Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It is great that for the first time today the Ordinariate goes on pilgrimage to Walsingham. Our blessed mother is calling us together and offering to cloth us once more.
Some Christians who went to the Holy Land in the 11-12 centuries decided to establish themselves as a community on Mount Carmel near Elijah’s cave. Tradition has it that a community lived there since the times of Elijah so that this new Christian group saw themselves as the spiritual heirs of the first. In 1206, the prior of this community, (Brocard), received the rule of life from the hands ofAlbert, the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Because of persecutions the community had to resettle in Europe. The superior of the Order was St Simon Stock, known also as St Simon of England. Whilst at the priory of Aylesford here in the UK, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and gave him what is now known as the Brown Scapular.
When Our Lady gave to St Simon her clothing, Mary wanted to show the tenderness of a mother towards her children. Mary clothes us in time of need, indeed she is the one who enables us to put on Christ. This day reminds us of the tenderness of the mother, tending the Church locked in fear in the Upper Room, assisting those first bishops by praying for them and with them. Today’s feast reminds us that our heavenly mother still offers us this clothing. If in fear, in the wilderness, forced away from Mount Carmel, or locked in any room, Our Lady prays for us, and gives us new clothing, enables us to put on Christ. And if Christ is with us, who can be against us?
Have you ever thought about wearing the scapular?
The Carmelite Scapular is not:
- a magical charm to protect you
- an automatic guarantee of salvation
- an excuse for not living up to the demands of the Christian life
It is a sign:
- which has been approved by the Church for over seven centuries;
- which stands for the decision to
- follow Jesus like Mary:
- be open to God and to his will
- be guided by faith, hope, and love
- to pray at all times
- to discover God present in all that happens around us.
Carmelite Prayer to Our Lady
Flos Carmeli (Flower of Carmel)
13th-century hymn to Our Lady attributed to the Carmelite St. Simon Stock
Flower of Carmel, tall vine, blossom-laden;
splendour of heaven, child-bearing, yet maiden;
none equals thee.
Mother so tender, whom no man didst know,
on Carmel’s children thy favours bestow;
Star of the Sea!
Strong stem of Jesse, who bore one bright flower,
be ever near us, and guard us each hour,
who serve thee here.
Purest of lilies, that flowers among thorns,
bring help to true hearts that in weakness turn
and trust in thee.
Strongest of armour, we trust in thy might,
under thy mantle, hard pressed in the fight,
we call to thee.
Our way, uncertain, surrounded by foes,
unfailing counsel you offer to those
who turn to thee.
O gentle Mother, who in Carmel reigns,
share with your servants that gladness you gained,
and now enjoy.
Hail, gate of heaven, with glory now crowned,
bring us to safety, where thy Son is found,
true joy to see.
V. Holy Mary, Mother of Christ, hear the cry of your servants.
R. And bring down heavenly aid in answer to our prayer.
Let us pray:
By a special privilege, Lord, you have adorned the Carmelite Order with the name of your Mother, the most glorious Virgin Mary.Grant as we faithfully remember this honour, that in these days we may receive her protection and in the days to come we may be brought to everlasting happiness. This we ask of you who are living and reigning for ever. Amen.