07/20/2015, 00.00
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Carmel celebrations in Baroda: following the "way of Christ" waiting for the fulfilment of Kingdom of God

by Nirmala Carvalho
This year, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel coincides with the Year of the consecrated life and the 500th anniversary of Saint Teresa of Avila. As witnesses of the Gospel and the love of Christ, priests play an increasingly necessary role in today's society. Mary is the One who offered her body and blood to the son of God.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - In a small chapel overflowing with faithful, the Carmelite monastery Prem Jyot (Light of love) in Baroda celebrated the anniversary of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on 16 July. Mgr Godfrey de Rosario, bishop of Baroda, led the Mass along with 15 concelebrants.

The religious ceremony brought to a close a novena of prayers. During the nine days, the Carmelite sisters reflected together with Fr Jimmy Dabhi, dean of the Baroda Seminary of Theology, on "Mary, Queen and Beauty of Carmel."

Mgr De Rosario noted that the celebration is especially important to the Carmelite Sisters, who see in Mary the role model of a “true Carmelite contemplative”

Below, we published the reflections of Sister Gemma’s, prioress of Baroda Monastery, which she is kindly sharing with AsiaNews readers.

This year, as we celebrate the fifth centenary of the birth of St. Teresa, is dedicated to Consecrated Life.  We Carmelites, daughters of St. Teresa are urged to pray for Bishops, priests, for theologians, all those at the vanguard of our faith 

St. Teresa’s prayer: “I was born for You, what do You want of me” O Jesus. 

In our world threatened by terrorism, greed and disrespect of human life; on an earth that is being exploited placing at risk all who inhabit it; in our society where the poor are more and more becoming invisible and ignored; and in a world where God is not our only security; this Feast Mass here with the presence in a nucleus form of every part of the Church in harmony is very relevant. 

Our call as the call of every baptized is to follow Jesus, the Anointed One, with courage and fidelity. He has made the great gift of choosing us to be His so that the joy of the nearness of a God of Compassion is proclaimed. Consecrated Life is a call to incarnate the Good News, to experience the power of the Gospel and to, like Jesus, humanize a world that is waiting, thus making, the Kingdom of God a reality. The joy of the Gospel fills the heart and lives of all those who encounter JESUS who immerses us in His own consecration. With JESUS, joy is constantly born anew.

Tin this Year of Consecrated Life, our dear Priests, the cream of the Church and more and with pride I’d love to say that “The Priest is not his own.” Those who follow the leading of God’s spirit are God’s own. You have been immersed in the consecration of JESUS. 

A priest called to mediate between God and man is not his own and therefore he needs to constantly separate himself from the spirit of the world. God makes up for every abnegation by a greater blessing. The ladder is a simple and charming picture of the Priesthood of JESUS who said of himself, “I am the Way.” 

The ladder was set upon earth, thus the link between earth and heaven was established through Christ becoming incarnate, taking human flesh and being lifted up on Calvary.

The ladder reached up to heaven symbolizing that Christ risen is at the right hand of the FATHER. You our dear Priests are the alter Christus – the effectiveness of your priesthood comes from your closeness with JESUS, the deepening of your intimacy with Him, your living in love and total dedication to His flock.  

Would I like to believe that in His Hand HE has engraved my heart not because of my worthiness but because having loved His own He loved me to the end – that His scars hold me tenderly before His ABBA as a pledge of His love for me – JESUS a Sacerdos in aeternum. Glorious will you be our beloved priests when Our ABBA will see in your hands the marks of His Passion.

A Priest is not his own – We cloistered Sisters hold you close to JESUS and confide you to MARY. No one in the world gave Him a Body and Blood but MARY. She was not a priest but could say those beautiful words: this is my Body – this is my Blood. You are for MARY Her JESUS of today – always reflecting in your life the Anointed One par excellence.

I would like to conclude by quoting our Holy Father, Pope Francis who says, “Today’s consecrated men and women need to be prophetic, capable of waking up the world, of showing they are a special breed who have something to say to the world today.” and to this I would add that this applies so much to you dear priests even when you go out preaching like St Francis using words only when necessary. So arise dear priests JESUS needs you, the world needs you today more than ever and we need you too.

Thank you for all that you do and much more thank you for all that you are. May JESUS our Divine High Priest be your reward and make each of you daily ever more a priest after His own heart!

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