Dr. John Vazhakoottathil OCD July 14th, 2018

Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the icon of the culture of contemplation in the Catholic Church. The prophet Elijah is the founder of the contemplative culture on Mount Carmel. Elijah appears in a human situation where the springs of love were dried up due to the hardheartedness of the people who chose a worldly God for material gains abandoning the true God of heaven and earth. The consequence of pride and selfishness hovered the earth and it became dry and hard due to which life on the earth became almost impossible. (1Kings 17, 1)

It is to save humanity from this disastrous human situation that the Spirit of God revealed through the prophet Elijah a new way of life on Mount Carmel. As a result of the new culture that he initiated on the Mount Carmel, there was a shower of grace from the heavens and the dry and hard earth became watery and soft, it was transformed from a land of death to a land of life. (1Kings 18, 45) This culture of contemplation that Elijah initiated on Mount Carmel is the basic Charisma of all the religious congregations that bear the name Mount Carmel.

When we experience our life as very dry and hard, the Charisma of Mount Carmel gives us a remedy. The bodily posture of prophet Elijah in prayer reveals the mental attitude that we should have when we begin our efforts to convert our family into a joyful living together. Elijah turned his eyes and ears from the dry and hard surroundings and made an inward journey into himself, lifting up his soul unto heaven, in hope. (1Kings 18, 42) Thus, he was not lost into the dry and hard surroundings but he contemplated the shower of grace that eternally hovers human souls.

The attitude of contemplation in faith, hope and love helped Mary of Nazareth to become a woman full of grace and from her we received the fullness of the shower of divine grace on humanity, Jesus Christ. This is the reason why we compare the little cloud that Elijah saw, that produced a plentiful rain, (1Kings 18, 44) with Mary, who gave birth to Jesus Christ. Her attitude of contemplation permitted her to sing a song of divine praise throughout her life, in spite of the brutality of envy and greed that she had to undergo along with her son.

The culture of contemplation that originated on Mount Carmel promises a prosperity in all the aspects of our life. However, it asks for a restructuring of our life. We are asked to take away our eyes and ears from the evil of the world. We are asked to stop speaking about the negatives of others. We are asked to maintain a healthy mental attitude by the constant contemplation of the omnipotence and the provident protection of God. We are asked to discover and concentrate on the positive possibilities of our personal life. ‘How can I be a positive contribution to my family and human community like a father, a mother, a husband, a wife, a brother, a sister, and a friend?’, should be our only preoccupation of life, leaving the rest to God and others. We are asked to fix our eyes in heaven for the reward. When we persevere in the attitude of contemplation like Elijah and Mary, we will bring into our family and the human society around us a shower of divine grace.