A Random Image

From the earliest days of the Carmelite Order, our Lady, as the Queen of Hermits, has communicated to certain souls a particular charism and grace to live a solitary and hidden life in the austere wildernesses of Carmel. In the solitude of the wilderness, these men arise as fire, men consumed with the love of God like their Father St. Elias. These hermits live, not as men of this world, but as souls set apart to begin to taste the fruits of heaven even in this life. As the Lord's intimate friend who has been drawn into the wine cellar of his love, where he inebriates him in his charity, the life of the hermit is consumed in love for God and for the entire world. The hermit can repeat with the prophet Jeremias, “Thou hast captivated me, O Lord, and I have let myself be captivated.”

The majority of the choir monks will find their sanctification in the common way of life, since this is truly the safest path to authentic holiness. Nonetheless, since the Holy Spirit may call some of the fathers to the solitude of the wilderness, the Prior upholds the eremitical vocation as the crown jewel of the Monks of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. Even if in our own time there are few who are able to persevere continuously as hermits, the eremitical life remains revered as a unique charism within this community that has the ability to perpetuate the life of the first fathers on Mount Carmel.

The Church, in which there is a diversity of charisms, esteems the life led by these hermit-monks as a mysterious source of apostolic fecundity. Although the hermits spend their lives in hidden contemplation, we are reminded in the Catechism that these hermits “manifest to everyone the interior aspect of the mystery of the Church, that is, personal intimacy with Christ. Hidden from the eyes of men, the life of the hermit is a silent preaching of the Lord . . .” St. John of the Cross reminds us of the mystical effectiveness of the hermits when he writes, “An instant of pure love is more precious in the eyes of God . . . and more profitable to the Church, than all other good works together, though it may seem as if nothing were done.”