Wednesday, July 16, 2008

FEAST DAY! Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

"His mother said to the servers, 'Do whatever he tells you.'" ~John 2:5

Before converting to Catholicism, I never understood why Catholics placed so much emphasis on Mary. The first time I went to Mass with my friend Cathy (I was about seventeen at the time,) I remained on high alert for anything, anything at all, that would indicate that anyone other than the Father, Son and Holy Spirit was being worshiped. Because? I was going to hit the center aisle and start running before the lightning struck.

Imagine my surprise when Mary was only mentioned once, and that was to ask her and the angels and saints in heaven to pray for us all for strength to resist sin.

I couldn't argue with that and politely kept my seat, thus avoiding embarrassing Cathy and her parents and shocking the nuns who knelt in the front row.

In these past six years or so, I have developed a devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, mostly because I love the Brown Scapular and its meaning, but secondly because all the artwork of Mary with the infant Jesus is so beautiful. There are probably a thousand depictions of Mary and Jesus in Carmel mode, and I love them all.

I was surfing around on the 'net today, looking for some info to put here on the blog about Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and the Brown Scapular, which I wear daily. (I used to have an actual little woolen scapular, but it got so frayed and threadbare that I decided to switch to a medal. That scapular, its meaning and its physical presence, got me through a really difficult and depressing time about four years ago and I take great comfort in the meaning it holds for me.) I found this website, which is simply titled The Brown Scapular and I really love the way it clearly stated what the Brown Scapular is and what benefits it holds for the wearers.

The Blessed Virgin teaches us:

~To be open to God, and to his will, shown to us in the events of our lives;

~To listen to the Word of God in the Bible and in life, to believe in it and to put into practice its demands;

~To pray at all times, as a way of discovering the presence of God in all that is happening around us;

~To be involved with people, being attentive to their needs.

The Scapular finds its roots in the tradition of the Order of Carmel, which has seen in it a sign of Mary’s motherly protection. It has therefore, a centuries old spiritual meaning approved by Church.

It stands for a commitment to follow Jesus, like Mary, the perfect model of all the disciples of Christ. This commitment finds its origin in baptism by which we become children of God.
It leads us into the community of Carmel, a community of religious men and women, which has existed in the Church for over eight centuries.

It reminds us of the example of the saints of Carmel, with whom we establish a close bond as brothers and sisters to one another.

It is an expression of our belief that we will meet God in eternal life, aided by the intercession and prayers of Mary.

Some notable saints of the Carmelite Order are:

St. Teresa of Avila
St. John of the Cross
St. Thérèse of Liseux
St. Simon Stock
St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (author of the well-known little book The Practice of the Presence of God.)

Happy feast day, our mother of Carmel!

1 comment:

Kayte said...

Oh, this was a beautiful post.

I am at the swim meet, so this is just the thing to get my day going right...or as right as it can be sitting on metal bleachers breathing chlorine at a pool with no (count them, NO) windows. IU needs a new pool.