Today, September 17, the Latin Diocese of Jerusalem celebrates the memory of its Patriarch Saint Albert (+1214). St. Albert is closely linked to the birth of the Order of Carmelites.
He writes a Rule (way of life) for the Cenobite hermits who inhabited the caves of Mount Carmel, particularly those in the Siah Valley, about 4 km south of the promontory of Mount Carmel.
We highlight two topographic places loaded with spirituality: Siah Valley and Jerusalem.
The Sian Valley is part of the collective memory of the Order along with the source of the prophet Elijah, which springs up in the western part of the valley.
Here the Order was born, here are its roots, through which life passes that guarantees its survival in the Church and in the world.
The roots have to do above all with the Bible and with the prophet Elijah, inhabitant of Mount Carmel, where he has bequeathed his spirit. The figure of Elijah is extolled by the Bible as bordering on infinity: a prophet who does not die and will reappear, making way for the arrival of the Messiah in the end times. Jesus places him next to him on the day of the Transfiguration on the holy mountain.
The prophet Elijah takes on more splendor with the appearance of the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary and Joseph. Mary, Sister, Protector, Mother, Queen and Lady of the Carmelites. Joseph, Protector and Patron of the Order.
The Carmelite Order is unique and unequaled for having been born in the land of the Bible following the spirit of the prophet Elijah. The almost endless elucidations on the charism of the Order during the last 50 long years, acquire here, in the cradle of the Order, a certain provisional nature. In the Wadi the charism of the Order is touched.
Celebrating this day the Carmelites of the Mother House, Stella Maris, the Holy Mass in the Wadi, we want to shout to the entire Order: «Come and see» the identity of the Order that the Siah Valley gives off.
The second point to highlight is Jerusalem. Saint Albert was residing in Saint John of Acre when he wrote the Rule, but his figure and his actions (the Rule included) are linked to Jerusalem, his official seat. Jerusalem extols her Patriarchate, extols our Order.
Jerusalem, a city without equal in the whole world, projects humanity and our Order towards a continuous «plus ultra». Jerusalem has nurtured the hope of the Jewish people from generation to generation and has been key to their survival.
Jerusalem has the capacity to do the same with our Order. When I participate in the procession of the Ramos ascending from Bethphage to the top of the Mount of Olives, I see the Monastery of Pater and our Carmelite sisters participating from inside their convent at the entrance of the Messiah into Jerusalem.
I imagine that day, when the entire Order, with the prophet Elijah at the head, acclaimed on the Mount of Olives the entrance of the Messiah shouting: «Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord» or we all repeat the proverbial sentence: «Next year (we’ll see) in Jerusalem».
Father Paco Negral, ocd