SAINT NUNO ALVARES PEREIRA
Nuno was born in 1360 and fought for many years as a soldier for the independence of Portugal. After his wife’s death, he entered the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as a brother in the house he had founded in Lisbon and took the name of Nuno of Saint Mary (1423). He died there in 1431, after distinguishing himself by his prayer, penance, and filial devotion to the Mother of God.
From the common of holy men (religious)
Office of Readings
From the Exhortation on the Carmelite Rule by Blessed John Soreth
(Tex. 15, c. 6: ed. Paris 1625, pp. 195-97)
The helmet of hope and the sword of salvation
On your head set the helmet of salvation, and so be sure of deliverance by our only Savior, who sets his own free from their sins. The helmet of salvation is hope, which looks forward to eternal salvation; and it is called the helmet of salvation because, just as the helmet is the uppermost piece of a soldier’s armor, worn on the head, so hope is the uppermost of the virtues, always facing upwards and sighing for the joys of heaven. Of salvation means that hope obtains what it longs for: salvation; or rather, just as the shield of faith is faith itself, the helmet of salvation is salvation—Jesus Christ himself—for salvation is from the Lord, and we are to hope for salvation from our only Savior. The remembrance of, or longing for, his lasting salvation is the headpiece of our minds, which makes us safe against any blows the evil one can deal us.
But it is better to be armed for attack than for mere defense. This is why the Rule adds: The sword of the spirit, the word of God, must abound in your mouths and hearts; let whatever you do have the Lord’s word for accompaniment. The pieces of armor we have been considering, the breastplate of holiness, the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation, will keep you safe enough from ever giving into the devil or any of his minions; but there is another weapon which will enable you to subdue him completely with his whole horde and his works. This is the sword of the spirit, that spiritual blade, the word of God. There are four reasons why the word of God is called the sword of the spirit: first, it is made by the Holy Spirit, for it is not you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Second, it slays our spiritual foes as Isaiah says: With the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Third, it divides spirit from flesh as we find in the Letter to the Hebrews: The word of God is living and active, piercing to the division of soul and spirit. Fourth, it wounds and penetrates our innermost spiritual parts, which is why it is compared to sharp arrows in the Psalms: A warrior’s sharp arrows.
The temptations our enemy subjects us to may be cruel, but far more cruel to him is a text from the word of God. And if armor and weapons are not defense enough for us and we feel the need of rations, we need not think we have been left without supplies; God’s word is our provision. Though an army encamp against me and temptation lays siege, I will trust in the word of my God, the sword of the spirit, and it will bring me easy victory. Then I can wash my hands, knowing that he has prepared a table before me that I may not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, and in the strength of that food I shall run with our father Elijah to the mountain of God by way of his commandments. That is why the Rule adds: The word of God must abound in your mouths in preaching, and in your hearts in meditation. Just as our Order’s patroness the Blessed Virgin Mary kept all these words in her heart, so must they abound in your hearts by meditation, and in your mouths by instruction. It is by your Rule then brothers, and from the Order’s first institution that you are bidden to preach the word of God like our father Elijah whose word burned like a torch; after his example let the word of God abound in your mouths and hearts, and let all you do, whatever it may be, have the Lord’s word for accompaniment.
Romans 13:13, 14; Psalm 119:105
Cast aside the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light,
—the Lord Jesus Christ
Your word is a lamp for our feet, and a light on our path,
—the Lord Jesus Christ
CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH
Ant. The Lord is my inheritance; he is good to those who seek him
you called Saint Nuno Alvares Pereira
to put aside his sword and follow Christ
under the patronage of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Through his prayers may we too deny ourselves,
and devote ourselves to you with all our hearts.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
CANTICLE OF MARY
Ant. Our faith is the victorious power that overcomes the world