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Post Novena Thoughts on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

I have just spent an hour with my best friend and spiritual mentor. It always refocuses me. Always ends up being a moment of grace. It is a good time to capture some of my thoughts on this Feast Day… our Feast Day.

The Novena hasn’t ended like I thought it would. And yet, I think it has ended the way Our Lady of Mount Carmel wanted it to end. The way Our Lord wanted it to end. Her will, after all, is the same as His.

Tonight, I am going to be part of a Rosary and Mass at the Carmelite Monastery in St. Louis. I read somewhere that their theme this year is this:

Mary desires imitation, not admiration.

So, I am doing some soul searching. Do I truly imitate her… or do I settle for admiration and call it a day?

There are enough people out there who admire the Blessed Mother. But how many people desire to imitate her rather than letting their affection for her end with admiration?

Sure, she’s a tough act to follow.

Somehow, she manages to be meek and zealous for Christ.

Somehow, she succeeds at being humble and the Queen of Heaven and Earth.

Somehow, she has discovered how to be joy-filled without being flighty or insincere or superficial.

She is merciful when most people would seek revenge.

She is peaceful when the storms rage.

She is grace-filled when the circumstances call for fear, anger, irritation, retaliation, arrogance, animosity.

She forgets our weaknesses. Remembers our strengths. And we… we remember another’s weaknesses with an iron-trap mind, but forget another’s strengths the moment we are offended.

She is faithful.

We. Are. Not.

So, the novena is over. It is her Feast Day, and what I set before her is still left undone. Waiting. Maybe even ending.

But I have to smile even now, especially now.

Because I realize more today than yesterday—

That I am called to be meek and zealous, humble and evangelistic, joy-filled, and sincere, merciful when revenge would be so much fun, at peace when the storm clouds gather, filled with grace–

Not fear.

Not anger.

She is filled with mercy–

Not irritation, retaliation, arrogance, or animosity.

I am to imitate her, not merely admire her. I do that best when I remember strengths and let go of shortcomings – in myself & others.

These are the moments when I am faithful, when I am most like Our Lady of Mount Carmel. These are the moments I imitate, when I actually begin to look like her.

And I know others who show me daily that it is possible to imitate her well! Moment by moment! My friend and spiritual mentor is one of those people. She imitates.

Nine days of prayer. They changed a lot of things. But mostly, they just changed … me.


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