July 16, 2021: OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL
July 16, 2021: THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY OF MOUNT CARMEL
Rank: Greater Double.
“The Blessed Virgin appeared to me with a large suite; she held the habit in her hand and said, ‘This shall be thy privilege
and that of all Carmelites. Those who die, with sorrow for their sins and in the true faith, and clad in this habit, shall not suffer eternal fire.’”
(Words of the Blessed Virgin to St. Simon Stock, as informed by Simon to his companion, Swanington)
O God, who hast honoured the order of the Carmelites with a singular title of thy most blessed Virgin-Mother: mercifully grant that we, who solemnize this her commemoration, by the assistance of her prayers may come to eternal happiness. Who liveth and reigneth, world without end. Amen.
“Receive, my beloved son, this Habit; whosoever dies clothed in this shall not suffer eternal fire!”
(Our Lady to St. Simon Stock)
of St. Simon Stock
300 days’ Indulgence each time for Scapular Confraternity members.
Flower of Carmel,
Splendour of heaven,
None equals thee!
O Mother benign,
Who no man didst know,
On all Carmel’s children
Thy favours bestow,
Star of the sea!
Learn about the requirements and rewards of persevering in the Scapular Devotion by reading: "Brown Scapular Instructions" (The Scapular Devotion) Imprimatur, January, 20th, 1945: www.todayscatholicworld.com/brown-scapular-instructions-indulgence.pdf
The Brown Scapular and the Message of Fatima.
Fr. Howard Rafferty, O.Carm., on August 15, 1950 to Sr. Lucy: “Do you mean to say that the wearing of the Brown Scapular is not just something Our Lady would like us to do, but that it is essential to the Message (of Fatima)?”
Sister Lucy answered:
“Exactly! One could not follow the Message of Fatima unless he fulfilled the five conditions, one of which is the wearing of the Brown Scapular all the time — day and night.”
The History of Mount Carmel, since the Old Testament, and Our Lady gives the Brown Scapular.
Towering over the waves on the shore of the Holy Land, Mount Carmel, together with the short range of the same name, forms a connecting link to two other chains, abounding with glorious memories, namely: the mountains of Galilee on the north, and those of Judea on the south.
“In the day of my love, I brought thee out of Egypt into the land of Carmel,” (Prophecy of Jeremias, ii. 7) said the Lord to the daughter of Sion, taking the name of Carmel to represent all the blessings of the Promised Land; and when the crimes of the chosen people were about to bring Judaea to ruin, the prophet cried out: “I looked, and behold Carmel was a wilderness: and all its cities were destroyed at the presence of the Lord, and at the presence of the wrath of his indignation.” (Prophecy of Jeremias, iv. 28) But from the midst of the Gentile world a new Sion arose, more loved than the first; eight centuries beforehand Isaias recognised her by the glory of Libanus, and the beauty of Carmel and Saron which were given her. In the sacred Canticle, also, the attendants of the Bride sing to the Spouse concerning his well-beloved, that her head is like Carmel, and her hair like the precious threads of royal purple carefully woven and dyed. (Cant, vii. 5)
There was, in fact, around Cape Carmel an abundant fishery of the little shell-fish which furnished the regal colour. Not far from there, smoothing away the slopes of the noble mountain, flowed the torrent of Cison, that dragged the carcasses (Judges, v. 21) of the Chanaanites, when Deborah won her famous victory. Here lies the plain where the Madianites were overthrown, and Sisara felt the power of her that was called the Mother in Israel. (Judges, v. 7) Here Gedeon, too, marched against Madian in the name of the Woman terrible as an army set in array, (Cant, vi. 3, 9) whose sign he had received in the dew-covered fleece. Indeed, this glorious plain of Esdrelon, which stretches away from the foot of Carmel, seems to be surrounded with prophetic indications of her who was destined from the beginning to crush the serpent's head: not far from Esdrelon, a few defiles lead to Bethulia, the city of Judith, type of Mary, who was the true joy of Israel and the honour of her people; (Judith, xv. 10) while nestling among the northern hills lies Nazareth, the white city, the flower of Galilee.
When Eternal Wisdom was playing in the world, forming the hills and establishing the mountains, she destined Carmel to be the special inheritance of Eve's victorious Daughter. And when the last thousand years of expectation were opening, and the desire of all nations was developing into the spirit of prophecy, the father of prophets ascended the privileged mount, thence to scan the horizon. The triumphs of David and the glories of Solomon were at an end; the sceptre of Juda, broken by the schism of the ten tribes, threatened to fall from his hand; the worship of Baal prevailed in Israel. A long-continued drought, figure of the aridity of men's souls, had parched up every spring, and men and beasts were dying beside the empty cisterns, when Elias the Thesbite gathered the people, representing the whole human race, on Mount Carmel, and slew the lying prophets of Baal. Then, as the Scripture relates, prostrating with his face to the earth, he said to his servant: Go up, look towards the sea. And he went up, and looked and said: There is nothing. And again he said to him: Return seven times. And at the seventh time: Behold, a little cloud arose out of the sea like a man's foot. (III Kings, xviii.)
Blessed cloud! unlike the bitter waves from which it sprang, it was all sweetness. Docile to the least breath of heaven, it rose light and humble, above the immense heavy ocean; and, screening the sun, it tempered the heat that was scorching the earth, and restored to the stricken world life and grace and fruitfulness. The promised Messias, the Son of Man, set his impress upon it, showing to the wicked serpent the form of the heel that was to crush him. The prophet, personifying the human race, felt his youth renewed; and while the welcome rain was already refreshing the valleys, he ran before the chariot of the king of Israel. Thus did he traverse the great plain of Esdrelon, even to the mysteriously named town of Jezrahel, where, according to Osee, the children of Juda and Israel were again to have but one head, in the great day of Jezrahel (i.e., of the seed of God), when the Lord would seal his eternal nuptials with a new people. (Osee, i. 11, and ii. 14-24) Later on, from Sunam, near Jezrahel, the mother, whose son was dead, crossed the same plain of Esdrelon, in the opposite direction, and ascended Mount Carmel, to obtain from Eliseus the resurrection of her child, who was a type of us all. (IV Kings, iv. 8-37) Elias had already departed in the chariot of fire, to await the end of the world, when he is to give testimony, together with Henoch, to the son of her that was signified by the cloud; (Apoc, xi. 3, 7) and the disciple, clothed with the mantle and the spirit of his father, had taken possession, in the name of the sons of the prophets, of the august mountain honoured by the manifestation of the Queen of prophets. Henceforward Carmel was sacred in the eyes of all who looked beyond this world. Gentiles as well as Jews, philosophers and princes, came here on pilgrimage to adore the true God; while the chosen souls of the Church of the expectation, many of whom were already wandering in deserts and in mountains, (Heb, xi. 38) loved to take up their abode in its thousand grottoes; for the ancient traditions seemed to linger more lovingly in its silent forests, and the perfume of its flowers foretokened the Virgin Mother. The cultus of the Queen of heaven was already established; and to the family of her devout clients, the ascetics of Carmel, might be applied the words spoken later by God to the pious descendants of Rechab: There shall not be wanting a man of this race, standing before me for ever. (Jeremias, xxxv. 19)
At length figures gave place to the reality: the heavens dropped down their dew, and the Just One came forth from the cloud. When his work was done and he returned to his Father, leaving his blessed Mother in the world, and sending his Holy Spirit to the Church, not the least triumph of that Spirit of love was the making known of Mary to the new-born Christians of Pentecost. “What a happiness,” we then remarked, “for those neophytes who were privileged above the rest in being brought to the Queen of heaven, the Virgin-Mother of him who was the hope of Israel! They saw this second Eve, they conversed with her, they felt for her that filial affection wherewith she inspired all the disciples of Jesus…” The promise is fulfilled to-day. In the lessons of the feast the Church tells us how the disciples of Elias and Eliseus became Christians at the first preaching of the Apostles, and being permitted to hear the sweet words of the Blessed Virgin and enjoy an unspeakable intimacy with her, they felt their veneration for her immensely increased. Returning to the loved mountain, where their less fortunate fathers had lived but in hope, they built, on the very spot where Elias had seen the little cloud rise up out of the sea, an oratory to the purest of virgins; hence they obtained the name of Brothers of Blessed Mary of Mount Carmel. (Lessons of 2nd Nocturn)
In the twelfth century, in consequence of the establishment of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, many pilgrims from Europe came to swell the ranks of the solitaries on the holy mountain; it therefore became expedient to give to their hitherto eremitical life a form more in accordance with the habits of western nations. The legate Aimeric Malafaida, patriarch of Antioch, gathered them into a community under the authority of St. Berthold, who was thus the first to receive the title of Prior General. At the commencement of the next century, Blessed Albert, patriarch of Jerusalem and also Apostolic legate, completed the work of Aimeric by giving a fixed Rule to the Order, which was now, through the influence of princes and knights returned from the Holy Land, beginning to spread into Cyprus, Sicily, and the countries beyond the sea. Soon indeed, the Christians of the East, being abandoned by God to the just punishment of their sins, the vindictiveness of the conquering Saracens reached such a height in this age of trial for Palestine, that a full assembly held on Mount Carmel under Alanus the Breton, resolved upon a complete migration, leaving only a few friars eager for martyrdom to guard the cradle of the Order. The very year in which this took place (1245), Simon Stock was elected General in the first Chapter of the West held at Aylesford in England.
Simon owed his election to the successful struggle he had maintained for the recognition of the Order, which certain prelates, alleging the recent decrees of the Council of Lateran, rejected as newly introduced into Europe. Our Lady had then taken the cause of the Friars into her own hands, and had obtained from Honorius III the decree of confirmation, which originated to-day's feast. This was neither the first nor the last favour bestowed by the sweet Virgin upon the family that had lived so long under the shadow, as it were, of her mysterious cloud, and shrouded like her in humility, with no other bond, no other pretension than the imitation of her hidden works and the contemplation of her glory. She herself had wished them to go forth from the midst of a faithless people; just as, before the close of that same thirteenth century, she would command her angels to carry into a Catholic land her blessed house of Nazareth. Whether or not the men of those days, or the short-sighted historians of our own time, ever thought of it: the one translation called for the other, just as each completes and explains the other, and each was to be, for our own Europe, the signal for wonderful favours from heaven.
In the night between the 15th and 16th of July, of the year 1251, the gracious Queen of Carmel confirmed to her sons by a mysterious sign the right of citizenship she had obtained for them in their newly adopted countries: as mistress and mother of the entire Religions state she conferred upon them with her queenly hands, the scapular, hitherto the distinctive garb of the greatest and most ancient religious family of the West. On giving St. Simon Stock this badge, ennobled by contact with her sacred fingers, the Mother of God said to him:
“Whosoever shall die in this habit, shall not suffer eternal flames.”
But not against hell fire alone was the all-powerful intercession of the Blessed Mother to be felt by those who should wear her scapular. In 1316, when every holy soul was imploring heaven to put a period to that long and disastrous widowhood of the Church, which followed on the death of Clement V, the Queen of Saints appeared to James d'Euse, whom the world was soon to hail as John XXII; she foretold to him his approaching elevation to the Sovereign Pontificate, and at the same time recommended him to publish the privilege she had obtained from her Divine Son for her children of Carmel, viz., a speedy deliverance from Purgatory.
“I, their Mother, will graciously go down to them on the Saturday after their death, and all whom I find in Purgatory I will deliver and will bring to the mountain of life eternal.”
These are the words of our Lady herself, quoted by John XXII in the Bull which he published for the purpose of making known the privilege, and which was called the Sabbatine Bull on account of the day chosen by the glorious benefactress for the exercise of her mercy.
We are aware of the attempts made to nullify the authenticity of these heavenly concessions; but our extremely limited time will not allow us to follow up these worthless struggles in all their endless details. The attack of the chief assailant, the too famous Launoy, was condemned by the Apostolic See; and after, as well as before, these contradictions, the Roman Pontiffs confirmed, as much as need be, by their supreme authority, the substance and even the letter of the precious promises. The reader may find in special works the enumeration of the many indulgences with which the Popes have, time after time, enriched the Carmelite family, as if earth would vie with heaven in favouring it. The munificence of Mary, the pious gratitude of her sons for the hospitality given them by the West, and lastly, the authority of St. Peter's successors, soon made these spiritual riches accessible to all Christians, by the institution of the Confraternity of the holy Scapular, the members whereof participate in the merits and privileges of the whole Carmelite Order. Who shall tell the graces, often miraculous, obtained through this humble garb? Who could count the faithful now enrolled in the holy militia? When Benedict XIII, in the eighteenth century, extended the feast of the 16th July to the whole Church, he did but give an official sanction to the universality already gained by the cultus of the Queen of Carmel.
The holy Liturgy gives the following account of the history and object of the feast:
When on the holy day of Pentecost the Apostles, through heavenly inspiration, spoke divers tongues and worked many miracles by the invocation of the most holy name of Jesus, it is said that many men who were walking in the footsteps of the holy prophets Elias and Eliseus, and had been prepared for the coming of Christ by the preaching of John the Baptist, saw and acknowledged the truth, and at once embraced the faith of the Gospel. These new Christians were so happy as to be able to enjoy familiar intercourse with the Blessed Virgin, and venerated her with so special an affection, that they, before all others, built a chapel to the purest of Virgins on that very spot of Mount Carmel where Elias of old had seen the cloud, a remarkable type of the Virgin ascending.
Many times each day they came together to the new oratory, and with pious ceremonies, prayers, and praises honoured the most Blessed Virgin as the special protectress of their Order. For this reason, people from all parts began to call them the Brethren of the Blessed Mary of Mount Carmel; and the Sovereign Pontiffs not only confirmed this title, but also granted special indulgences to whoever called either the whole Order or individual Brothers by that name. But the most noble Virgin not only gave them her name and protection, she also bestowed upon Blessed Simon the Englishman the holy Scapular as a token, wishing the holy Order to be distinguished by that heavenly garment and to be protected by it from the evils that were assailing it. Moreover, as formerly the Order was unknown in Europe, and on this account many were importuning Honorius III for its abolition, the loving Virgin Mary appeared by night to Honorius and clearly bade him receive both the Order and its members with kindness.
The Blessed Virgin has enriched the Order so dear to her with many privileges, not only in this world, but also in the next (for everywhere she is most powerful and merciful). For it is piously believed that those of her children, who, having been enrolled in the Confraternity of the Scapular, have fulfilled the small abstinence and said the few prayers prescribed, and have observed chastity as far as their state of life demands, will be consoled by our Lady while they are being purified in the fire of Purgatory, and will through her intercession be taken thence as soon as possible to the heavenly country. The Order, thus laden with so many graces, has ordained that this solemn commemoration of the Blessed Virgin should be yearly observed forever, to her greater glory.
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel gives the Brown Scapular to St. Simon Stock.
[Roman and Carmelite Martyrologies]
The Order of Mount Carmel commemorates this day the giving of the scapular to S. Simon Stock, fifth General of the Order. It is related that the Blessed Virgin appeared to Simon, and holding in her hand a scapular, a little woollen habit of a brown colour, to cover the shoulders, stomach, and back, informed him seriously that anyone who hereafter should receive a similar strip of woollen cloth, with a hole in the middle, from the hands of a Carmelite, and should wear it, should never burn in hell eternally.
Pope John XXII, it is pretended, was vouchsafed a vision of the Blessed Virgin on two occasions, in which she insisted on the Holy See pronouncing in favour of the scapular and its divine origin. The first of these visions took place on Aug. 7th, 1316; the second, in the following year, 1317. But the pope made no attempt to carry out what was enjoined on him, till 1320, when he was visited a third time. He then promulgated his famous bull, “Sabbathine” so called, because it proclaimed that all who wore the scapular in life would be delivered from the flames of purgatory on the ensuing Saturday; and which, therefore, made it a matter of the greatest advantage for a member of the Congregation of the Scapular to die as late as possible on a Friday. Pope Clement VII confirmed this decision by a brief in the year 1528.
The conditions attached to this great privilege by the bull of Pope John XXII are—1st. That the piece of flannel called the scapular be worn assiduously till death. 2nd. That an unmarried person maintain continence, and a married person abstain from adultery. 3rd. That the canonical hours be recited, that is, the little office of Our Lady; or—for those who cannot read—to fast on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The observance of all these conditions, however, is not necessary to ensure escape from hell fire, except only that one enjoining the wearing of a piece of flannel.
Another account of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and an Instruction on the Brown Scapular.
Carmel is a mountain, lying between Judea and Syria, of which one part belonged to the tribe of Manasses, the other to the tribe of Aser. The prophet Elias wrought, on Mount Carmel, the great miracle which is circumstantially related in the third Book of Kings, 18th chapter, when he, to prove that the God of Israel, whom he worshipped, was the true God, called down fire from heaven to consume his sacrifice. Upon this mountain, according to the Breviary, some pious nun, who had been converted to Christianity, built a church or chapel, dedicated to the Most Pure Virgin, in which they frequently assembled for prayer; and they were called “Brothers of our Lady of Mount Carmel.” There exists, at the present day, in the Catholic Church, a celebrated religious Order, whose members take their name from this mount, and hence are called “Carmelites,” or “Brothers of our Lady of Mount Carmel.” This religious Order was spread many centuries ago, not only in the Holy Land, but also in other countries. Among other things we read that St. Louis of France, on his return from Syria, brought some of these religious with him into his kingdom, and assigned them a dwelling near Marseilles. The Holy Mother who was especially honored by these religious, imparted also especial graces to them, and protected them miraculously in the greatest need and danger. Among these graces is to be counted the following: — The holy man, Simon Stock, who had, during many years served the Lord in England, as a hermit, desired most fervently to be admitted into the Carmelite Order, when he heard that the latter were spreading all over Europe. His desire was complied with, and he endeavoured with such zeal to reach the height of perfection, that after a few years he was deemed worthy to be chosen general of the whole Order. As such, he one day poured out his whole heart, with child-like confidence, before an image of the Blessed Virgin, requesting her to bestow upon his holy Order some especial favor. The Divine Mother appeared to him, and, as it is said in the Roman Breviary, bestowed upon him the habit of the holy scapular, that his Order might be thus distinguished, from all others and protected from all evil. Swanington, the companion of the blessed man, relates that Simon informed him of the apparition in the following words: — “The Blessed Virgin appeared to me with a large suite; she held the habit in her hand and said, ‘This shall be thy privilege and that of all Carmelites. Those who die, with sorrow for their sins and in the true faith, and clad in this habit, shall not suffer eternal fire.’” Others say that the Divine Mother bestowed the scapular upon the blessed man with these words: “Take, my son, this scapular, as a sign of thy Order, an emblem of salvation. They who die in it, repenting of their sins, shall not suffer the eternal fire.” This consoling apparition and promise gave rise to the confraternity of the scapular, which is now spread over the whole of the Catholic world, with the papal approbation and the grant of many indulgences. It is a consoling belief, which rests upon the words of the Breviary, that the members of this association, who endeavor to live according to its rules, enjoy the special protection of the Blessed Virgin at the hour of death, and are speedily delivered from purgatory, and taken into their heavenly home. Pope Benedict XIV. treating of the Festivals of the Blessed Virgin, says that Paul V. had made a decree, by which he sanctioned the pious belief that the Blessed Virgin would help her clients after death, by her intercession, especially on Saturdays, as this day is consecrated to her by the Holy Church, provided they had died in the grace of God, and had endeavored to follow the rules of the association. The heretics at different periods attacked this pious belief with lies and blasphemies, and ridiculed those who wore the blessed scapular; nor have they discontinued to do this in our day. Some Catholics, though Catholics only in name, agree with them, and reject the revelation of Simon Stock, as a pious fable, or a tale without any foundation. They look upon the promise made to him as something which does not harmonize with the Catholic faith; they are not even ashamed to say that it opens a path to evil; for, if we thought that we can escape hell by wearing a scapular, nothing would be more likely than that we should plunge into all possible vices and continue in them, in the belief that we cannot go to eternal destruction, by reason of our being members of that association. To this and other such reasonings I will answer only this: As far as the comforting revelation of the blessed Simon Stock is concerned, it is, of course, not an article of faith, as those contained in Holy Writ; but it is not, therefore, only a fable or unfounded tale. It was related by trustworthy men, examined by many historians, and verified by several Popes. Those who doubt it, or denounce it as false, without sufficient cause, act unreasonably. There are thousands of facts, not contained in Holy Writ, which are incontestible on account of the testimony of trustworthy men. Among this number is the one above related. And if, notwithstanding this, a heretic thinks it a fable or an unfounded tale, let him give his reasons for rejecting it; for, a mere contradiction of a fact does not refute it. Respecting the gracious promise of the Blessed Virgin, that he who wears the habit, or blessed scapular, shall escape the fire of hell, it is beyond all doubt that we cannot understand it in such a manner that every one shall most certainly escape the fire of hell and go to heaven, simply because he wears a scapular, no matter how vicious his conduct might be. No, those who would judge in the sense of the Catholic Church, are not allowed to understand the promise in this manner. For, not to mention that, according to the teachings of the Holy Church, we cannot possess in this world, without a divine revelation, an infallible assurance of our future salvation, the Gospel of our Lord declares plainly that to escape hell and gain salvation much more is necessary than the wearing of a scapular. True faith, holy baptism, strict observance of the commandments of God and of the Church, the avoidance of sin, the practice of good works, and, finally penance when we have committed sin; these are the conditions which, according to the teachings of Christ, are necessary for our salvation, and without which all other merits, whatever they may be, are not sufficient to open for us the gates of heaven. To elucidate the case before us still more, let-us suppose that some one, either out of pious simplicity or want of instruction, carried constantly a consecrated Host with him. Now the question arises, will this person escape hell on account of it and surely gain salvation? Can he, because he carries a consecrated Host with him, not commit a mortal sin? Can he, for the same reason, not die in sin and be condemned? From the answer that must necessarily follow, we may draw the conclusion, that the words of the above promise are not to be understood as if every one who wears a scapular must surely be saved, and cannot be condemned, notwithstanding his living a bad life. Just in the same manner are some of the words of Holy Writ to be understood, for instance, where it is said that alms free men from death, that is, from eternal damnation. God, in consideration of alms, gives especial graces to man, in order that he may avoid sin, do penance, and hence not go to destruction. In the same manner, any one who, out of veneration to the Queen of Heaven, wears the scapular, and carefully observes the rules of the association, will, by her intercession, receive the grace to live piously, to escape hell, and to gain heaven. In one word, to wear the scapular, and by so doing to manifest an especial devotion to the Blessed Virgin, will assist us to gain life everlasting. But it is far from being sufficient to open heaven for us, if it is not accompanied by those means which Christ announced as necessary for the salvation of our souls. The above is surely a proof that devotion to the scapular in no way leads to a wicked life, as the heretics pretend. No Catholic has ever thought of teaching that we gain heaven by merely wearing the scapular; while it is quite certain that the doctrines of heresy lead straightway to sin and vice. For, if any man believes, according to the teachings of the heretics, that faith alone saves, that he is sure of salvation and cannot lose it, if he only believes; or that no transgression of the Commandments can harm him, if he only accepts with a believing mind the grace of Christ, as the catechism of Calvinists teaches; what can follow but that he should plunge into sin and vice, partly because, according to his ideas, he cannot be condemned, partly on account of his wrong opinion, that faith alone saves. The Catholic Church is far from such doctrines. She does not teach that the wearing of a scapular, or any similar observance, is sufficient for our salvation, but that the wearing of a scapular, if it is done piously, assists us to gain salvation, as God, in consequence of it, will bestow upon us many graces through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, which otherwise He might not grant. The Evil One, who knows the great benefits which result from all pious associations, and especially from the veneration of the Mother of our Lord, incites the heretics to reject or to blaspheme them. He also incites Catholics to place more faith in them than they ought to do, and to pay more attention to what is merely an aid than to what is really necessary. Thus it happens that many think it a greater sin to eat meat on Wednesday, which is forbidden by the rules of the association of the scapular, than to eat meat on the days of abstinence commanded by the Church. A true Catholic ought first to obey the commandment of God, or of the Church, and do all that is absolutely necessary to gain salvation, and after this, what is useful and beneficial. That which aids him to gain salvation he should not neglect, but at the same time he should be careful not to think that he will gain heaven if he omits that which is most needful. Let this suffice for your instruction, and to refute the wicked and the ignorant.
In conclusion, as far as the use of the scapular is concerned, it would be very wrong for a Catholic to despise it. He should, on the contrary, learn to esteem it highly. We find, in many books, instances of miracles which have been wrought on those who have worn it piously. They have been miraculously protected in dangers by fire and water; in battle it has been a shield which averted the strokes of the enemy; in sickness, a life-giving remedy. And who can count the number of hardened sinners, for whom the Divine Mother has obtained grace to do penance, and thus to escape hell, in consideration of the devotion which they manifested to her by wearing the scapular? Hence, whether you are numbered among the sinners or the righteous, let the beneficial use of the scapular be recommended to you. Evince, by wearing it, your devotion towards her who faithfully aids her children in life and in death.
A prayer to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
Queen of Carmel, hear the voice of the Church as she sings to thee on this day. When the world was languishing in ceaseless expectation, thou wert already its hope. Unable as yet to understand thy greatness, it nevertheless, during the reign of types, loved to clothe thee with the noblest symbols. In admiration, and in gratitude for benefits foreseen, it surrounded thee with all the notions of beauty, strength, and grace suggested by the loveliest landscapes, the flowery plains, the wooded heights, the fertile valleys, especially of Carmel, whose very name signifies “the plantation of the Lord.” On its summit our fathers, knowing that Wisdom had set her throne in the cloud, hastened by their burning desires the coming of the saving sign: there at length was given to their prayers, what the Scripture calls perfect knowledge, and the knowledge of the great paths of the clouds. (Job, xxxvii. 16) And when he who maketh his chariot and his dwelling in the obscurity of a cloud had therein shown himself, in a nearer approach, to the practised eye of the father of prophets, then did a chosen band of holy persons gather in the solitudes of the blessed mountain, as heretofore Israel in the desert, to watch the least movements of the mysterious cloud, to receive from it their guidance in the paths of life, and their light in the long night of expectation.
O Mary, who from that hour didst preside over the watches of God's army, without ever failing for a single day: now that the Lord has truly come down through thee, it is no longer the land of Judæa alone, but the whole earth that thou coverest as a cloud, shedding down blessings and abundance. Thine ancient clients, the sons of the prophets, experienced this truth when, the land of promise becoming unfaithful, they were forced to transplant into other climes their customs and traditions; they found that even into our far West, the cloud of Carmel had poured its fertilizing dew, and that nowhere would its protection be wanting to them. This feast, O Mother of our God, is the authentic attestation of their gratitude, increased by the fresh benefits wherewith thy bounty accompanied the new exodus of the remnant of Israel. And we, the sons of ancient Europe, we too have a right to echo the expression of their loving joy; for since their tents have been pitched around the hills where the new Sion is built upon Peter, the cloud has shed all around showers of blessing more precious than ever, driving back into the abyss the flames of hell, and extinguishing the fire of purgatory.
Whilst, then, we join with them in thanksgiving to thee, deign thyself, O Mother of divine grace, to pay our debt of gratitude to them. Protect them ever. Guard them in these unhappy times, when the hypocrisy of modern persecutors has more fatal results than the rage of the Saracens. Preserve the life in the deep roots of the old stock, and rejoice it by the accession of new branches, bearing, like the old ones, flowers and fruits that shall be pleasing to thee, O Mary. Keep up in the hearts of the sons, that spirit of retirement and contemplation which animated their fathers under the shadow of the cloud; may their sisters too, wheresoever the Holy Spirit has established them, be ever faithful to the traditions of the glorious past; so that their holy lives may avert the tempest and draw down blessings from the mysterious cloud. May the perfume of penance that breathes from the holy mountain purify the now corrupted atmosphere around; and may Carmel ever present to the Spouse the type of the beauties he loves to behold in his Bride!
Taken from: The Liturgical Year - Time after Pentecost, Vol. IV, Dublin, Edition 1901;
The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints, Vol. VIII;
The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints, Vol. II; and
The Divine Office for the use of the Laity, Volume II, 1806.
“One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, I will save the world.”
(The Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Dominic)