Quote of the day: 5 December

750th Anniversary

Scapular Catechesis

 

The following catechesis was prepared in the year 2000 under the direction of the North American prior provincials of the Carmelite Order and the Order of Discalced Carmelites as the Carmelite Family prepared to celebrate the 750th anniversary of the Brown Scapular. The draft was prepared by Father Sam Anthony Morello, O.C.D. and Father Patrick McMahon, O.Carm. and was then submitted to the Archdiocesan authorities in Washington, D.C. for the imprimatur of the then archbishop, Cardinal James Hickey. After several minor modifications, the Imprimatur was granted. The following is the revised and approved text. It was published as part of The Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Catechesis and Ritual. We share the preamble; the full text may be found here and here. The publication of the text for the 750th anniversary follows the 5 December 1994 decision in a joint meeting of the Discalced Carmelite General Definitory and the General Council of the Ancient Observance to prepare a new scapular catechesis that would become a common text for both orders. Today marks the 25th anniversary of that decision, which was significant in the life of the Carmelite family.

 


 

The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is best understood in the context of our Catholic faith. It offers us a rich spiritual tradition that honors Mary as the first and foremost of her Son’s disciples. This scapular is an outward sign of the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our sister, mother, and queen. It offers an effective symbol of Mary’s protection to the Order of Carmel its members, associates, and affiliates as they strive to fulfill their vocation as defined by the Carmelite Rule of Saint Albert: “to live in allegiance to Jesus Christ.”

While Christ alone has redeemed us, the Blessed Virgin Mary has always been seen by Catholics as a loving mother and protector. The Blessed Virgin has shown her patronage over the Order of Carmel from its earliest days. This patronage and protection came to be symbolized in the scapular, the essential part of the Carmelite habit.

Stories and legends abound in Carmelite tradition about the many ways in which the Mother of God has interceded for the Order, especially in critical moments of its history. Most enduring and popular of these traditions, blessed by the Church, concerns Mary’s promise to an early Carmelite, Saint Simon Stock, that anyone who remains faithful to the Carmelite vocation until death will be granted the grace of final perseverance. The Carmelite Order has been anxious to share this patronage and protection with those who are devoted to the Mother of God and so has extended both its habit (the scapular) and affiliation to the larger Church.

Private revelation can neither add to nor detract from the Church’s deposit of faith. Therefore, the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel echoes the promise of Divine Revelation: The one who holds out to the end is the one who will see salvation (Matthew 24:13), and Remain faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life (Revelation 2:10). The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a reminder to its wearers of the saving grace which Christ gained upon the cross for all: All you who have been baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves in him (Galatians 3:27). There is no salvation for anyone other than that won by Christ. The Sacraments mediate this saving grace to the faithful. The sacramentals, including the scapular, do not mediate this saving grace but prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

Sacramentals do not confer the grace of the Holy Spirit in the way that the sacraments do, but by the Church’s prayer they prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it. For well-disposed members of the faithful, the liturgy of the sacraments and sacramentals sanctifies almost every event of their lives with the divine grace which flows form the Paschal mystery of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ. From this source all sacraments and sacramentals draw their power. (CCC 1670)

We see, therefore, that the Church clearly teaches that all grace, including that of final perseverance, is won for us by the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Lord. Simply wearing the Brown Scapular does not confer that same result.

 

Scapular Vision Shrine Aylesford gbcarmelite Flickr 7141273775_ba0de9914c_o
Scapular vision shrine (detail) Aylesford Priory, England | gbcarmelite / Flickr

 

Quote of the day: 16 May

You, brother B., and whoever may succeed you as prior, must always keep in mind and put into practice what our Lord said in the Gospel: Whoever has a mind to become a leader among you must make himself servant to the rest, and whichever of you would be first must become your bondsman.

Saint Albert of Jerusalem
The Carmelite Rule, No. 22

7141273527_6981860987_o
Bas relief, Scapular Vision Shrine, Aylesford Priory, Kent | gbcarmelite / Flickr

16 May is the liturgical memorial of Saint Simon Stock, an Englishman who was an early prior general of the Carmelite order who, as far as we can ascertain from the earliest sources,  died about 1265 in Bordeaux, France. His relics are venerated at the Carmelite Priory in Aylesford (Kent), England. 

16 May: Saint Simon Stock

May 16
SAINT SIMON STOCK
Religious

Optional Memorial

Simon, an Englishman, died at Bordeaux in the mid-thirteenth century. He has been venerated in the Carmelite Order for his personal holiness and his devotion to Our Lady. A liturgical celebration in his honor was observed locally in the fifteenth century, and later extended to the whole Order.

From the Common of Holy Men (Religious)

OFFICE OF READINGS

The Second Reading

From the Flaming Arrow by Nicholas of France, Prior General
(Chapter 6)

I will lead her into the desert, and there I will speak to her heart

Was it not our Lord and Savior Who led us into the desert, as a mark of His favor, so that there He might speak to our hearts with special intimacy? It is not in public, not in the market place, not amid noise and bustle that He shows Himself to His friends for their consolation and reveals His secret mysteries to them, but behind closed doors.

To the solitude of the mountain did Abraham, unswerving in faith and discerning the issue from afar in hope, ascend at the Lord’s command, ready for obedience’s sake to sacrifice Isaac his son; under which mystery the passion of Christ–the true Isaac–lies hidden. To the solitude of the mountain was it too that Abraham’s nephew, Lot, was told to flee for his life in haste from Sodom.

In the solitude of Mount Sinai was the Law given to Moses, and there was he so clothed with light that when he came down from the mountain no one could look upon the brightness of his face.

In the solitude of Mary’s chamber, as she conversed with Gabriel, was the Word of the Father most high in very truth made flesh.

In the solitude of Mount Tabor it undoubtedly was, when it was His will to be transfigured, that God made man revealed His glory to His chosen intimates of the Old and New Testaments. To a mountain solitude did our Savior ascend alone in order to pray. In the solitude of the desert did He fast forty days and forty nights together, and there did He will to be tempted by the devil, so as to show us the most fitting place for prayer, penance, and victory over temptation.

Top the solitude of mountain or desert it was, then, that our Savior retired when He would pray; though we read that He came down from the mountain when He would preach to the people or manifest His works. He who planted our fathers in the solitude of the mountain thus gave Himself to them and their successors as a model, and desired them to write down His deeds, which are never empty of mystical meaning, as an example.

It was this rule of our Savior, as rule of utmost holiness, that some of our predecessors followed of old. They tarried long in the solitude of the desert conscious of their own imperfection. Sometimes however–though rarely–they came down from their desert, anxious, so as not to fail in what they regarded as their duty, to be of service to their neighbors, and sowed broadcast of the grain, threshed out in preaching, that they had so sweetly reaped in solitude with the sickle of contemplation.

Responsory

R/. O that I had wings like a dove, to fly away and be at rest;
so I would escape far away, and take refuge in the desert (alleluia).

V/. The world and its cravings pass away, but those who do God’s will stand firm for ever. So I would escape far away, and take refuge in the desert (alleluia).

MORNING PRAYER

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. The Lord is all that I have; the Lord is good to the soul that seeks Him (alleluia).

Prayer

Father,
You called St. Simon Stock to serve you
in the brotherhood of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
Through his prayers
help us like him to live in your presence
and to work for man’s salvation.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

EVENING PRAYER

Canticle of Mary

Ant. Where brethren are united in praising God, there the Lord will bestow His blessing (alleluia).

Simon-Stock_LOTH Ulrich
Maria überreicht dem Karmelit Simon Stock das Skapulier
Mary presents the scapular to the Carmelite Simon Stock
Ulrich Loth (German, 1559 – 1662)
Oil on canvas, 1630/35
Bavarian State Painting Collections – Alte Pinakothek Munich

 

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