Monday, July 16, 2018
Today, in Mercy, on this Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, we consider our devotion to Mary, the Mother of Jesus.
Devotion is the honor we we offer Mary and the saints, hoping to imitate their holiness in our own lives. Devotion differs from adoration, which is the prayer we offer to God alone.
Some question the role or efficacy of devotion in our spiritual lives, feeling that the spiritual life is a relationship specifically to God. But for those of us who believe in the Communion of Saints, the power “mentorship” from the saints is unquestionable.
Devotions also play a key role in the early development of our faith. My own faith received abundant nourishment from my mother’s devotion to the Miraculous Medal, and my father’s unending novena to St. Joseph. Even now, in my mature years, I still return to these two devotions when faced with a critical concern.
Like so many of you, my own young mastering of the Rosary gave me a loving awareness of the evolving life of Christ. And a host of beloved prayers deepened my love of God, including the Prayer before the Crucifix and St. Patrick’s Breastplate. You may want to remember your own favorite devotions – some which you may still use in times of difficulty or uncertainty.
Sacred objects can also support our developing faith – a precious medal, a special statue, a scapular, or a relic. Contemporary religious practice is less focused on these supports, but their value as simple devotional tools is abundantly proven.
What is important to remember is that the value of these devotions and sacramentals lies in their ability to lead us to relationship with God, not in any “magic” they themselves possess.
For those of us with a special devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, (the Sisters of Mercy included), this is a day to ask Mary’s maternal favor on our lives and world. Picture yourself wrapped in her loving mantle, your deepest needs receive by her maternal heart.
Departure from the Music today – a short reflection on Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and the Carmelite Order.