Mount Carmel for America: Carmelite Monks, Messengers of New Springtime
Bishops of the Church were chosen and the Church was continually renewed. In the West, the great Monasteries of Europe became the beating heart of the emergence of Christendom. The extraordinary intellect exhibited in the emerging theological tradition birthed in the monasteries enabled the Church to contend with daunting challenges, welcome them without fear, contend for the faith and offer the claims of Truth Incarnate.
The "father" of western monasticism Saint Benedict is a great example of the patrimony of western monasticism. He was born around the year 480 in Umbria, Italy. He is the co-patron of Europe (along with Saints Cyril and Methodius). As a young man, Benedict fled a decadent and declining Rome for further studies and deep prayer and reflection. He gave his life entirely to God as a son of the Catholic Church. He traveled to Subiaco, the cave that became his dwelling and the place where he communed deeply with God. It is now a shrine called "Sacro Speco" (The Holy Cave).
It is still a beautiful sanctuary for pilgrims. Among them was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger before he became Pope Benedict XVI. Just before his election to the Chair of Peter he visited that very place to entrust his priestly ministry to the Lord. It is NO ACCIDENT that he took the name Benedict when he said "yes" to the call to the Chair of Peter thereafter. He signaled his vision for the Re-Christianization of the West.
St. Benedict lived a life of prayer and solitude for three years and studied under a monk named Romanus. His holiness drew other men and women and soon, twelve small monasteries were founded. He later traveled to Monte Cassino, where he completed his "Rule for Monks." From those Benedictine monasteries, an entire monastic movement was birthed which led to the evangelization of Europe and the emergence of an authentically Christian culture. This led to the birth and flourishing of the academy, the arts and the emergence of what later became known as Christendom.
It is in this trajectory of God's loving plan for His Church that the Monks of "Carmel of the Immaculate heart of Mary" come to us at the beginning of the Third Christian Millennium. These are real monks and real men, passionately and courageously in love with the Lord Jesus Christ and dedicated to renewing in our day the great treasury of monasticism. As I spoke with Father Prior Daniel Mary, the bell rung in the background calling the brothers to prayer, one of the many times of prayer which animate and inspire their life. He continued speaking with me, sharing with enthusiasm the beginning of their community, obviously filled with the joy which is a gift and fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Fr. Prior Daniel Mary grew up on a ranch in Cody, Wyoming, only six miles away from the new property the monks are hoping to purchase. There they will build the "New Mount Carmel for America" on 2,500 acres. He dreamed of establishing a monastery in Wyoming as a younger man. He knew that the beauty of the land, the rugged simplicity and faith of the people, and the challenge of the times required such a place.
He was quick to tell me that, contrary to the naysayers, vocations are not a problem for these monks. They receive 200 inquiries a year. However, they know that their calling to live the radical monastic life, in fidelity to the original vision of the Carmelites, is a specific calling. The monks who are living there are happy, healthy and courageously eager to live that vision. I will be writing much more about the elements of that vision in future articles.
For many of our readers, the Monks of Mt Carmel are known for their absolutely wonderful "Mystic Monk Coffee" which is one of the ways they support their sacrificial life for the Lord. I encourage all of our readers to order it, drink it, and with every sip pray for these mighty men of God. Buy it HERE. However, there is so much more to their way of life. That is why this article is only a "teaser". I was so moved by the Monks of Mt. Carmel, I have more articles to come.
We will examine their way of life, their vision for the future, their worship and the implications of their role as a prophetic sign of God's unfolding work for the Church. Stay Tuned! Visit their virtual place of peace and worship on the world wide web. While there, read of their wonderful vocation and mission. Listen to their chant, order their coffee. Oh, and visit the "New Mount Carmel Foundation" site. Look around. Mark my words, when the history of the Third Millennium is written, this monastery will be one of many where historians recount the rebirth of Christendom.
Now, picture that absolutely beautiful monastery, built and filled with holy men chanting the Divine Office, offering the Holy sacrifice of the Mass and bringing earth to heaven and heaven to earth by their life, for the sake of the Church and the world. Then reach deep within and make it a reality by giving. These men are what my dear part Irish mother called "the real McCoy". We need them. We need to help them!
Finally, pray for Fr. Daniel Mary. You will soon be reading some of the stories this wonderful holy man shared with me because I want you to be encouraged in an age of despair. The Church of Jesus Christ is in the beginning of a New Springtime. This wonderful order of monks are seeds of a genuine renewal which has only just begun.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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