There are certain geographical places where the veil between heaven and earth is so thin, that my spirit experiences with certainty and clarity the holy untouchable. Without words or logical explanations, the presence of God wraps around me like a warm blanket.
Mount Carmel, overlooking the Mediterranean, is such a place for me.
|Elijah's Grotto, within the Church of Stella Maris|
|statue of Elijah|
The first time I visited the Church of Stella Maris in Haifa, I felt like a character in an old Charleston Heston Bible movie. There I stood, where hermits and pilgrims have walked for over 3,000 years. There I knelt, praying at the cave where the prophet Elijah built an altar to God.
According to the Book of Kings, that altar on Mount Carmel ["Carmel" means "garden" in Hebrew] --is where Elijah challenged 450 Baal prophets to declare whose god was truly in control. Historians point out that the mountain has been a sacred, holy place for believers since at least 15th Century B.C.!
And most importantly, it is at this specific site, Elijah’s grotto, where the Carmelite Order was founded in the year 1210.
I have always felt a special, unique connection to the Carmelite saints, in a particular way with St.Therese of Lisieux, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, and of course, Edith Stein, Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. [Note: to read more about Edith Stein, I recommend this great biography! :-) ]
On this feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, may the holy saints of Carmel pray for us!
[this is a repost from July 16, 2014]