Saturday, July 15, 2006

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Today is the Solemn Commemoration of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel for the members of the Carmelite order (an optional memorial for the rest of the Church).

Who are the Carmelites?

They are an amaaaaazing religious order founded in the 12th century dedicated to following the example of the prophet Elijah and the Blessed Virgin Mary. They spend a lot of time meditating on God's word and praying for the Church and the world. They were reformed in the 1500's by St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. There's a cloister of Discalced (reformed) Carmelite nuns by my house and going there for Mass is always good times.

For the Carmelites, Mary is their guide to contemplative prayer. She heard the word of God and treasured it in her heart. By offering all to God through her we can grow greatly in our prayer lives.

The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is part of the habit of the Carmelite Order. It was given to St. Simon Stock by the Blessed Mother and it consists of two pieces of cloth draped in the front and the back. Lay people began to wear it as well (a smaller version) as a sign of devotion to Mary as Mother of Carmel and to share in the spirituality of the Carmelite order. It is a very highly praised sacramental. Today is also the principal feast of the scapular confraternity.

Flower of Carmel,
Tall vine blossom laden;
Splendor of heaven,
Child-bearing yet maiden.
None equals thee.
Mother so tender,
Who no man didst know,
On Carmel’s children
Thy favors bestow.
Star of the Sea.

I know this is a little late, but if anyone would like to celebrate today as a Solemnity using the Carmelite propers for the Liturgy of the Hours, you can find them here. Also, a fun litany here.


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