July 16 – Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Novena – Day 9 (final day)
O Most Holy Mother of Mount Carmel, when asked by a saint to grant privileges to the family of Carmel, you gave assurance of your Motherly love and help to those faithful to you and to your Son. Behold us, your children. We glory in wearing your holy habit, which makes us members of your family of Carmel, through which we shall have your powerful protection in life, at death and even after death. Look down with love, O Gate of Heaven, on all those now in their last agony! Look down graciously, O Virgin, Flower of Carmel, on all those in need of help! Look down mercifully, O Mother of our Savior, on all those who do not know that they are numbered among your children. Look down tenderly, O Queen of All Saints, on the poor souls!
(pause and mention petitions)
Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and in the hour of our death. Amen.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
O Mary, Conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
Mother and Ornament of Carmel, pray for us.
Virgin, Flower of Carmel, pray for us.
Patroness of all who wear the Scapular, pray for us.
Hope of all who die wearing the Scapular, pray for us
St. Joseph, Friend of the Sacred Heart, pray for us.
St. Joseph, Chaste Spouse of Mary, pray for us.
St. Joseph, Our Patron, pray for us.
O sweet Heart of Mary, be my Salvation!
OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL
The feast of Carmel dates back to the time of the Old Testament for Carmel is the mountain of the renewal of the Covenant and Divine intervention through Elijah the Prophet around 900 BC as revealed in Isaiah, Jeremiah and 1 Kings. Carmel, which lies on the border between Samaria and Galilee 20 miles from Nazareth, is derived from the Hebrew Karem el which means “garden” or “orchard” and “vine of God.” It has become a symbol of grace and that is why it so so fitting that the rain Elijah [Elias] prayed for came at Carmel as the “little cloud” (3 Kings 18: 44) turned into a mighty rain that wiped out the drought.
So also in the New Covenant God sent “a little cloud” in the person of His Blessed Mother Mary to rain upon mankind the graces God bestows as the Mediatrix of all graces. In the 5th Century, Chrysippus of Jerusalem wrote of the Blessed Virgin, “Hail, Cloud of Rain that offers drink to the souls of the Saints.” It was around the 12th Century that Carmel first became a place of veneration toward the Mother of God and monks took up sanctuary there living a holy rule. It was the beginning of the Carmelite Order founded in the Holy Land in 1154 by Saint Berthold and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Their original name was Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. The original rule was set down by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1209. The Crusades were instrumental in bringing the Carmelites to Europe through the work of Saint Simon Stock whose feast this date the Church formally celebrated. This English monk learned through private revelation of locutions and visions from Our Lady that he was to join an order not known in Britain, yet dedicated to her, and was asked to wait until a few White Friars, as they were called, came to England with the returning Crusaders. Then he was guided to join this Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Because of his holiness and reverence and, because of the Providence of God through Our Lady, Simon was chosen the Prior-General of the Order at Aylesford, England in 1245. But it wasn’t to be easy. Many persecutions arose against the Carmelites and always Simon went in filial obedience to Our Lady for consolation and direction. This led him to the famous apparition at the White Friar’s convent in Cambridge, England on July 16, 1251 in which Our Lady appeared to him, presenting him with the Brown Scapular as an outward sign of protection, telling Simon, “Here is the privilege that I grant to you and to all the children of Carmel, whoever dies clothed in this habit shall be saved.” Many miracles ensued and the Brown Scapular became legendary as miraculous protection for all who wore it and it spread rapidly through the centuries.
Though it is not “magical” and one must be in a state of grace to receive the merits inherent in wearing the Scapular, it is another sign of God’s infinite Mercy that He is with us always. The granting of the Scapular gave Simon the fortitude to reorganize the Carmelites into mendicant friars similar to the Franciscans which had begun a few decades prior. Simon died at Bordeaux in 1265 while evangelizing and establishing more Carmelite houses in France. The feast of St. Simon Stock and Our Lady of Carmel were first introduced into the Church in the late 1370’s in commemoration of Pope Honorius III’s approval of the Carmelite Rule. Over the next several centuries laxity set in and it wasn’t until the 16th Century that Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross reformed the Order, setting up two branches for both men and women: the Discalced and Calced. One branch was dedicated to contemplative, devoting themselves in prayers of intercession for the other branch of Carmelites who were active in the world in missionary activities.
In 1726 Pope Benedict XIII introduced this feast into the Roman calendar. The Carmelites’ ideal became world-famous through the 1925 canonization of “the Little Flower” – Saint Theresa of Lisieux (1873-1897) by Pope Pius XI.
The Lasting Magnificence, Grace, and Power of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
By: Dom Prosper Gueranger
Towering over the waves on the shore of the Holy Land, Mount Carmel, together with the short range of the same name, forms a connecting link to two other chains, abounding with glorious memories, namely: the mountains of Galilee on the north, and those of Judea on the south.
‘In the day of My love, I brought thee out of Egypt into the land of Carmel,’ [Cf. Jeremias 2:2, 7] said the Lord to the daughter of Sion, taking the name of Carmel to represent all the blessings of the Promised Land; and when the crimes of the chosen people were about to bring Judea to ruin, the prophet cried out: ‘I looked, and behold Carmel was a wilderness: and all its cities were destroyed at the presence of the Lord, and at the presence of the wrath of His indignation.’ [Jeremias 4:26] But from the midst of the Gentile world a new Sion arose, more loved than the first; eight centuries beforehand Isaias recognized her by the glory of Libanus, and the beauty of Carmel and Saron which were given her. In the sacred Canticle, also, the attendants of the Bride sing to the Spouse concerning His well-beloved, that her head is like Carmel, and her hair like the precious threads of royal purple carefully woven and dyed. [Canticles 7:5]
There was, in fact, around Cape Carmel, an abundant fishery of the little shell-fish which furnished the regal color. Not far from there, smoothing away the slopes of the noble mountain, flowed the torrent of Cison, that dragged the carcasses [Judges 5:21] of the Chanaanites, when Debbora won her famous victory. Here lies the plain where the Madianites were overthrown, and Sisara felt the power of her that was called the Mother in Israel. [Canticles 7: 7] Here Gedeon, too, marched against Madian in the name of the Woman terrible as an army set in array, [Canticles 6:3, 9] whose sign he had received in the dew-covered fleece. Indeed, this glorious plain of Esdrelon, which stretches away from the foot of Carmel, seems to be surrounded with prophetic indications of her who was destined from the beginning to crush the serpent’s head: not far from Esdrelon, a few defiles lead to Bethulia, the city of Judith, type of Mary, who was the true joy of Israel and the honor of her people; [Judith 15:10] while nestling among the northern hills lies Nazareth, the white city, the flower of Galilee.
When Eternal Wisdom was playing in the world, forming the hills and establishing the mountains, she destined Carmel to be the special inheritance of Eve’s victorious daughter. And when the last thousand years of expectation were opening, and the desire of all nations was developing into the spirit of prophecy, the father of prophets ascended the privileged mount, thence to scan the horizon. The triumphs of David and the glories of Solomon were at an end: the sceptre of Juda, broken by the schism of the ten tribes, threatened to fall from his hand; the worship of Baal prevailed in Israel. A long-continued drought, figure of the aridity of men’s souls, had parched up every spring, and men and beasts were dying beside the empty cisterns, when Elias the Thesbite gathered the people, representing the whole human race, on Mount Carmel, and slew the lying prophets of Baal. Then, as the Scripture relates, prostrating with his face to the earth, he said to his servant: Go up, look towards the sea. And he went up, and looked and said: There is nothing. And again he said to him: Return seven times. And at the seventh time: Behold, a little cloud arose out of the sea like a man’s foot [3 Kings 18].
Blessed cloud! Unlike the bitter waves from which it sprang, it was all sweetness. Docile to the least breath of Heaven, it rose light and humble, above the immense heavy ocean; and screening the sun, it tempered the heat that was scorching the earth and restored to the stricken world life and grace and fruitfulness. The promised Messias, the Son of Man, set His impress upon it, showing to the wicked serpent the form of the heel that was to crush him. The prophet, personifying the human race, felt his youth renewed; and while the welcome rain was already refreshing the valleys, he ran before the chariot of the king of Israel. Thus did he traverse the great plain of Esdrelon, even to the mysteriously-named town of Jezrahel where, according to Osee, the children of Juda and Israel were again to have but one head in the great day of Jezrahel (i.e., of the seed of God), when the Lord would seal His eternal nuptials with a new people. [Osee 1:11, 2:14-24] Later on, from Sunam, near Jezrahel the mother whose son was dead crossed the same plain of Esdrelon, in the opposite direction, and ascended Mount Carmel to obtain from Eliseus the resurrection of her child, who was a type of us all. [4 Kings 4:8-37]
Elias had already departed in the chariot of fire, to await the end of the world, when he is to give testimony, together with Enoch, to the son of her that was signified by the cloud; [Apocalypse 11:3, 7] and the disciple, clothed with the mantle and the spirit of his father, had taken possession, in the name of the sons of the prophets, of the august mountain honored by the manifestation of the Queen of prophets. Henceforward Carmel was sacred in the eyes of all who looked beyond this world. Gentiles as well as Jews, philosophers and princes, came here on pilgrimage to adore the true God; while the chosen souls of the Church of the expectation, many of whom were already wandering in deserts and in mountains, [Hebrews 11:38] loved to take up their abode in its thousand grottos; for the ancient traditions seemed to linger more lovingly in its silent forests, and the perfume of its flowers foretokened the Virgin Mother. The cultus of the Queen of Heaven was already established; and to the family of her devout clients, the ascetics of Carmel, might be applied the words spoken later by God to the pious descendants of Rechab: There shall not be wanting a man of this race, standing before Me for ever! [Jeremias 35:19].
At length figures gave place to the reality; the heavens dropped down their dew, and the Just One came forth from the cloud. When His work was done and He returned to His Father, leaving His blessed Mother in the world, and sending His Holy Spirit to the Church, not the least triumph of that Spirit of love was the making known of Mary to the new-born Christians of Pentecost. ‘What a happiness,’ we then remarked, ‘for those neophytes who were privileged above the rest in being brought to the Queen of Heaven, the Virgin Mother of Him Who was the hope of Israel! They saw this second Eve, they conversed with her, they felt for her that filial affection wherewith she inspired all the disciples of Jesus. The liturgy will speak to us at another season of these favored ones.’ The promise is fulfilled today. In the lessons of the feast the Church tells us how the disciples of Elias and Eliseus became Christians at the first preaching of the Apostles, and being permitted to hear the sweet words of the Blessed Virgin and enjoy an unspeakable intimacy with her, they felt their veneration for her immensely increased. Returning to the loved mountain, where their less fortunate fathers had lived but in hope, they built, on the very spot where Elias had seen the little cloud rise up out of the sea, an oratory to the purest of virgins; hence they obtained the name of Brothers of Blessed Mary of Mount Carmel.
In the twelfth century, in consequence of the establishment of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, many pilgrims from Europe came to swell the ranks of the solitaries on the holy mountain; it therefore became expedient to give to their hitherto eremitical life a form more in accordance with the habits of Western nations.
The legate Aimeric Malafaida, patriarch of Antioch, gathered them into a community under the authority of St. Berthold, who was thus the first to receive the title of Prior-General. At the commencement of the next century, Blessed Albert, patriarch of Jerusalem and also apostolic legate, completed the work of Aimeric by giving a fixed Rule to the Order, which was now, through the influence of princes and knights returned from the Holy Land, beginning to spread into Cyprus, Sicily, and the countries beyond the sea. Soon, indeed, the Christians of the East being abandoned by God to the just punishment of their sins, the vindictiveness of the conquering Saracens reached such a height in this age of trial for Palestine, that a full assembly, held on Mount Carmel under Alan the Breton, resolved upon a complete migration, leaving only a few friars eager for Martyrdom to guard the cradle of the Order. The very year in which this took place (1245) Simon Stock was elected General in the first Chapter of the West, held at Aylesford in England.
Simon owed his election to the successful struggle he had maintained for the recognition of the Order which certain prelates, alleging the recent decrees of the Fourth Lateran Council, rejected as having been newly introduced into Europe. Our Lady had then taken the cause of the friars into her own hands, and had obtained from Pope Honorius III the decree of confirmation, which originated today’s feast. This was neither the first nor the last favor bestowed by the sweet Virgin upon the family that had lived so long under the shadow, as it were, of her mysterious cloud, and shrouded like her in humility, with no other bond, no other pretension than the imitation of her hidden works and the contemplation of her glory. She herself had wished them to go forth from the midst of a faithless people; just as, before the close of that same thirteenth century, she would command her Angels to carry into a Catholic land her blessed house of Nazareth. Whether or not the men of those days, or the short-sighted historians of our own time, ever thought of it, the one translation called for the other, just as each completes and explains the other, and each was to be, for our own Europe, the signal for wonderful favors from Heaven.
In the night between the 15th and 16th of July of the year 1251, the gracious Queen of Carmel confirmed to her sons by a mysterious sign the right of citizenship she had obtained for them in their newly adopted countries; as mistress and mother of the entire religious state she conferred upon them with her queenly hands the scapular, hitherto the distinctive garb of the greatest and most ancient religious family of the West. On giving St. Simon Stock this badge, ennobled by contact with her sacred fingers, the Mother of God said to him: ‘Whosoever shall die in this habit shall not suffer eternal flames.’ But not against Hell fire alone was the all-powerful intercession of the Blessed Mother to be felt by those who should wear her scapular. In 1316, when every holy soul was imploring Heaven to put a period to that long and disastrous widowhood of the Church which followed on the death of Pope Clement V, the Queen of Saints appeared to James d’Euse, whom the world was soon to hail as John XXII; she foretold to him his approaching elevation to the Sovereign Pontificate, and at the same time recommended him to publish the privilege she had obtained from her Divine Son for her children of Carmel, viz., a speedy deliverance from Purgatory. ‘I, their Mother, will graciously go down to them on the Saturday after their death, and all whom I find in Purgatory I will deliver and will bring to the mountain of life eternal.’ These are the words of our Lady herself, quoted by John XXII in the Bull which he published for the purpose of making known the privilege, and which was called the Sabbatine Bull on account of the day chosen by the glorious benefactress for the exercise of her mercy.
We are aware of the attempts made to nullify the authenticity of these heavenly concessions; but our extremely limited time will not allow us to follow up these worthless struggles in all their endless details. The attack of the chief assailant, the too famous Launoy, was condemned by the Apostolic See; and after, as well as before, these contradictions, the Roman Pontiffs confirmed, as much as need be, by their supreme authority, the substance and even the letter of the precious promises. The reader may find in special works the enumeration of the many indulgences with which the Popes have, time after time, enriched the Carmelite family, as if earth would vie with Heaven in favoring it. The munificence of Mary, the pious gratitude of her sons for the hospitality given them by the West, and lastly, the authority of St. Peter’s successors, soon made these spiritual riches accessible to all Christians, by the institution of the Confraternity of the holy Scapular, the members whereof participate in the merits and privileges of the whole Carmelite Order. Who shall tell the graces, often miraculous, obtained through this humble garb? Who could count the faithful now enrolled in the holy militia? When Pope Benedict XIII, in the eighteenth century, extended the feast of July 16 to the whole Church, he did but give an official sanction to the universality already gained by the cultus of the Queen of Carmel.
Queen of Carmel, hear the voice of the Church as she sings to thee on this day. When the world was languishing in ceaseless expectation, thou wert already its hope. Unable as yet to understand thy greatness, it nevertheless, during the reign of types, loved to clothe thee with the noblest symbols. In admiration and in gratitude for benefits foreseen, it surrounded thee with all the notions of beauty, strength, and grace suggested by the loveliest landscapes, the flowery plains, the wooded heights, the fertile valleys, especially of Carmel, whose very name signifies ‘the plantation of the Lord.’ On its summit our fathers, knowing that Wisdom had set her throne in the cloud, hastened by their burning desires the coming of the saving sign: at length there was given to their prayers what the Scripture calls perfect knowledge, and the knowledge of the great paths of the clouds. [Job 37:16] And when He who maketh His chariot and His dwelling in the obscurity of a cloud had herein shown Himself, in a nearer approach, to the practiced eye of the father of prophets, then did a chosen band of holy persons gather in the solitudes of the blessed mountain, as heretofore Israel in the desert, to watch the least movements of the mysterious cloud, to receive from it their guidance in the paths of life, and their light in the long night of expectation.
O Mary, who from that hour didst preside over the watches of God’s army, without ever failing for a single day: now that the Lord has truly come down through thee, it is no longer the land of Judea alone, but the whole earth that thou coverest as a cloud, shedding down blessings and abundance. Thine ancient clients, the sons of the prophets, experienced this truth when, the land of promise becoming unfaithful, they were forced to transplant into other climes their customs and traditions; they found that even into our far West the cloud of Carmel had poured its fertilizing dew, and that nowhere would its protection be wanting to them. This feast, O Mother of our God, is the authentic attestation of their gratitude, increased by the fresh benefits wherewith thy bounty accompanied the new exodus of the remnant of Israel. And we, the sons of ancient Europe, we too have a right to echo the expression of their loving joy; for since their tents have been pitched around the hills where the new Sion is built upon Peter, the cloud has shed all around showers of blessing more precious than ever, driving back into the abyss the flames of hell and extinguishing the fire of Purgatory.
Whilst, then, we join with them in thanksgiving to thee, deign thyself, O Mother of Divine grace, to pay Our debt of gratitude to them. Protect them ever. Guard them in these unhappy times, when the hypocrisy of modern persecutors has more fatal results than the rage of the Saracens. Preserve the life in the deep roots of the old stock, and rejoice it by the accession of new branches, bearing, like the old ones, flowers and fruits that shall be pleasing to thee, O Mary. Keep up in the hearts of the sons that spirit of retirement and contemplation which animated their fathers under the shadow of the cloud; may their sisters, too, wheresoever the Holy Spirit has established them, be ever faithful to the traditions of the glorious past, so that their holy lives may avert the tempest and draw down blessings from the mysterious cloud. May the perfume of penance that breathes from the holy mountain purify the now corrupted atmosphere around; and may Carmel ever present to the Spouse the type of the beauties He loves to behold in His Bride!
Act of Consecration to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
O Mary, Queen and Mother of Carmel, I come today to consecrate myself to thee, for my whole life is but a small return for the many graaces and blessings that have come from God to me through thy hands. Since thou lookest with special kindness on those who wearest thy Scapular, I implore the to strengthen my weakness with thy power, to enlighten the darkness of my mind with thy wisdom, and to increase in me Faith, Hope and Charity that I may repay each day my debt of humble homage to thee.
May thy Scapular bring me thy special protection in my daily struggle to be faithful to thy Divine Son and to thee. May it separate me from all that is sinful in life and remind me constantly of my duty to imitate thy virtues. From now on, I shall strive to live in God’s Presence, and offer all to Jesus through thee. Dearest Mother, support me by thy never-failing love and lead me to paradise through the merits of Christ and thy own intercession. Amen.
PROPER of the MASS COMMEMORATION OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL – July 16
OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL
Let all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival day in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on whose solemnity the angels rejoice and give praise to the Son of God. (Ps. 44: 2) My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
O God, Who hast honored the Order of the most blessed Mary, ever a virgin, Thy mother, with the special title of Carmel, graciously grant that we, who this day celebrate her commemoration with solemn service, may, being protected by her care, be worthy to attain to everlasting joys. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God,
EPISTLE: Wisdom 24: 23-31
As the vine I have brought forth a pleasant odor, and my flowers are the fruit of honor and riches. I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits; for my spirit is sweet above honey, and my inheritance above honey and the honeycomb. My memory is unto everlasting generations. They that eat me, shall yet hunger; and they that drink me, shall yet thirst. He that harkeneth to me shall not be confounded, and they that work by me shall not sin. They that explain me shall have life everlasting.
Blessed and venerable art thou, O Virgin Mary, Who, without spot, wast found the Mother of the Savior. V. Virgin Mother of God, He Whom the whole world containeth not, being made man, shut Himself in thy womb. Alleluia, alleluia. V. Mother of God, the life that had been lost was given us through thee, who didst receive thine offspring from Heaven, and didst bring forth a Savior unto the world. Alleluia.
GOSPEL: Luke 11: 26-27
At that time: As Jesus Was speaking to the multitudes, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to Him, Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the breasts that gave Thee suck. But He said, “Yea, rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.”
OFFERTORY: Jeremiah 18: 20
Remember, O Virgin Mother, that thou speak good things for us in the sight of God, that He turn away His wrath from us.
Sanctify, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the sacrifices we offer, and, by the most salutary intercession of blessed Mary, Mother of God grant them to be effectual for our salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God
PREFACE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation, that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God. That on the Commemoration of our Lady of Mount Carmel, we should praise, bless and proclaim Thee. For she conceived Thine only-begotten Son by the over-shadowing of the Holy Ghost, and losing not the glory of her virginity, gave forth to the world the everlasting light, Jesus Christ our Lord. Through whom the angels praise Thy majesty, the dominations worship it, and the powers stand in awe. The heavens and the heavenly hosts, and the blessed seraphim join together in celebrating their joy. With these we pray Thee join our voices also, while we say with lowly praise:
SANCTUS, SANCTUS, SANCTUS…
Most worthy queen of the world, Mary, ever a virgin, intercede for our peace and safety, who didst bring forth Christ, Our Lord, the Savior of all.
May the august intercession of Mary, Thy glorious Mother, ever a virgin, help us, O Lord, that those whom it hath heaped with benefits it may deliver from all peril and by her tender kindness, make to be of one mind. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, For ever and ever.