Carmelite Habit–The Mantle

The mantle is the white cloak worn above the habit, and it represents purity of mind and heart. Carmelites should excel in the evangelical counsel of chastity.

“He gripped his own garment, tore it into two pieces, and picked up the mantle which had fallen from Elijah. Then he went back and stood at the bank of the Jordan.” Kgs 2:13

When Elisha became his disciple, Elijah threw his cloak over him. Before Elijah was taken up into heaven, Elisha asked to receive a double portion of his spirit. Elijah let fall his mantle from the fiery chariot, and Elisha took it up. The mantle represents our being spiritual descendants from the school of the prophets Elijah and Elisha.

The white color of the mantle represents purity of heart and mind, holiness and chastity. The Book of the First Monks says that Elijah was the first prophet to profess chastity. Carmelites should exercise the virtues, assisted by divine grace, so to offer God a pure and holy heart, free from all stain of sin.

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