The Anchoress writes about the World’s Tiniest Hair Shirt, her scapular, which after hanging for years on her bedpost, now hangs about her neck as a “discipline.” I can relate.
Wearing the cloth scapular has been an on and off battle which I believe my scapular is now winning. From the stand point of pure convenience, I argued with Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, that wearing the medal was better and would make this devotion easier for me to undertake. So I wore the medal, but the cloth scapular glared at me from between socks, peeked through the clutter in my dresser drawer, or from wherever I last left it. Mary wasn’t buying my arguments. The Anchoress is right. It is a “discipline” – before it turns to love.
I finally found one I can wear with a minimum of hassle, though each morning, I still wake up with it intertwined with the chain of my Miraculous Medal. I used to grumble. Now I just smile. I think I owe the change in my motus primo primi (firstly first movement) to the efficacy of the scapular. It wraps me in the love of Mary and weaves the movements of her heart with mine. Does that make any sense?
At Easter, we see the Resurrected Lord and are bathed in the Light of His conquering Love. The Church places Jesus before the eyes of our hearts. It is precisely because, only a few days ago, we beheld His pain and suffering, His Love unto Death, that we can grasp the triumph of His Love, this Agape.
Carmel is a reminder that Love must be lived to be authentic. Not that we can live it with perfection, though that is the Call, but that we try day by day in all humility. For me, it is always beginning anew. Repentance prepares us and faith enables us.
“We are at Carmel only for this: to love!To love, of course, requires that we give proof of our love. This love expresses itself in constant prayer. I say “constant,” because this state of prayer must be our life not for only two hours a day, but all day long. Our life must be a constant, silent prayer that rises unceasingly to God. That is what constitutes our duty in life.We must not confuse this state of prayer with religious sentimentality, or with pious feelings unrelated to authentic prayer, which can sometimes be piercingly painful. That love, which is our life’s duty, must express itself in vibrant, zealous deeds, all aspects of which compel our careful consideration.Only with deepest humility can we recognize how far we are from our goal. Only those souls who have attained a lofty level of holiness can truly acknowledge how far they still are from their total fulfillment. For example, the Cure of Ars considered himself more wretched than the notorious sinners to whom he ministered. He realized that many of these fallen souls, had they received the same graces that he had received, would perhaps surpass him in holiness. Only with humility can we recognize the torpor of our love.Prayer is our primary duty. Prayer is the reason why God has placed us on earth. We learn truly to prayer, when we are in the presence and company of Christ. Therefore, we must contemplate Christ for long periods of a time and seek him our persistently. Consider those closest to Christ. Saint John the Apostle grasped what was indispensable for a clear understanding of his master. John never tired of probing and querying Christ. We can see how John thus gained richer insights and fuller explanations, precisely because he went to the bother of approaching and asking Christ to clarify each day’s lesson. I picture John, walking close behind Christ, as he made his way about the Holy Land. Thus, John came to gain a wealth of intimate knowledge, which the other apostles did not acquire. Herein lies the explanation for the special character of the fourth Gospel. While the other apostles traveled across the then known world on their missionary journeys, John’s unique apostolate was to remain close to the Virgin Mary, whom Christ had entrusted to him. Thus were these two great souls conjoined in love and prayer”.In silent solitude, let us seek to realize that we truly can be in contact with God. It is God whom we should aim to encounter in prayer. It is God who is both the breath and the fulfillment of our life. Amen.”
God does not ask a great deal from us. A brief remembrance from time to time. A brief act of adoration occasionally to ask Him for his grace,or offer Him your sufferings. At other times to thank him for the graces He has given you and is giving you. In the midst of your work find consolation in Him as often as possible. During your meals and conversations occasionally lift up your heart to Him The least little remembrance of Him will always be most agreeable. You need not shout out. He is closer to us than we may think.
A meditation by Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (Letter 9 – page 69)