From the Seton Newsletter.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
We celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16th, the date of Our Lady's appearance to St. Simon Stock. The celebration of this feast seems particularly appropriate in light of the current conflict between Muslims and Christians. This feast gives us and our children an opportunity to learn about how the Church has suffered from those who oppose us. Our children can be prayer "crusaders" in their own home.
Mount Carmel was the location in Palestine where, in the Old Testament times, the Prophet Elijah called down fire from heaven, once to destroy an enemy pagan captain and his fifty soldiers, and once to prove to the pagan priests that the true God of the Israelites was in control.
The Prophet Elijah lived on Mount Carmel most of his life as a monk; it was because he lived there with other monks living a life of prayer and sacrifice, that Mount Carmel was considered a sacred mountain.
Later during the Old Testament time of Judith, King Nabuchodonosor sent his general to "bring all the earth under his empire." One of the places that resisted this invasion was Carmel. Although Judith did not live in Carmel, she was an Israelite widow who prayed for God to give her the strength to defeat the king and his general, General Holofernes. Judith was given a strategy by God, and she killed the general in his own camp.
In New Testament times, chapels, including one to the Blessed Mother, were built on Mount Carmel, and an order of monks called Carmelites lived there. Throughout the centuries when the followers of Islam, the Mohammedans or the Saracens, were destroying Christian cities and churches, Carmel was destroyed but rebuilt again by the Christians. The Crusaders fought valiantly during the holy wars trying to save Carmel and the other holy lands.
However, because of the devastation, the Carmelite Order moved to Europe. Later, St. Simon Stock, born in England in the mid 1100's, joined the Carmelite Order in England, where there was great devotion to the Blessed Mother. He became the general of the Carmelite Order, and spent several years in the monastery on Mount Carmel. The Order spread through Europe, and in 1252 the pope gave official recognition to the Carmelite Order.
The Blessed Mother appeared to St. Simon Stock on July 16, 1251, in Kent, England, and gave him a scapular for the monks to wear day and night. She told the saint, "Those wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire."
Since then, the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel has become a favorite with Catholics all over the world, many popes and saints wearing it daily. Scapulars, official sacramentals of the Church, with their prayers and devotions, have become second in popularity only to the Rosary. The Church has granted many spiritual benefits to the wearing of the Brown Scapular.
St. Terese of Lisieux, the Little Flower and Doctor of the Church who joined the Carmelite Order, wrote about Mary as our Mother and a model for us to imitate. Mary cares for us as a mother, and we should love her as our heavenly mother. We need to look to her as the perfect disciple of Jesus, and try to imitate her way of life, especially her instant and complete obedience to His holy will.
Those who wear the scapular show their devotion to the Mother of God by frequent prayer and frequent reception of the sacraments. The scapular is a sign, a symbol of our willingness to commit ourselves to a higher spiritual life of prayer and devotion, as well as the practice of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
For us homeschooling parents, Our Lady of Mount Carmel should remind us of the attacks against the church, whether they are from across the seas or right in our own country. We and our children need to re-dedicate ourselves to praying for the Church, and to ask the Blessed Mother in prayer to help our Church at this time in our country when it is under attack from the pagan society, from the media, and even from those supposedly within the Church who want the laws of God abandoned.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, we know you are our heavenly mother and are dedicated to protecting us. Please intercede for us with your Son to protect our Church from the enemies of your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us to learn through teaching our children that our holy Catholic Faith is the most precious treasure we have, and that we must be willing to make great sacrifices for the Church which your Son founded for our eternal salvation. Amen.
Another prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the Flos Carmeli (Flower of Carmel) composed by Saint Simon Stock.
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 necessity! O Star of the Sea, help and protect us! Show us that you are our Mother! Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us!
The Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel from Aquinas and more.com
Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Also called simply the Brown Scapular, this small scapular is the most well known and likely the earliest form of the devotional scapular. It may even be referred to merely as “the scapular,” where all other scapulae are referred to in the full name or by some distinguishing characteristic. Along the same line, the phrase “The Feast of the Scapular” refers to the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Pious tradition holds that the Blessed Virgin appeared to St. Simon Stock on July 16, 1251 in England, with a scapular in her hand and said to him, "Take, beloved son this scapular of thy order as a badge of my confraternity and for thee and all Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire. It is the sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant." According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, these precise words of Our Lady only appeared in written form in 1642, in a document that said these words had been dictated by Simon to his secretary and confessor. Historical documents cannot support the exact details or words, but the content is held to be reliable. That is to say, it is credible that Our Lady assured St. Simon Stock in a supernatural manner of her special protection over his whole order and all who would wear the Carmelite habit, indirectly extending to all Christian faithful who should wear the scapular as a badge of devotion, even if we cannot place the exact words.
Conditions for Receiving the Graces of the Scapular
The promise and the following conditions are typically associated with a vision and Bull of Pope John XXII. The Bull that has been handed down since the 1400's was never mentioned for over 100 years after its supposed promulgation in 1322 and no record of such a document exists in the writings of Pope John XXII. It has been generally assumed that the extant text of the Bull is not an authentic document but the promises and conditions are valid and several popes have given the Carmelites permission to preach them.
Here are the conditions:
1) Wear the Brown Scapular continuously -
(Catechesis of the Brown Scapular)
2) Observe chastity according to one's state in life.
3) Recite daily the "Little Office of the Blessed Virgin."
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3a) Observe the required fast of the Church as well as abstaining for meat on Wednesday and Saturday
3b) Recite the Rosary daily
3c) With permission, substitute some other good work.
Obviously, the Scapular is not a get out of Hell or Purgatory Free Card.
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