I have reached this stage in Carmel because I have always felt the maternal presence of Mary. She is a true mother, friend, teacher and my concrete example in following and giving my whole self to Jesus. I would always say, my vocation in Carmel is a concrete story of Mary in my life.
Since childhood, I have witnessed how my family, especially my Father was so devoted to Our Lady of the Rosary, the patroness of our barangay. During the chapel construction, that the image of Our Lady was temporarily sheltered in our house, our home became a concrete venue of Marian presence. Because of the resemblance of the image of the Our Lady of the Rosary, our family visited every May the Our Lady of Manaoag in Pangasinan. Then the family had also grown a special devotion to Our Lady of Good Voyage in Antipolo, Rizal. Finally, the family also joined the pilgrimage in Baclaran to visit and pray to the Mother of Perpetual Help. Indeed, my first travels outside my province were these Marian pilgrimages to Manaoag, Baclaran and Antipolo. I have realized how these early childhood pilgrimages to Marian Churches and devotion to the Our Lady have helped me become closer to Jesus, Our Lord.
In my growing teenage years, I always came to visit and see the Carmelite chapel in Angeles City, a Marian pilgrim site in our province. I began to go there during my high school years, begging the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel for all my needs. I owed to her intercession the well-being of my family in times of poverty, the quality years of my father with us as he struggled terminal illness, the success of my studies, th unity and love in the family amidst all the struggles and many more favors which the Our Lady granted me. With all these blessings and intercessions, I have felt how the Our Lady has been journeying with me all through these years. In 1992 when Mt. Pinatubo erupted, the whole community was disturbed and displaced by this major calamity. I realized that all things passes away; all are fleeting. The only thing that matters and lasts is God. I started falling in love and serving his people. The examples of the Our Lady deepened my love for Jesus.
I have found myself freely, peacefully joyfully in the Order of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. The Order is truly a Marian congregation. The habit i wear bears the scapular as a sign of consecration to Our Lady. The religious name chose is linked with the name of Our Lady. Are these connections all coincidences? I think not. My being in Carmel is truly a Marian event. I ask the Grace of God to follow Jesus in the example of Mary as a faithful disciple. This following is on-going. I am always a work in progress. I believe that with the grace of God, I will also reach the summit of Mount Carmel.
By: Rev. Richard Escoto, OCD