Carmel Beckons

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Our Lady of  Mount  Carmel stretches out her arms to us offering protection in our  pilgrimage towards heaven.  Of all apparitions of Mother Mary, the one at  Mount Carmel is quite unique. It was here that she  gifted  the  Brown  Scapular   to her children as a token of her maternal love and protection.

For us  who believe in the true God, Carmel is special in  more than one ways.  Our association with the  Mount of Carmel dates back to  the times of  Prophet Elijah. It was on this mountain that  Elijah built an altar for  the Lord and offered   a sacrifice which the God of Israel accepted by  sending fire from above. This sacrifice was a turning point in the history of the Israelites. Once again the  Lord  revealed to His  chosen people  that  He and He alone is the true God and that  the idols of Baal and Ashera  are nothing more than despicable objects.

After annihilating the prophets of Baal, Elijah flees from  the Mount of Carmel. On the way he is supported by an   angel of God who provided him with  a cake baked on hot stones  and a jar of  water. With the strength of this heavenly food, Elijah covered his journey  of forty days to reach  Horeb, the Mount of God.  Like Manna, this  heavenly food also represents the life giving  bread served to us in the  form of Holy Eucharist.

Carmel has always been the choicest  destination for those hermits  and monks who  were in search of a  place where they coud hear the  voice of the Lord in solitude.   Located on the  eastern  side of the Mediterranean Sea and  blessed with  copious rain and vegetation,  Mount Carmel offered the serene  ambience to anybody seriously  contemplating a  life totally detached from the outside world. 

It was here,  that our Lady appeared to Simon Stock, a Carmelite in 1251 and gave him the  Brown Scapular. Soon this formed part of the Carmelite habit.  In Stock’s vision, Mary promised that those who died wearing the Scapular would be saved from eternal damnation.  Brown Scapular signifies the wearer’s consecration to Mary. It is the  symbol of  her special protection  to  those  who consecrate themselves to her in a special way.  Since then  Catholics around the  world  have been consecrating  their lives to  Mary   so as to ensure her  help and succour at all  times, especially at the time of death, and beyond.

As the world is   passing through  difficult and testing times, we invite you to  consecrate your lives to  our  Holy Mother and make it a habit to always wear  a  Scapular blessed by a priest.  By consecration, we  are  surrendering our lives  to the Mother. 

 Consecration is a special call to the ‘interior life of Mary’ instilling in us  the urge  for a pre-eminently Marian life. Mary’s life was one in which grace flowered  into spiritual wealth in abundance. This led her  to a life of recollection, prayer  and complete submission to God resulting in a continual and intimate union with Him. Saints and theologians  agree that  Mary’s soul is a sanctuary reserved for God alone, where no human creature has ever left its trace. Her heart was one overflowing with love and  zeal for the glory of  God, and   salvation  of mankind was her supreme goal.

If we are serious about a  life consecrated to   Our Holy Mother, we must  follow Mary into the depths of  her interior life, which was  essentially a life of contemplation. Carmel denotes  this  life of contemplation, wholly dedicated to the quest for God and totally  oriented towards  a close relation with  God. We call Mary, who best symbolises  this way of life, the “Queen and Splendor of Carmel”.
During the  Fatima  apparitions of  1917, the Holy Mother  revealed herself as  the Lady of  Mount  Carmel to the visionaries. The Garabandal apparitions in Spain (1961–1965) were  also reported to be images of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel  indicating  the need for us to  run to her in times  of need.  She is our perpetual succour and we need her help every day, every moment. If our submission is  complete, she will guide us  through the   testing times of our life. 

 Millions of   Christians have made it a habit to  wear the Brown Scapular as a token of their total consecration to Mary. Let us also join them and place  our lives  and what all we have at the disposal of our beloved Mother. Trust in her promise that with  Scapular and  Rosary she will save the world. Also remember  the Sabbatine Privilege traditionally associated with the Brown   Scapular and the  indulgences approved by  the Church for those who regularly wear  the Scapular.

Let us pray:

O most beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me you are my Mother. O Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart to succour me in this hour of need. There are none that can withstand your power. O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands. Amen.

While praying, keep in mind that  the prayer is but the external manifestation of  our deep commitment to  a Marian way of life. Without  this will and dedication  to  lead a life of contemplation, consecration becomes a futile exercise.  We are called to bear fruits; not to waste our time in futilities. May Our   Lady of  Mount  Carmel help us in this  journey to spiritual perfection.
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