The Carmelite Order celebrates the feast of all its Saints on November 14th. This is a solemn commemoration and tribute given to the men and women who climbed the mount of Carmel to seek the face of God and allowed themselves to be transormed by the Presence they found there. There are many of these Saints, although we only hear of the famous ones- Saint John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Blessed ELizabeth of the Trinity and others. Equally great in the Order are, St. Peter Thomas, St. Andrew Corsini, St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified, St. Raphael Kalinowski, St. Teresa of St. Agustine and the martyrs of Compiegne, St. John Soreth, St. Elisha, St. Albert of Trapani, Blessed Titus Brandsma, St Margaret Redi and many more! These are huge personalities in Carmel and we treasure them, their lives and examples of true love of God.
It is amazing the differences in personalities, social and educational backgrounds of these saints. But despite the differences, they share common traits that bind them to each other and to the great Order of Carmel. They all share a deep love of the Order and the Church, love for Mary, Mother and Queen of Carmel and a deep appreciation of the centrality of the cross as an expression of love and instrument of saving souls. The Carmelite spirituality is an affective spirituality. It is a spirituality that does everything to awaken love in the soul, and a spirituality that makes love its end. St. John of the Cross is known for his "dark night" but he is called in Carmel as the mystical doctor of love. His poems are expressions of a soul enamored, of a lover seeking his beloved. St. Teresa of Avila was pierced by an angel's dart and the pain was an "effusion of love" that sealed the spiritual marriage between her and Jesus. St. Therese exclaimed "I have found my vocation. In the heart of my mother, the Church, I will be LOVE." Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity wrote to her friends wanting to know what she did in Carmel, "In Carmel, there are only two things to do, to pray and to love." This centrality of love is preeminent in the writings of our saints. Love for them is not just a word, or an effervesence of momentary emotion, but something that embraces sufferings and forgets self.
Our Saints show us the promise given to the simplehearted. They embody the beatitudes spoken by Jesus. We love them because they achieved what we long to be . Their lives show us that it is possible to experience God even on this earth, in the here and now. They make a hidden life beautiful, they prove to us that Mary is our Mother and as such she is always with us, and that Carmel is a land flowing with milk and honey.
"I have brought you to Carmel to eat of its fruits."- Prophet Jeremiah