Our Holy Parents Teresa and John, but to the very beginning where it all began on the mountain of Mount Carmel. As Scripture has shown us, it began with Elijah and it must end with him.
I want to share a story. After reflecting on this particular event today, I was utterly taken aback how God LED me to Carmel through it’s founder: Elijah. Three years ago I had actually found this story so moving that I wrote about it in one of my earlier blogs during 2017. At the time, I was briefly living in California and decided to fly to Colorado for Our Lady’s Centennial Anniversary of Fatima in May of that year. I theorized that since I had discovered my vocation to religious life in Colorado, it was only fitting to pay homage to Our Lady where my love for Her was cultivated. Although only a weekend trip, I was anticipating much excitement, but was disappointed when the three short days I was there were filled with confusion and truly odd sufferings. Just four days prior to May 13th , I had received my acceptance into the cloistered Poor Clare’s of the Immaculate in Acquapendente, Italy. At long last, I was finally ready to be a cloistered nun – something I had been running from for years (the desert!) Yet, why was I filled with anxiety, sadness and experiencing a lack of sleep and no appetite – especially on the day I have been waiting for, the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima.
I was about to get coffee with one of my closest friends and had a few minutes to spare, so I called my spiritual director to spill my heart, hoping to receive answers through him. I was a mess on the phone. I remember two things from that conversation. He had absolute confidence in my vocation, but he said,
Maybe you are not called to enter the Poor Clare’s of the Immaculate?
He proceeded to tell me about the life Teresa of Avila, my future “Holy Mother” led. He said she was so faithful to her vocation in the desert (being alone with Our Lord) that when she started making new foundations, she was so “done” with the world and it’s “affairs” that she kept her eyes cast down to keep her mind focused on her Divine Spouse. But, you know what this did for the people around her? My director said she converted people on the spot by her very presence, she didn’t preach; she didn’t need to. I felt instant consolation and a profound connection to this saint; for obvious reasons, now I know why. Saint Clare had never felt like a “mother” to me and I couldn’t figure that out. There was something about the desert of Carmel that I couldn’t shake.
When I entered Carmel we do not even call Teresa by her name, it’s always tenderly “Our Holy Mother”. Something about my spiritual director’s words regarding this saint just felt right. After I hung up from him and met with my friend, the exchange that followed only grew more intense for me. We sat down and I explained my situation and she said my predicament reminded her of the prophet Elijah growing tired on his journey and resting under a tree. It was the first time I heard the story so she pulled it up on google and read it to me. I was touched beyond words as she recited the following:
O Lord, take away my life; for I am no better than my fathers. And he lay down and slept under a broom tree; and behold an angel touched him, and said to him, arise and eat. (1 Kings 19:5)
The angel gave Elijah bread to eat and told him he still had a long way to go. My soul felt strengthened and revived from that story. It felt like my friend was that angel telling me to “arise and eat”; as if by filling the shoes of Elijah, I was simply feeling worn out myself. When the weekend came to an end, I was at the airport waiting for my flight and leaning against one of the airport pillars (might as well have been a “broom tree”). A family sat on the floor a few feet away and they pulled out various food items and a bag of bread sticks. I looked over at their impromptu meal and was reflecting on my poor appetite from the weekend; I remember telling God something along the lines of “I wonder when mine will return?” At the time when I had one of those “smart” phones, I pulled it out to open the “Divine Mercy App” and opened the part where Our Lord told Faustina,
In the evening, the Lord said to me, My child, rest on My Heart; I see that you have worked hard in My vineyard.
After reading that, I put the phone down and let those words sink in. At that moment, the mother of the family was still sitting on the floor; she turned, looked at me and held out the bag of bread sticks to give to me. For some reason, I do not remember having had any type of conversation with her; I only thanked her. I think I was too shocked. I had an image of Elijah being administered to by an angel and felt a wave of consolation wash over my soul. I took a bite and I smiled with some tears because I suddenly realized that my appetite had returned. Like my Holy Desert Father, I was given bread, too; modern-day pizza bread sticks from the airport to be sure, but symbolic, nonetheless!
Fast-forward three years later and it’s crystal clear, now. On the one-hundred year anniversary of Fatima I did in fact receive the greatest grace of my life: a call to Carmel through none other than Our Lady, “Our Holy Mother” and the one who started it all, Elijah. I received a foretaste of the “desert life” that weekend and looking back now, I see how more than ever that creating this new Carmel for Our Lady, shrouded in Our Lady of Fatima is truly not of my own will, but something willed by heaven. The great saints who called me to Carmel will never cease in telling me to “arise and eat; you have yet a long way to go”.
The Sisters I will never forget and who taught me so much.
Just twelve days prior to my departure from Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph we performed a play on the prophet Elijah for mother superior’s feast day; I was cast as the angel who appeared to Saint Elijah. I felt honored and it was a little comical to be cast in the opposite role of the one whose story I just shared with you. It was a musical and the angel (me) had a solo; the words the angel spoke were changed into an alto tone and the lyrics were filled with even more prophecy for what seemed to hint at my own life, yet again:
Oh rest in the Lord, wait patiently for Him and He shall give thee thy hearts desires. And He shall give thee thy hearts desires. Commit thy way unto Him and trust in Him; fret not thyself because of evil doers.
These were the gist of the words, but they were repeated over and over in different notes for two minutes or more. When I was rehearsing the music by myself with our novitiate piano player, something about the lyrics seemed to be directed at me, even though I was playing the part of the messenger to Elijah in the skit. It was like the meaning was the same one I had experienced years earlier on that memorable May 13th. Starting a new community was definitely not on my mind at that point, but my heart was telling me that no matter what the future held, Our Lord would fulfill all my desires and send His angels to assist me. As I stated in the beginning, Elijah still has a part to play; he will come back and prepare the way of the Lord before He returns – not as a Child, but an all-powerful King. This great “Desert Father” will never cease to give strength, courage and zeal to all his Carmelite sons and daughters. It started with Elijah and it must end with him. Elijah left on a chariot of fire; perhaps this is how he will return?
The vocation to Carmel – to the “mountain”- is not an easy one. It takes the strength of a man, Our Holy Mother Teresa was so adamant with this ideal that she told her daughters, “we must have no women in this house; we must be like strong men”. When she wrote this in her native tongue the Spanish translation was actually “we must be like bearded men”! The nuns always laughed at this; it shows what a sense of humor Teresa had, but her words were spot on. In a culture of feminism many might take offense to this, but from experience I have found how important this statement is. A bride of Christ must have a tender, motherly and feminine heart, but she must be strong and be able to stand, like Our Lady at the foot of the cross. Feminism is a great evil in the world and in the Church; Satan thrives off of it.
After many years of searching for my home, I have finally found it on the summit of Mount Carmel; the place where it all began. I went through much purification to get to this point, but my love for Carmel and the saints that it produces has instilled in me a purer love for this priceless vocation than I ever could have imagined possible:
The greater the suffering, the purer the love. ~Saint Faustina~
I always felt called to the most intense way of life possible. Earthly marriage between a man and a woman never seemed to fulfill my own desires and the role of a missionary sister also just wasn’t enough. However, when I imagined how the original Desert Fathers lived by leaving everything to be alone with God even if it meant living in a cave, there is something so utterly fascinating about that: to leave ALL for pure love of God. Ah, that is the love my heart desires! An intense way of life and a intense love of God and Our Lady. Truly, Carmel is Mary’s order and I can’t wait to see how it’s destiny is fulfilled through it’s Carmelite Father: Elijah.
MORE IN MARY’S SECRETARY
- A New Carmel for MaryCarmelite Hermits of Our Lady of Fatima and the Immaculate Heart: Hastening the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Desert Fathers and the Spirit of…
- Saint Michael Intervened…As Usual!I love telling this story and thinking about it in times of despair, doubt and fear. A few years ago I was staying at my grandparent’s house on my
In new biography, Benedict XVI laments modern ‘anti-Christian creed’
Benedict XVI holds his final general audience, Feb. 27, 2013. Credit: Mazur/www.thepapalvisit.org.uk (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).
CNA Staff, May 4, 2020 / 11:45 am MT (CNA).- Modern society is formulating an “anti-Christian creed” and punishing those who resist it with “social excommunication,” Benedict XVI has said in a new biography, published in Germany May 4.
In a wide-ranging interview at the end of the 1,184-page book, written by German author Peter Seewald, the pope emeritus said the greatest threat facing the Church was a “worldwide dictatorship of seemingly humanistic ideologies.”
Benedict XVI, who resigned as pope in 2013, made the comment in response to a question about what he had meant at his 2005 inauguration, when he urged Catholics to pray for him “that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.”
He told Seewald that he was not referring to internal Church matters, such as the “Vatileaks” scandal, which led to the conviction of his personal butler, Paolo Gabriele, for stealing confidential Vatican documents.
In an advanced copy of “Benedikt XVI – Ein Leben” (A Life), seen by CNA, the pope emeritus said: “Of course, issues such as ‘Vatileaks’ are exasperating and, above all, incomprehensible and highly disturbing to people in the world at large.”
“But the real threat to the Church and thus to the ministry of St. Peter consists not in these things, but in the worldwide dictatorship of seemingly humanistic ideologies, and to contradict them constitutes exclusion from the basic social consensus.”
He continued: “A hundred years ago, everyone would have thought it absurd to speak of homosexual marriage. Today whoever opposes it is socially excommunicated. The same applies to abortion and the production of human beings in the laboratory.”
“Modern society is in the process of formulating an ‘anti-Christian creed,’ and resisting it is punishable by social excommunication. The fear of this spiritual power of the Antichrist is therefore only too natural, and it truly takes the prayers of a whole diocese and the universal Church to resist it.”
The biography, issued by Munich-based publisher Droemer Knaur, is available only in German. An English translation, “Benedict XVI, The Biography: Volume One,” will be published in the U.S. on Nov. 17.
In the interview, the 93-year-old former pope confirmed that he had written a spiritual testament, which could be published after his death, as did Pope St. John Paul II.
Benedict said that he had fast-tracked the cause of John Paul II because of “the obvious desire of the faithful” as well as the example of the Polish pope, with whom he had worked closely for more than two decades in Rome.
He insisted that his resignation had “absolutely nothing” to do with the episode involving Paolo Gabriele, and explained that his 2010 visit to the tomb of Celestine V, the last pope to resign before Benedict XVI, was “rather coincidental.” He also defended the title “emeritus” for a retired pope.
Benedict XVI lamented the reaction to his various public comments since his resignation, citing criticism of his tribute read at the funeral of Cardinal Joachim Meisner in 2017, in which he said that God would prevent the ship of the Church from capsizing. He explained that his words were “taken almost literally from the sermons of St. Gregory the Great.”
Seewald asked the pope emeritus to comment on the “dubia” submitted by four cardinals, including Cardinal Meisner, to Pope Francis in 2016 regarding the interpretation of his apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia.
Benedict said that he did not want to comment directly, but referred to his last general audience, on Feb. 27, 2013.
Summing up his message that day, he said: “In the Church, amid all the toils of humanity and the confusing power of the evil spirit, one will always be able to discern the subtle power of God’s goodness.”
“But the darkness of successive historical periods will never allow the unadulterated joy of being a Christian … There are always moments in the Church and in the life of the individual Christian in which one feels profoundly that the Lord loves us, and this love is joy, is ‘happiness’.”
Benedict said that he treasured the memory of his first meeting with the newly elected Pope Francis at Castel Gandolfo and that his personal friendship with his successor has continued to grow.
Author Peter Seewald has conducted four book-length interviews with Benedict XVI. The first, “Salt of the Earth,” was published in 1997, when the future pope was prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It was followed by “God and the World” in 2002, and “Light of the World” in 2010.
In 2016, Seewald published “Last Testament,” in which Benedict XVI reflected on his decision to step down as pope.
Publisher Droemer Knaur said that Seewald had spent many hours talking to Benedict for the new book, as well as speaking to his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger and his personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein.
In an interview with Die Tagespost April 30, Seewald said that he had shown the Pope Emeritus a few chapters of the book before publication. Benedict XVI, he added, had praised the chapter on Pope Pius XI’s 1937 encyclical Mit brennender Sorge.
‘Einen wie ihn wird es nicht mehr geben’ Die Tagespost Peter Seewald, der Biograf von Benedikt XVI., erklärt, warum Joseph Ratzinger ein moderner Theologe ist und das …