With the loyal you show yourself loyal;
with the blameless you show yourself blameless;
with the pure you show yourself pure;
and with the crooked you show yourself perverse.
For you deliver a humble people,
but the haughty eyes you bring down.
It is you who light my lamp;
the Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.
Mary’s Motherhood of God
In his Explanation of The Living Flame of Love, St. John of the Cross draws the Holy Mother of God as clearly as possible into the circle of his metaphor clarifying the mystical life [Cf. The Living Flame of Love, st. 3, nos. 12-15].
Speaking of the shining of the Lamps of God in us and our intake of the divine Light, which means as much as participating in God’s characteristics and works, he says that this bears still another name, i.e. “to overshadow”.
And in connection to this, he reminds (us) that also the Archangel Gabriel called the exquisite privilege of Mary to conceive God’s Son, an overshadowing of the Holy Spirit [Lk 1:35].
If one wants to understand, the Saint thus follows, what is meant by that spreading of God’s shadow or that overshadowing or that shining, for all these expressions have an equal meaning, then one should remember that every creature evokes a shadow according to its own nature and capacity.
A dark opaque object gives an obscure shadow: a bright translucent object a clear and transparent shadow.
Thus, the shadow of something dark will call forth a different darkness, darker to the extent that its cause is also darker, while the shadow of something bright will be light according to the nature of the original light.
Therefore, the shadow brought forth by the lamp of God’s beauty will be a different beauty, the shadow by the lamp of strength a different strength etc. or better said, all these shadows will be the beauty itself, the strength itself of God, but in shadow, because the soul here on earth cannot perfectly understand or take God into itself.
Over Mary, the Holy Spirit came in all his fullness, and the power of the Most High overshadowed her in the most perfect way.
O Most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help me
and show me herein that you are my Mother.
O Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power!
O help me and show me herein that you are my Mother.
Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
pray for me and obtain my requests!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands!
English translations of the writings of Saint Titus Brandsma and their source texts are owned by the Titus Brandsma Institute and the Dutch Carmelite Province. The translators vary from one source text to another. The texts are freely available for personal use. We are deeply grateful to the Titus Brandsma Institute for providing these translations. For questions or requests contact the Titus Brandsma Institute.
All scripture references are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America as accessed from the Bible Gateway website.
Don’t become discouraged and give up prayer, says St. John of the Cross. We offer varying novenas to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, as well as novenas to St. Joseph, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, and St. Edith Stein.Let us unite in prayer