16th May 2001 Joseph Chalmers O.Carm, Prior General Camilo Maccise OCD, Superior General
WITH MARY THE MOTHER OF JESUS (Acts 1:14)
It was with great joy that we received the letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II on the place of Our Lady in Carmel. Inspired by the Pope’s message, we too want to share with you some reflections on the importance of Mary in Carmelite spirituality.
- The Virgin Mary, our Mother, Patroness and Sister, is certainly one of the great gifts we have received from God and share with the Church. She is an essential part of our heritage. There is a widespread concern in all branches of our Carmelite Family to renew the theology and spirituality, devotion and love of Mary. For many centuries our devotion to and love for her has been centred in the Brown Scapular of Carmel. Our older friars and sisters will recall the celebration in 1951 of the 700th anniversary of the Scapular, marked by a warm commendation of Pope Pius XII in the letter he sent to the Superiors General of the Orders, Neminem profecto latet. It is fitting that fifty years later we should again reflect on Mary’s gifts to Carmel and ponder their meaning for ourselves and for the Church today.
- We are very conscious of the diffusion of Carmel worldwide. It is firmly established in five continents each with its own history and culture. Clearly the way in which the Mother of God is understood, preached and shared with God’s people will vary from one country to another, just as in the past it has been diverse from one century to another. We recognise that we can only give some central insights and directions, leaving to others the task of reflecting on our heritage in their own particular culture and of sharing it in the local Church.
A heritage in Dialogue
- “Generations of Carmelites, from the beginnings up to today, ….. have sought to model their lives after the example of Mary”(1). Each generation has the responsibility not only of living Carmel’s heritage but also of enriching it and passing it on. A heritage is something living that must be exposed to the real world and presented in the actual experience of the Church. Carmelite life must be in constant dialogue with the present and with the past. The riches of our tradition must indeed be preserved but in such a way that they are found to be relevant and meaningful for the present. We invite all Carmelites to take the opportunity of revisiting our past but with questions that come from our reading of the signs of the times and the places.
1. CORE MARIAN THEMES
- Carmel looks upon Mary as Mother, Patroness, Sister and Model, the last being particularly associated with the understanding of Mary as the Most Pure Virgin. These are not just titles or devotional themes. In some way they reflect the experience of the Carmelite Orders over many centuries. We invite all Carmelites to look again at the testimony of those who have gone before us and ponder how these riches might be shared among ourselves and with the wider community.
- When the early Carmelites came first to Europe, the idea of Mary as spiritual mother had been generally accepted following the sermons of the Cistercian Guerric d’Igny (d. 1157). The Carmelites readily took up this theme invoking her as their Mother and the Virgin, as in the Flos Carmeli: “Mother most tender, whom no man didst know”(2). Already in the word “Mother” there is a key idea in our heritage, namely relationship with Maryin this case as her sons and daughters. The title of Mother was much favoured in the Order, with the title “Mother and beauty of Carmel,” echoing Isaiah 35:2, being used in the liturgy from the late medieval period.
- Carmelite saints have all taken up this theme of Mary as mother(3). St Therese of Lisieux memorably stated: “She is more Mother that Queen”(4). For many centuries the Carmelite liturgy has shown special affection for the Gospel scene at the foot of the Cross (Jn 19:25-27) where Mary, “became the Mother of all, associated with the offering of her Son and given to all people when Jesus Himself gave Her to the beloved disciple”(5).
- Seeing Mary as Mother we are encouraged to reflect on our relationship with her: she cares for us as Mother; we love and respect her as sons and daughters. Moreover, in viewing Mary as our Mother, we are pointed towards her Divine Son in whose allegiance we live(6). From early times the Fathers of the Church have seen that a correct Mariology serves to guarantee a correct Christology.
- Our vision of Mary as Mother and Beauty of Carmel can be an important offering to the whole Church. Over a quarter of a century ago, Pope Paul VI invited theologians to look at the way of beauty as an authentic approach to Mary(7). In a world with so much distress and ugliness we are invited to look upwards and to relax in the contemplation of Mary’s beauty, for she is God’s “sign of favour to the Church at its beginning, and the promise of its perfection as the bride of Christ, radiant in beauty”(8). We encourage our theologians to reflect more on this rather neglected area of Carmelite Mariology.
- The title Patroness of Carmel has a long history in the Order. The dedication to Mary of the first chapel on Mount Carmel in the midst of the cells is certainly an indication of her patronage, which in feudal times indicated reciprocal relations and services. From its coming to Europe, beginning about 1230 and for 150 year afterwards, Carmel had a somewhat precarious existence. During that period the friars learned to trust in Mary’s help and protection. The very survival of the Order was entrusted to her, and the brothers felt confident of her protection and care. By the closing decades of the thirteenth century we find the idea that the Carmelite Order was especially founded for the honour and glory of Mary(9).
- Even if the language of patronage may not find immediate echoes in some of the cultures in which Carmel is now planted, the reality is part of our rich Marian life. Patronage implies a reciprocal relationship. We are aware of Mary’s care for the Church, for Carmel, and for ourselves. Such truths are for us a source of confidence and hope. But patronage reminds us of our response: we are to reverence, serve and love our Mother and Patroness. The earliest constitutions of which copies are extant(10) and ordinals(11) are very specific in showing ways to honour Mary through gestures, prayers and celebrations(12). We have from the 13th century the frequent recitation of the antiphons, Salve Regina and Ave Maris Stella(13). Soon the Saturday Station would have a pre-eminent place among Marian devotions of the Order. In the medieval period there was also the practice of celebrating many votive Masses in her honour. All of these are indications of ways in which Carmelites honoured their Patroness.
- A challenge for local communities will be to find suitable expressions of their relationship to Mary for themselves and for others in the Church. In this way, the reality of patronage, if not the word itself, will be enhanced for our times.
- When the hermit brothers came to Europe from Mount Carmel, they were called by the people and referred to by Popes as the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. Though this in the beginning would have signified their origin, and other orders at the time also saw themselves as Mary’s brothers, Carmelites in time sought to draw from their title the fact that if they are brothers of Mary, she is surely their Sister. Arnold Bostius (d. 1499) who synthesised our early tradition wrote: “The humble brother of Carmel can exult and sing with joy: ‘See! The Queen of Heaven [is] my sister; I can act with confidence and without fear'”(14).
- Though Sister would never be so widely used as the titles of Mother and Patroness, it is important to note that Pope Paul VI used it, when he spoke of all of us being children of Adam having Mary as Sister(15). The title would seem to have three great advantages for contemporary Carmelite reflection. It catches the idea, which lies also in Patroness, of Mary’s tender care and of easy and intimate relationships between Carmelites and the Mother of God. It presents Mary as our elder sister who goes before us on the journey to maturity in faith. Moreover, in certain cultures the idea of Mary as Spiritual Mother is difficult for some people; the title of Mary as Sister can be more attractive for them. Mary’s sisterhood is an insight that can be shared with the wider Church.
Model and Most Pure Virgin
- The notion of Mary as model of discipleship is very ancient in the Church. It is found in all eras of Carmel’s history. Our ancient and modern authors seek to show that Mary is model precisely of our Carmelite life. Thus John Baconthorpe (d. ca. 1348) wrote a commentary on the Carmelite Rule in which he drew out the similarity between the life of Mary and that of the Carmelite(16). In time this consciousness of the bond between Mary and Carmel developed in artistic representations, so that Mary is depicted as clothed in a Carmelite habit.
- Mary is the exemplar of the Carmelite especially as the Most Pure VirginVirgo Purissima. We possess abundant reflection on this title. The white cloak is a sign of our imitation of Mary. The well-known dedication of Carmelites to the Immaculate Conception and their defence of this truth are also part of Carmel’s love of the Virgin. But her purity is not narrowly restricted to chastity or celibacy. Mary is the pure one, of an undivided heart, total openness to God (the supreme model of vacare Deo). Indeed the double aim of Carmel as expressed in the ancient document of The Institute of the First Monks can find in Mary its fullest realisation(17).
- There are countless Carmelite texts that show Mary as the perfect mirror of its contemplative ideal and as model of docility to the Holy Spirit(18).
- For Bl. Titus Brandsma: Mary is the exemplar of all the virtues and is therefore twice our Mother. Her life is a mirror in which we can see how we ought to unite ourselves with God(19).
- The time since Vatican II has been one in which we have been encouraged to seek a devotion to Mary that is firmly based on the Sacred Scripture(20). If in the past, Carmelite writers and preachers were too prone to focus on the miraculous and extraordinary, we have also in our living tradition a sobriety that enables us to give our contemporaries a vital, and above all scriptural image of Mary. St Therese of Lisieux was not at all attracted by thoughts of Mary, which were not grounded in truth. Had she been able to preach one sermon on Mary she says, “I’d first make people understand how little is known by us about her life”(21). She had shortly before that given her profound thoughts on Mary in her poem, “Why I love you, O Mary”(22) which ponders lovingly her life as described to us in the Scriptures.
- The core Carmelite themes that we have been considering are very important for a proper understanding of the Carmelite Scapular to which we now turn.
II. THE SCAPULAR OF CARMEL
- Any revitalisation of the Carmelite Scapular demands that we consider it within the wider context of Carmel’s relationship with Mary. According to our saints what is important is a personal intimacy with the Mother of God and a commitment to take her as the model of Christian discipleship. The main themes of Mother, Patroness, Sister and Exemplar, can bring us to a deeper knowledge of Mary and to a more profound relationship with her. Only from this perspective can the Scapular be assumed as a sign that favours spiritual growth in Christian life.
Origins of the Scapular
- Historical scholarship on every aspect of the Scapular must continue in our Orders. However, irrespective of whatever future finding may be made, we can, and indeed must, be confident about the value of this ancient symbol, based on a venerable tradition(23). What Carmelites must do is to find a way of presenting the Scapular for those who feel convinced about the historicity of the vision and for those who do not find the historical evidence compelling. The central truth of the vision story is the lived experience of Carmel: Mary, its Patroness, has protected it and ensured its perseverance; Mary’s prayers are powerful in securing eternal life.
1. A sacramental of the Church and a sacred sign
- The chief act of the institutional Church with regard to the Scapular is its approval throughout the centuries including the most recent “Rite for the Blessing and Enrolment in the Scapular of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel”(24). With the spiritual meaning of the “graces attached to the Scapular” there are also “the obligations assumed through this sign of devotion to the holy Virgin”(25). “Devotion towards Our Lady cannot be limited to the occasional prayer in her honour, but must become a ‘habit’ that is a permanent way of Christian living, made up of prayer and the interior life, frequent recourse to the Sacraments and the concrete exercises of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy”(26).
- Sacramentals are described as sacred signs; they belong therefore to the world of symbol and meaning. In our contemporary society it is common to say that there is a crisis of religious symbolism; at the same time our societies can be powerfully moved by secular symbolism. National flags, for instance, speak profoundly to many people. Symbols are material things or images that point to a meaning beyond themselves. Very often their meaning or suggestiveness lies in their power to speak to us at various levels: they not only communicate some information, but they touch us at the level of feeling. In symbols we can find both growth and decay. Religious symbols can degenerate into magic, if their spiritual or theological meaning is no longer communicated; they are thereby reduced into something like a charm that might bring good luck.
- Living symbols need continual revitalisation. There would seem to be four stages in the life of a symbol. There is an engendering experience, which gives rise to the symbol. For us this involved the sense of Mary’s protection of Carmelites and the power of her intercession for our salvation. Secondly, there is a phase of dogma or reflection on the symbol. Carmel saw the Scapular largely in terms of its understanding of Mary as Patroness, the one who cared for her Brothers, who in turn served her. In this reflective period, Mary’s caring was understood to extend beyond death and to be seen especially in her solicitude for our salvation and for our speedy deliverance from Purgatory. A third stage in the life of symbols in found when contact is lost with the original experience. At this time either the symbol is ignored or is met with scepticism, whilst other people hold on blindly to the symbol in a kind of fideism, which does not attend to its origin or meaning. This last stage can be very close to magic. What is then needed at a time of scepticism or fideism is a reflective reconstruction of the symbol. This fourth stage is a task for every generation. We need to see the Scapular within the whole of Carmelite spirituality, and especially in relation to the core Marian themes.
- In particular such reflection and reconstruction of the Scapular symbol implies that we think out and make our own the fact that Mary is our Patroness, who cares for us as Mother and Sister. Our Mother nurtures the divine life within us and teaches us the way to God. Our Sister walks with us in the journey of transformation, inviting us to make ours her own response, “Oh let what you have said be done to me” (Luke 1.38). But Patronage is a two-way relationship. We receive Mary’s care; in turn we are called upon to imitate her and to honour her through fidelity to her Son.
The Habit of Mary
- The Scapular is essentially a “habit”. Those who receive it are aggregated or associated in varying degrees with Carmel that is dedicated to the service of Our Lady for the good of the whole Church(27). We can deepen our appreciation for this gift by reflecting on the meaning of garments and clothing in Scripture. We need clothing for protection against the elements (see Sir 29:21); it is a blessing from God (see Deut 10:18; Matt 6:28-30); it symbolises all God’s promises of restoration (see Bar 5:1-4). Ultimately we are to be clothed with immortality (see 2 Cor 5:3-4). But in the meantime we are to be clothed in newness (see Col 3:10); indeed we are to put on Christ (see Rom 13:14). From our Rule we should remember that we are to be clothed with the armour of God(28). This armour is almost totally defensive, the only offensive weapon being the sword of the Word of God (see Eph 6:17). The Scapular seen as garment thus recalls our baptismal clothing in Christ, our dignity as members of Mary’s Carmel and our invulnerability when we are wearing God’s armour.
- In order to appreciate the Scapular it is necessary to look back at our tradition and to look around us and consider contemporary sensibilities and cultural constituents. The garment of Mary is a rich theme in the spirituality of both the Eastern and Western Churches. The veil or mantle of Mary in the East is a sign of her protection; the habit of Mary is a sign of belonging to her in the West. Both are combined in the reflection of St Teresa Benedicta of the CrossEdith Stein. She speaks of “the holy habit of the Mother of God, the brown scapular” and says that on the 16th July “we give thanks that our dear Lady has clothed us with the ‘garment of salvation'”, a “visible sign of her motherly protection”(29). St Teresa of Jesus refers several times to “the habit of Mary”(30). She delights in telling of the entrapment of Fr Gracián by the Virgin who give him her habit(31), and she remarks, “It is her custom to favour those who want to be protected by her”(32).
- From her acute awareness that the habit of Carmel is Mary’s, St Teresa of Jesus draws out the concrete implications for the lives of its members, e.g. “All of us who wear this holy habit of Carmel are called to prayer and contemplation”(33) and humility(34). It would be easy to multiply such references to the Carmelite habit by the saints and spiritual writers of Carmel(35).
- Our tradition shows the firmest conviction that the habit and the Scapular have no salvific effect unless we see their meaning as Mary’s habit which affiliates us to the Carmelite Family, and we live according to her example. The central truths to be pondered include Mary’s protection, her intercession at the time of our death and beyond it. On our part there is need for a filial relationship, or one that expresses our being her brothers and sisters and devoted to her service for the glory of her Son. The Scapular is a sign that draws us into such relationships.
- In the modern context, Mary shows us how to listen to the Word of God in Scripture and in life itself, how to be open to God and close to the needs of our brothers and sisters in a world where poverty in its many forms takes their dignity away. Mary further shows us the woman’s path to God and stands with us as a woman who is the icon of the tenderness of God, a woman who had to face many trials in order to fulfil the vocation given to her by God(36). She remains as the sign of freedom and liberation for all who in their oppression cry to God(37). The Scapular on our part is an expression of our confidence in Mary’s care. It shows our willingness to witness to our baptismal adoption and to being her sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, as well as our desire to be clothed with her virtues, with her contemplative spirit and with her purity of heart. Thus clothed by her, we, like her, ponder the Word and show ourselves to be disciples of her Son in our dedication to the works of God’s Reign: truth and life, holiness and grace, justice, love and peace(38)
- If, in our tradition, a key meaning of the Scapular is that of being clothed by Mary in her habit, we need to ensure that enrolment is truly seen to be an investiture. Greater thought must be given to this area.
The Scapular and Entrustment
- In renewing the consecration of the world to Mary on the feast of the Annunciation 1984, Pope John Paul II used the word “entrustment”. At other times he has spoken of belonging to Mary, dedication, recommendation, serving, and placing oneself in her hands. We can see this entrustment as being set apart in Mary’s Carmel, and being called to contemplation and prayer. Though consecration or entrustment to Mary can be very helpful in presenting the Scapular, there are many other ways found throughout Carmel. Many speak of the Scapular in the context of evangelisation. The acceptance of the Scapular can be a high point in the conversion story of individuals and communities. The Scapular can also be seen in the rich context of popular piety, given approbation by Pope Paul VI in his apostolic exhortation of evangelisation, Evangelii nuntiandi(39), and recommended by the Conference of Bishops of Latin America (CELAM) at Puebla (1979)(40). Those who wear the Scapular are expressing that they are not self-sufficient, and that they need divine help, which in this case they are seeking through Mary’s intercession. Through the Scapular they reach out to her who “occupies a place in the Church, which is the highest after Christ and also closest to us”(41).
A family treasure
- From what we have seen it is clear that the scapular is one of the treasures of the Carmelite Family. When we speak of the scapular we should emphasise belonging to the great Family of Carmel. It would not be appropriate to enrol people in the Scapular without careful explanation of what they are receiving. Since the Scapular is a symbol its meaning must be carefully pointed out. In particular we should stress that the one wearing it should have a relationship with Mary in addition to expecting favour from her. If we are to be clothed in Mary’s habit, we should strive to be clothed also in her virtues. The Scapular is one of our means of directing people to Mary and thus to her Son.
- As Carmel celebrates the Scapular in this year, it is an opportunity for all of us to reflect again on this gift and on its meaning. There is a rich pluralism in Carmel, which will allow different expressions of our Marian heritage. All Carmelites have the challenge, and will assuredly have the gift of the Holy Spirit, to inculturate Carmel’s charism and heritage. We can only ask our friars and the communities of our nuns and sisters, and also the laity, to think prayerfully and creatively about the gift of the Scapular. Above all we must seek to link the Scapular to the Marian heritage we have received and to our contemplative and active service of the Church.
- May Mary, our Patroness, Mother and Sister, cover us all with the mantle of her special protection so that, clothed in her habit, we may be brought to the holy mountain, Christ our Lord in whose allegiance we live.
1. Letter of Pope John Paul II, 25th March 2001, nº 2.
2. “Mater mitis, sed viri nescia.” The hymn is known within Carmel at least from the late 14th century.
3. St Teresa of Avila chose Mary to be her mother when at the age of twelve she lost her natural mother: “When I began to understand what I had lost, I went, afflicted, before an image of Our Lady and besought her with many tears to be my mother. It seems to me that although I did this in simplicity it helped me. For I have found favour with this sovereign Virgin in everything I have asked of her, and in the end she has drawn me to herself.” (Life 1:7). Ven. Michael of St Augustine wrote: “the one who loves Mary by constant exercise acquires the habit or practice of having her as loving Mother present in mind, so that all one’s thoughts and affections terminate both in her and in God, and the person can forget neither the loving Mother nor God. (De vita mariae-formi et mariana in Maria et propter Mariam, ch. 2)
4. Derniers entretiens/Last Conversations 21.8.3
5. Letter of Pope John Paul II, 25th March 2001, nº 3
6. Rule 2.
7. Acta Apostolicae Sedis 67 (1975) 338.
8. Roman Missal, Preface for the Immaculate Conception.
9. Letter of the Prior General Pierre de Millau to King Edward I of England in A. Staring, ed., Medieval Carmelite Heritage (Rome: Carmelite Institute, 1989) 47 with 45. This volume is infra MCH.
10.London 1281AOC 15(1950) 203-245; Bordeaux 129118 1953 123-185; Barcelona 1324, MHC 20-112.
11. Antiquum ordinis carmelitarum ordinale, saec. XIII. Ed. Patrick de St JosephÉtudes carmélitaines (1912-1913) and Ordinale de l’Ordre de N.-D du Mont Carmel par Sibert de Beka. Ed B. Zimmerman (Paris 1910)
12. There were also several early prayers frequently used in our communities, especially in our liturgy, which appeal to Mary’s intercession and help for salvation: Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. (See 1294 Constitutions, rubrica 40); Grant to your servants we beseech thee O Lord, unfailing health of mind and body, and through the intercession of the glorious and blessed ever Virgin Mary may we be saved from present sorrow and enjoy future joy. (See the 1281 Constitutions); The prayer Protege, with its allusion to patronage, soon replaced it: Protect, O Lord, your servants with the support of peace, and they being confident of the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary, secure them from all enemies.
13. See Patrick of St Joseph, Antiquum ordinis carmelitarum ordinale saec. XIII (Tamines: Ducolot-Roulin, 1912) = Études carmélitaines (1912-1913), rubrica 13; 1324 Constitutions rubrica 3/6; Ordinaire de l’Ordre de Notre-Dame du Mont Carmel par Sibert de Beka, edited B. Zimmerman (Paris: Picard, 1910) 5.
14.De patronatu # 1533.
15. See Paul VI, Exhortation, Marialis cultus n. 37.
16. MCH 193-199.
17. “In regard to that life we may distinguish two aims, the one of which we may attain to, with the help of God’s grace, by our own efforts and by virtuous living. This is to offer God a heart holy and pure from all actual stain of sin. This we achieve when we become perfect and hidden in Cherith (see 1 Kgs 17:2-4) that is in charity… The other aim of this life is something that can be bestowed upon us only by God’s bounty: namely to taste in our hearts and experience in our minds, not only after death but even during this mortal life, something of the power of the divine presence, and the bliss of heavenly glory”. Institutio primorum monachorum 1:2. English text in B. Edwards, trans. and ed., The Institute of the First Monks (privately published by Carmelite Friars, Boars Hill, Oxford, 1969) 3-4.
18. “Such was the prayer and work of Our Lady, the most glorious Virgin. Raised from the beginning to this high state, she never had the form of any creature impressed in her soul, nor was she moved by any, for she was always moved by the Holy Spirit”. (St John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel 3:2:10). One of the most eloquent in celebration of the purity of Virgin is St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, as for instance her development of Mary as the Temple of Jesus: its pavement was her humility, its walls the cardinal virtues shining out in her: “Then it seemed to me that the platform of this temple was her elevated mind and her illuminated intellect, I mean of the Virgin Mary. There was also an altar; and this I understood, was the will of that Virgin. And the cloth of the same altar was her most pure virginity. And the ciborium, where Jesus is, was the heart of the Virgin. And before the said altar I saw seven lighted lamps, which I understood were the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, all of which were in her perfectly. And on the said altar there were twelve most beautiful candlesticks, which I understood were the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit that were in this Virgin”. Quaranta Giorni 14.
19. See Bl. Titus Brandsma, Lecture to the Marian Congress of Tangerloo, August 1936: Carmelite Mysticism, Historical Sketches, Chicago, 1936, Lecture IV: 52-53. “We ought not to think of imitation without thinking of union, nor of union without the thought of imitation. Each flows into the other, though one or other may be more emphasised at a particular time. We need to keep the two fused in a harmonious unity. If we wish to conform ourselves to Mary in order to enjoy fully a relationship with God according to her example, we must become other Marys. We must allow Mary to live in us. Mary must not be outside the Carmelite, who should live a life like that of Mary, living with, in, through and for Mary.” Here, Bl. Titus is alluding to the Marian and Mariform life taught particularly by the Low Countries mystics, the Venerable Michael of St Augustine (d. 1684) and the Venerable Mary of St Teresa Petijt/Petyt (d. 1677).
20. See Paul VI, Exhortation Marialis cultus (1974) # 30.
21. Derniers entretiens (Last Conversations) 21.8.3.
22. PN 54; “Pourquoi je t’aime, ô Marie”.
23. See Letter Pope John Paul II, 25th March 2001, n.1.
24. Congregation for Divine Worhip and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 5 January 1996.
25. Rite n.5.
26. Letter of Pope John Paul II, 25th March 2001, n.5.
27. See Ibid n.5.
28. Rule 18 and 19.
29. “On the History and Spirit of Carmel” in Collected Works (Washington: ICS, 1992) vol. 4, pp. 1 and 3.
30. E.g. Foundations 28:30 and 38; Life 36:6 and 28. See also St Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul, Ms A 30v “the habit of the Virgin”.
31. Foundations 23:1-8.
32. Foundations 23:4. In other places she takes up the same theme, that our lives must correspond to our habit: I have no other remedy than to approach His mercy and to trust in the merits of His Son and of the Virgin, his Mother, whose habit I wear so unworthily, and you wear … Imitate her and reflect that the grandeur of our Lady and the good of having her for your patroness must be indeed great …(Mansions 3:1,4 in Collected Works trans. K. Kavanaugh and O. Rodriguez, 2:305-306). See Foundations 29:31 “… an endeavour so important for the honour and glory of His glorious Mother since it concerned her Order. She is our Lady and our Patroness. (Collected Words, 3:279).
33. Mansions 5:1,2 in 3:335.
34. “Let us, my daughters, imitate in some way the great humility of the Blessed Virgin, whose habit we wear”. Way of Perfection 13:3. Collected Works 2:86.
35. Thus Bl. Titus Brandsma, who like most Carmelites before him was unaware of historical problems associated with the vision, spoke of the habit as a “token of devotion to Mary”, becoming “a pledge of her special protection” so that “people vied with each other to beg the Order’s habit, either to live or to die in it. In receiving the habit of the Order they secured Our Lady’s motherly help”, He too echoes the theme of St Teresa of Jesus that we should imitate Mary; indeed she should live through us, so that the Carmelite becomes another Mary: “God should be conceived in us also, and brought forth by us”. Carmelite Mysticism: Historical Sketches. 50th Anniversary edition (Darien: Carmelite Press, 1986), lecture 4, “The Brothers of Our Lady”, pp. 32 and 34.
36. See Paul VI, Exhortation, Marialis cultus n.37.
37. See John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater, n.37.
38. See Roman Missal, Preface of the Feast of Christ the King, and Vatican II Constitution on the Church, LG 36.
39. N. 48 – AAS 68 (1976) 37-38.
40. Puebla. Evangelization at Present and in the Future of Latin America. Conclusions. (Washing DC: Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1979 – Slough UK: St Paul 1980) nn. 444-469, 910-915, 959-963.
41. Vatican II, Constitution on the Church, LG 54.