Flower of Carmel, Purest of Lilies

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

For the past two days we have celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel with the Discalced Carmelite Friars of the Immaculate Heart Province at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill. Yesterday during the vigil celebration, scapulars were distributed to a standing-room-only crowd in the St. Therese Chapel, and dozens of people showed their affection for Our Lady by leaving flowers near her statue while praying for her patronage.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Bestowing the Brown Scapular Upon St. Simon Stock © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

The enthusiasm of yesterday’s vigil was visibly echoed today. This morning’s Mass was concelebrated by the members of the Carmelite Community. It was a glorious Mass! Each year I look forward to hearing the Flos Carmeli chanted as the Sequence before the Gospel. This exquisite hymn was composed in the 12thcentury by St. Simon Stock, to whom Our Lady appeared on this date, presenting the Brown Scapular to the Carmelite Order.

                                           Flos Caremeli

Flos Carmeli,                                        Flower of Carmel

Vitis florigena,                                   Tall vine blossom laden;

Splendor caeli,                                        Splendor of Heaven

Virgo puerperal                                 Childbearing yet maiden.

Singularis                                                 None equals thee.

Flower of Carmel © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Mater mitis                                           Mother so tender,

Sed viri nescia                                  Who no man didst know,

Carmelitis                                          On Carmel’s children

Esto propitia                                       Thy favors bestow.

Stella Maris                                              Star of the Sea

Bestow Your Blessing on Carmel’s Children © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Radix Iesse                                 Strong Stem of Jesse,

Germinans flosculum                   Who bore one bright flower

Nos ad esse                                           Be ever near us

Tecum in saeculum                        and guard us each hour

Patiaris.                                           Who serve thee here.

Purest of Lilies © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

Inter spinas                                       Purest of Lilies

Quae crescis lilium                      That flowers among thorns,

Serva puras                                Bring help to the true heart

Mentes fragilium                           That in weakness turns

Tutelaris                                           and trusts in thee.

Under Thy Mantle © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Armatura                                           Strongest of Armor

Fortis pugnatium                              We trust in thy might:

Furunt bella                                       Under thy Mantle

Tende praesidium                        Hard pressed in the fight,

Scapularis.                                           We call to thee.

We Turn to Thee © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Per incerta                                          Our way uncertain

Prudens consilium                             Surrounded by foes,

Per adversa                                       Unfailing counsel

Iuge solatium                                     You give to those

Largiaris.                                            Who turn to thee.

Gentle Mother © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Mater dulcis                                        O Gentle Mother,

Carmeli domina                              Who in Carmel reigns,

Plebem tuam                                 Share with your servants

Reple laetitia                               That gladness you gained

Qua bearis.                                           And now enjoy.

Gate of Heaven © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012.

Paradisi                                           Hail Gate of Heaven,

Clavis et ianua                               With Glory now crowned,

Fac nos duci                                        Bring us to safety

Quo, Mater, Gloria                              Where they Son is found,

Coronaris. Amen                                    True Joy to see.

As the Gospel was proclaimed, I thanked Our Lord for the vocations of the faithful Carmelites world-wide. The line from today’s Gospel: “Woman behold your Son; Son behold your Mother (John 19:26-27),” really seemed to transcend this celebration. From her throne of grace in Paradise, Our Lady was surely beholding the sanctuary full of her faithful sons; and likewise, their attention was magnificently directed in admiration to their beloved Mother.

Salve Regina, Mater Misericoriae, Vita dulcedo et spes nostra salve © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

As the Mass drew to a close, and the Salve Regina was chanted by the Carmelite Community (along with pews full of devoted pilgrims), a quiet joy enveloped the church. The beauty of the moment hung in the air, mingling with the sweet-scented incense. After the Mass, the homeschoolers had a little procession of their own, singing beautiful Marian hymns and glorifying Our Lord by honoring His beloved Mother.

Later, my children and I walked down to the 7thoutdoor station, behind which the Carmelite cemetery rests under the shadow of the basilica towers. We were there to pay our respects to those beloved Carmelite friends who were celebrating this feast in Eternity, and to request their intercession for our temporal and spiritual needs. The Communion of Saints is such an awesome expression of God’s love for humanity!

As today’s intercessions from the Divine Office state:

“With ultimate generosity and love, You gave Mary as a mother to Your beloved disciple. Help us to live as worthy sons of so noble a Mother.”

As Mary’s adopted children, may we seek her providential care, and find shelter amid the folds of scapular. May we indeed be worthy children of so noble a Mother.

May Our Lady of Mount Carmel wrap her Mantle around your shoulders and hold you close to the Sacred Heart of her Divine Infant Son, Jesus.

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel!

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. J.M.J.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Novena, Day Nine

Queen of Carmel, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

The Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel is drawing to a close. This evening we will celebrate the Vigil of the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and tomorrow we will rejoice in the glorious feast itself.

For the past several years, my family has joined a candle-lit procession to the Lourdes Grotto at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill. I love watching the Carmelite Friars process from the monastery to the grotto, their voices blending in chorus to the ancient hymn Flos Carmeli as they honor Our Lady of Mount Carmel. I have sweet memories of rosaries prayed, and scapulars distributed in that candle-lit grotto as the sunset bathed Holy Hill with splendor. My kids and I look forward to this Vigil and the subsequent Feast Day Mass each and every year.

Vigil of the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (2011) © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

As the Vigil happens to fall on a Sunday this year, the procession will be a little different, taking place after the 12:30 Mass instead of at dusk. We are eagerly anticipating this beautiful event. (I’ll post photos in the afternoon). Our Lady is so very gracious! I know that the filial praise we offer to her will be magnified in her Immaculate Heart and reflected toward her Divine Son, Jesus Christ. Knowing too that Our Beloved Mother is never out-done in gratitude, I am confident that Our Lady will abundantly bless all those who honor her by seeking Mary’s maternal help to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ, her Divine Son.

As we anticipate the joy of today’s vigil and the grace of tomorrow’s feast, please join me in praying the ninth day of the Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Ninth Day
O Most Holy Mother of Mount Carmel, when asked by a saint to grant privileges to the family of Carmel, you gave assurance of your Motherly love and help to those faithful to you and to your Son.
Behold us, your children.

We glory in wearing your holy habit, which makes us members of your family of Carmel, through which we shall have your powerful protection in life, at death and even after death!
Look down with love, O Gate of Heaven, on all those now in their last agony!
Look down graciously, O Virgin, Flower of Carmel, on all those in need of help!
Look down mercifully, O Mother of our Savior, on all those who do not know that they are numbered among your children.
Look down tenderly, O Queen of All Saints, on the poor souls!
(pause and mention petitions)
Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

May Our Lady of Mount Carmel wrap her Mantle around your shoulders and hold you close to the Sacred Heart of her Divine Infant Son, Jesus.

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. J.M.J.

Treasure of Grace: Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Day 8

Blessed Pope John Paul the Great once stated:

Mary is the sure path to our meeting with Christ. Devotion to the Mother of the Lord, when it is genuine, is always an impetus to a life guided by the spirit and values of the Gospel.”

Photo of Bl.Pope John Paul II Statue © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 EA photographer Blessed Pope John Paul the Great, Please Pray for Us!

 

From a tender age, Karol Wojtyla nurtured a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother. As a youth, the boy who would one day become Pope John Paul II learned about Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and embraced the Carmelite Scapular. The Holy Father stated that he had worn the Brown Scapular since his childhood, and often requested the intercession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in matters of importance.

When Pope John Paul II was shot on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, 1981, the Holy Father was wearing his Brown Scapular. As he was rushed into surgery at the Gemelli Hospital, the Holy Father clearly instructed his treating physicians to leave the scapular on during surgery. The surgeons complied with Pope John Paul’s request, and refrained from removing his beloved sacramental.

To the amazement of all, the Holy Father made an astounding recovery from the assassination attempt. It was as if a loving hand had spared his life by gently guiding the bullet, which was a mere millimeters from vital organs and vessels. The Holy Father attributed his miraculous recovery to the intercession Our Lady of Fatima, and on a subsequent visit to Fatima, he placed within her crown, the bullet that had come so close to ending his life. It is interesting to note that in her final apparitions at both Fatima and Lourdes, the Blessed Virgin appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, holding the Brown Scapular within her maternal hands.

“I have worn on my heart for a long time, the Brown Scapular,” Blessed Pope John Paul II © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 EA photo

2001 was the 750th anniversary of the Carmelite Order. In September of that year, while addressing a large group of Carmelite pilgrims, Pope John Paul stated:

“Dearly beloved, this happy event involves not only those devoted to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, but the whole Church, because the rich Marian heritage of Carmel has become in time, thanks to the spread of devotion connected with the Scapular, a treasure for the entire people of God. Draw constantly from this wonderful spiritual patrimony in order to become credible witnesses to Christ and His Gospel in Daily Life (quoted from Scapular Prayer Book, ed. Bart Tesoriero, 2007, p. 38).”

In appreciation for this “treasure for the entire people of God,” please join me in showing our affection for the Mother of God, and requesting her unparalleled intercession, by praying the eighth day of the Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Eighth Day
You give us hope, O Mother of Mercy, that through your Scapular promise we might quickly pass through the fires of purgatory to the Kingdom of your Son. Be our comfort and our hope.
Grant that our hope may not be in vain but that, ever faithful to your Son and to you, we may speedily enjoy after death the blessed company of Jesus and the saints.
(pause and mention petitions)
Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

May Our Lady of Mount Carmel wrap her Mantle around your shoulders and hold you close to the Sacred Heart of her Divine Infant Son, Jesus.

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. J.M.J.

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Garment of Grace: Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Day 7

Garment of Grace © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Throughout the centuries many of the successors of St. Peter have worn the Brown Scapular and highly recommended commending one’s self to the Blessed Virgin’s maternal care through this powerful sacramental. In the late 19thcentury, Pope Leo XIII stated:

“The nobility of the origin of the Carmelite Scapular, its extraordinary spread among Christian peoples for many centuries, the spiritualizing effects produced by it and the outstanding miracles worked in virtue of it, render the Scapular of Mount Carmel commendable to a wondrous degree (quoted from Scapular Prayer Book, ed. Bart Tesoriero, 2007, p. 32).”

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

For centuries, people have been turning to Our Lady, through a tradition of Carmelite Spirituality and prayer, invoking her powerful intercession and providential care. One who wears the Brown Scapular with devotion shares in the spiritual benefits imparted to faithful Carmelites; a gift from our Lord bestowed through His Beloved Mother. On July 16, 1251, Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, bearing the gift of the Carmelite Scapular, and promised:

 

 

 

 

“Receive beloved son, this scapular of thy order, as a badge of my confraternity and for thee and all the Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment shall not suffer everlasting fire. It is a sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant (quoted from Scapular Prayer Book, ed. Bart Tesoriero, 2007, p. 12).”

The Brown Scapular is a powerful sacramental; richly blessed and highly indulgenced. It is NOT a magical talisman. It is a sign, a visible symbol of one’s commitment to Christ through Mary. The Brown Scapular is an outward manifestation of a covenant relationship with Almighty God, a pledge of obedience to His Holy Will. One who wears the Brown Scapular promises fidelity to Christ, and chastity in accord with their state of life (either married or single).

The ability to wear the “Garment of Grace” and partake in the promise of Our Lady of Mount Carmel to St. Simon Stock, and all Carmelites, is an immense privilege. As with any privilege, there is a corollary responsibility. Were one to merely wear the Scapular without practicing the faith that goes along with it, it would be equivalent of reducing this beautiful sacramental to the status of a “good-luck” charm. The Brown Scapular is most certainly NOT a good luck charm. Thus, to receive the graces associated with it, one needs not only to wear the scapular continuously, but also to live their faith, practice chastity consistent with their state, and pray.

Ideally, one should be enrolled in the scapular by a priest or deacon. A devotion to Carmelite Spirituality is also encouraged, including:

(1) Regular participation in Holy Mass and the Eucharist

(2) Regular reading and meditation on Sacred Scripture

(3) Regular prayer of at least some part of the Liturgy of the Hours

(4) Devotion to and imitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(5) A commitment to live the virtues of faith, hope, charity, and chastity in accordance with God’s Holy Will and one’s vocation in life (married, single, religious, etc.)

Mother of Mercy © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Among the long line of devoted clients of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is Blessed Pope John Paul the Great, who on the occasion of the 750 anniversary year of the Carmelite Scapular wrote:

“The Scapular is essentially a habit which evokes the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary in this life and in the passage to the fullness of eternal glory. The Scapular also reminds us that the devotion to her must become a ‘uniform,’ that is, a Christian life-style, woven of prayer and interior life (quoted from Scapular Prayer Book, ed. Bart Tesoriero, 2007, p. 38).”

Our Brown Scapular is a tremendous treasure, the gift of a “Garment of Grace” from Our Lady. With gratitude, let us pray together the novena prayer for the seventh day in preparation for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16.

Seventh Day
O Mary, Help of Christians, you assured us that wearing your Scapular worthily would keep us safe from harm. Protect us in both body and soul with your continual aid. May all that we do be pleasing to your Son and to you.
(pause and mention petitions)
Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

May Our Lady of Mount Carmel wrap her Mantle around your shoulders and hold you close to the Sacred Heart of her Divine Infant Son, Jesus.

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. J.M.J.

Defend Us Dear Mother: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Novena, Day 6

 

Our Lady of Mount Carmel PRay for Us!

 

Around 1916, while addressing a group of seminarians, Pope Benedict XV stated: “Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: the language, the sentences of the Gospel; the common armor, the Scapular of the Virgin of Carmel, which you all ought to wear and which enjoys the singular privilege of protection even after death.”

Over the past week, we’ve contemplated the beauty of the gift of the Brown Scapular as we prepare for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16. Throughout these few days we reviewed the history of the Brown Scapular, considered the Blessed Mother’s promise of protection and discussed the unfathomable grace that accompanies Our Lady’s “Garment of Grace.” We have considered the manner in which Our Lady perpetually directs us toward her Divine Son, Jesus Christ; Who is our ultimate source of joy.

Devotion to Our Lady Always Directs Us to Jesus. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

One of the most salient aspects of the devotion to the Brown Scapular is the protection against evil imparted to those who faithfully express their love of Christ by entrusting themselves to His beloved Mother through this powerful sacramental. Heaven has offered a myriad of signs and miracles attesting to the veracity of Our Lady’s promise and the validity of the hopes of those who entrust themselves to Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s providential care.

Among the many miraculous stories regarding the Brown Scapular, there are two that seem relevant tonight. First, two great founders of religious orders, Saint John Bosco of the Salesians and St. Alphonsus Liguori of the Redemptorists each nurtured a deep devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and faithfully wore the Brown Scapular. Both St. John Bosco and St. Alphonsus Liguori were buried wearing their priestly vestments and the Brown Scapular. Many years later when their bodies were exhumed and their graves opened, the vestments they were wearing at the time of burial and their bodies had completely turned to dust. However, for each man, the Brown Scapular they had been wearing was discovered completely intact. Today, St. Alphonsus Liguori’s scapular is on exhibit in his monastery in Rome. As Pope Benedict XV admonished his seminarians: the Brown Scapular carries with it grace that is evident even after death.

St. John of the Cross Mosaic from the Basilica at Holy Hill. © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Venerable Francis de Yepes was the brother of the great Carmelite reformer St. John of the Cross. Venerable Francis was himself a Carmelite tertiary, and deeply dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and her Brown Scapular. He worked diligently to spread devotion to this vital channel of grace. One day as he was praying for the conversion of souls, Venerable Francis was assailed by angry, howling demons, who bemoaned the success of the scapular and ordered him to remove it. They said: “Take off that habit which snatches so many souls from us. All those clothed in it die piously and escape us.” However, Venerable Francis ignored them and continued his prayers.

Later, as he was performing an act of penance, his scapular slipped off. The demons again ordered him to keep the scapular off. He immediately put it back around his neck. As Francis replaced the Brown Scapular around his neck, the demons howled that three things particularly torment them: (1) the Holy Name of Jesus, (2) the blessed name of Mary, and lastly (3) the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Our Lord has bestowed tremendous grace upon those who show their devotion to Him, and honor His beloved Mother, through the Brown Scapular of Carmel. Countless documented miracles have been associated with devotion to the Scapular: houses spared fire, lives saved, incredible conversions, and abiding faith restored, just to name a few.

Our Brown Scapular is a tremendous treasure, the gift of a “Garment of Grace” from Our Lady. With gratitude, let us pray together the novena prayer for the sixth day in preparation for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16.

Sixth Day
With loving provident care, O Mother Most Amiable, you covered us with your Scapular as a shield of defense against the Evil One.
Through your assistance, may we bravely struggle against the powers of evil, always open to your Son Jesus Christ.
(pause and mention petitions)
Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

May Our Lady of Mount Carmel wrap her Mantle around your shoulders and hold you close to the Sacred Heart of her Divine Infant Son, Jesus.

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. J.M.J.