Happy Palm Sunday… from the Carmel

Our meeting of this morning, in the garden of God (the Carmel/Kerem-El), walking together with the Lord: Discalced Carmelite friars, Discalced Carmelite nuns and laymen consecrated in the Secular Carmel, who today, in the liturgical memory of Palm Sunday, triumphantly enters Jerusalem to consummate his Easter.

Encountering and creative hope, in which our mother Theresa of Jesus initiates us, through prayer and the encounter with the Jesus of the gospels.

Theresa is a witness from her experience (V 18,8; 23,3; C prol 3), she encourages us to experience: “never having experienced anything of the kind herself could not speak about them with certainty” (6M 9,4). With pen in hand, she dialogues with her readers, convinced that many of her teachings will not be understood by the reader except from their own experience, since “it is very important not only to believe, but to try to understand it through experience” (C 28,1).

Hence her interest not only in explaining and making known, but above all in entertaining and provoking empathy: she does not write to inform but to provoke an experience. Creative hope that becomes a saving experience in the hands of Jesus, the liberating and purifying architect of our humanity.

With this procession of Palm Sunday in this beautiful garden on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land we prepare to contemplate the world from the crucified and risen Christ present and active in history, and to carry out the purpose of the Lenten journey…

Each one must carry out their own “transformation” to reach Easter, or full participation in the Master’s mission:

everyone has to go its own way,

we have to climb the mountain,

we have to change our life plan,

and put on our white garments…

Theresa reminds us, in her Relation 26, that Palm Sunday when she experienced firsthand the mystical marriage when she received holy communion from Saint John of the Cross:

«On Palm Sunday, at Communion, I was in a deep trance – so much so, that I was not able even to swallow the Host ; and, still having It in my mouth, when I had come a little to myself, I verily believed that my mouth was all filled with Blood ; and my face and my whole body seemed to be covered with It, as if our Lord had been shedding It at that moment. I thought It was warm, and the sweetness I then felt was exceedingly great; and our Lord said to me: “Daughter, My will is that My Blood should profit thee; and be not thou afraid that My compassion will fail thee. I shed It in much suffering, and, as thou seest, thou have the fruition of It in great joy. I reward thee well for the pleasure thou gavest Me today.”

Previous to this, I had been, I believe, for three days in that great pain, which I feel sometimes more than at others, because I am away from God; and during those days it had been very great, and seemingly more than I could bear. Being thus exceedingly wearied by it, I saw it was late to take my collation, nor could I do so — for if I do not take it a little earlier, it occasions great weakness because of my sickness ; and then, doing violence to myself, I took up some bread to prepare for collation, and on the instant Christ appeared, and seemed to be breaking the bread and putting it into my mouth. He said to me: “Eat, my daughter, and bear it as well as thou canst. I condole with thee in thy suffering; but it is good for thee now.” My pain was gone, and I was comforted; for He seemed to be really with me then, and the whole of the next day; and with this my de¬ sires were then satisfied. The word “condole” made me strong; for now I do not think I am suffering at all».

 (Saint Theresa, Relation 26)

 Theresa of Jesus, today, at KEREM-El, reminds us and helps us to enter into the spiritual meaning of Easter Day: the Resurrection of Jesus, the rebirth of life and the promise of eternal life.

Happy journey in the Passion of the Lord, and better entry into the joys of Easter!

Pietro Braccu, ocds

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