Since man’s life on earth is a time of trial, and all who would live devotedly in Christ must undergo persecution, and the devil your foe is on the prowl like a roaring lion looking for prey to devour, you must use every care to clothe yourselves in God’s armour so that you may be ready to withstand the enemy’s ambush.
Your loins are to be girt with chastity, your breast fortified by holy meditations, for, as Scripture has it, holy meditation will save you. Put on holiness as your breastplate, and it will enable you to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength, and your neighbour as yourself. Faith must be your shield on all occasions, and with it, you will be able to quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked one: there can be no pleasing God without faith; [and the victory lies in this — your faith]. On your head, set the helmet of salvation, and so be sure of deliverance by our only Saviour, who sets his own free from their sins. The sword of the spirit, the word of God, must abound in your mouths and hearts. Let all you do have the Lord’s word for accompaniment.
Saint Albert of Jerusalem
The Carmelite Rule
Chapters 18, 19
From Constitutions of the Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. Approved by the General Chapter celebrated in September 1995 and published by the order of the Most Reverend Father Joseph Chalmers, Prior General. Chapters have been renumbered since the Rule was published in 1995. The Chapter numbers used above are the result of a joint meeting of the General Councils of the Carmelites and the Discalced Carmelites in January 1999. Translation by Fr. Bede Edwards, originally published in The Rule of Saint Albert, ed. Hugh Clarke & Bede Edwards, Aylesford and Kensington, 1973.
Featured image: This 19th-century restoration of an ancient stained glass panel in Canterbury Cathedral shows the martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket, who was assassinated in the Cathedral on 29 December 1170. Were stories of Becket’s holiness and martyrdom known by the hermits on Mount Carmel, who were former crusader knights, nobles, and pilgrims who chose to live in the Holy Land? The Hospitallers of St. Thomas of Canterbury at Acre, where St. Albert of Jerusalem lived as the Latin Patriarch, surely would have shared with him the stories of St. Thomas Becket, their heavenly patron who was swiftly canonized 21 February 1173. We can only wonder.