MARY, OUR MOTHER

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

MANILA, Philippines — Saturday's Celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is known to many Marian devotees and to the entire Catholic faithful who wear the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

It is a sacramental signifying the devotee’s spiritual closeness and consecration to the Blessed Mother and, in a special way, his or her affiliation with the Order of Carmelites.

The first Carmelites were in Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land in the late 12th to the mid 13th century. In that place, they built a small church which they dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, whom they conceived of in chivalric terms as the “Lady of the Place.”

When the Carmelites went to Europe, they were met with great opposition from within and outside the Church. The superior of the Order of Carmelites, Saint Simon Stock, entrusted their mission to the maternal care of the Blessed Virgin Mary who appeared before him and presented him with the well-known Brown Scapular.

It was given as a sign of an assurance of her heavenly protection from eternal death for all who died wearing it. The devotion spread quickly throughout Europe and eventually throughout the world.

The solemn liturgical Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was probably first celebrated in England in the later part of the 14th century. It was originally intended as a way of thanking Mary, the Patroness of the Carmelite Order, for the benefits she had accorded to it through its rocky early existence.

Today, the Carmelite Order ministers in many countries in the world, advocating contemplative prayer as a way of life for those who would like to seek and find Christ in their lives. Guided by the Blessed Mother, they have been leading people closer to God through their ministries. Their devotion to Mary has inspired many Christians to imitate her in her simplicity and obedience to the will of God.

As we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel today, let us resolve to imitate her deep communion and friendship with God. We thank her for leaving us an example of Good Christian Life. May the Blessed Mother guide us in our earthly pilgrimage and make us closer to God.

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