Thursday, July 16, 2009

Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and a day celebrated especially by Carmelites the world over. This includes secular Carmelites like myself.

The Divine Office speaks about the feast day:

Sacred Scripture celebrated the beauty of Carmel where the prophet Elijah defended the purity of Israel's faith in the living God. In the twelfth century, hermits withdrew to that mountain and later founded the Order devoted to the contemplative life under the patronage of mary, the holy Mother of God.

According to Carmelite tradition, July 16, 1251, St. Simon Stock was given the Brown Scapular by the Blessed Virgin Mary:
Later Carmelite writers give more details of such a vision and revelation. Johannes Grossi wrote his "Viridarium" about 1430, and he relates that the Mother of God appeared to Simon Stock with the scapular of the order in her hand. This scapular she gave him with the words: "Hoc erit tibi et cunctis Carmelitis privilegium, in hoc habitu moriens salvabitur" (This shall be the privilege for you and for all the Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall be saved).
Members of the order had been praying to the Blessed Virgin amidst great trials. The Manila Bulletin Publishing Company adds this interesting note:

Pope John XXII in 1322 decreed a special indulgence for those who die wearing the brown scapular. The pontiff said that Our Lady appeared to him and asked him to specially look after the Carmelites. In addition to this, the Holy Father said, Our Lady promised that all faithful Christians who die wearing a scapular would enjoy early liberation from purgatory with her special intercession before God. The Blessed Mother herself would fetch the pious soul in purgatory the Saturday after their death in order to bring them to heaven. Marian devotees thus call this special intercession the “Sabbatine Privilege’’ (from Sabbath, meaning Saturday).

Air Maria has two key prayers, and a nice write-up.

O beautiful Flower of Carmel
Most fruitful vine,
Splendor of Heaven,
Holy and Singular,
Who brought forth
the Son of God,
still ever remaining
a pure Virgin,
Assist us in our necessities.
O Star of the Sea,
Help and protect us.
Show us that you
are our Mother. Amen.

Song of Gratitude to Our Lady of Mount Carmel

By St. Therese of Lisieux

From the first moments of my life,
You took me in your arms.
Ever since that day, dear Mother,
You’ve protected me here below.
To preserve my innocence,
You placed me in a soft nest.
You watched over my childhood
In the shade of a holy cloister.
Later, in the days of my youth,
I heard Jesus’ call!…
In your ineffable tenderness,
You showed Carmel to me.
“Come, my child, be generous,”
You sweetly said to me.
“Near me, you’ll be happy,
Come sacrifice yourself for your Savior.”
Close to you, 0 my loving Mother!
I’ve found rest for my heart.
I want nothing more on earth.
Jesus alone is all my happiness.
If sometimes I feel sadness
And fear coming to assail me,
Always supporting me in my weakness,
Mother, you deign to bless me.
Grant that I may be faithful
To my divine Spouse Jesus.
One day may his sweet voice call me
To fly away among the elect.
Then, no more exile, no more suffering.
In Heaven I’ll keep repeating
The song of my gratitude,
Lovable Queen of Carmel!

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!