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: 21 July

Over time, few devotions have been so extensively promoted as the devotion to the Holy Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

It is so intimately connected with the life of the Catholic, that it provokes more attention when particular Catholics do not practice it, than when it is visibly part of their life.

In 1595, however, Mag. Joseph Falcone published a work on the history of the Order, in which as a contemporary he declared that this devotion blossomed, especially in Spain, and that there was no house where people did not wear the garment of Carmel, indeed, through the common wearing of that garment, the whole of Spain and Portugal could be said to be one great cloister of Carmelites.

For a long time, people believed that when it came to the Netherlands, any indication that the Scapular was also worn here was missed.

Admittedly, not many traces of this devotion have remained but, all the same, they do tell us that the Netherlands did not trail behind other countries.

We possess a poem by a layperson, from the end of the fifteenth-century, which sings the praises of the Scapular.

The translation of this text reads as follows:

We see the Carmelites clothed with Scapulars who—from the hands of the Holy Simon Stock when he, as a foretaste of the reward for his devotion to the Holy Virgin Mary, having been graced to contemplate her, Mary, with this garment in her virginal hands—have accepted the cited Scapular with incredible zeal as their garment.

We can say frankly that in our country all priests could be said to be promoters of this beautiful devotion and, thanks to the piety of their priests, nearly all Catholics in the Netherlands have received the garment of the Lady of Mount Carmel. What Falcone said of Spain at the end of the 16th century may surely be said of the Netherlands today: There is no house where, to be blessed with the countless indulgences and privileges of the Carmelite Order, one does not wear the garment of Carmel.

Blessed Titus Brandsma
Promoting the Holy Scapular in the Netherlands (excerpts)

 

NDMC Simon Stock Baitenhausen_Kirche_Prozessionsfahne
The Blessed Virgin Mary appears to St. Simon Stock
Processional banner, early 18th c. attributed to A. Bastian
Pilgrimage Church Maria zum Berge Carmel
Baitenhausen, Meersburg, Bodenseekreis, Germany
Andreas Praefcke/Wikimedia Commons

 

English translation of fragments of ‘De verspreiding van het H. Scapulier in Nederland’
by Susan Verkerk-Wheatley / Anne-Marie Bos
Translation: Susan Verkerk-Wheatley / Anne-Marie Bos  © Titus Brandsma Instituut 2019

 

 

Marie du jour: 16 May

FLOS CARMELI

Sequence Hymn for the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 16 July


FLOS Carmeli,
vitis florigera,
splendor caeli,
virgo puerpera
singularis.

Mater mitis
sed viri nescia
Carmelitis
esto propitia
stella maris.

Radix Iesse
germinans flosculum
nos ad esse
tecum in saeculum
patiaris.

Inter spinas
quae crescis lilium
serva puras
mentes fragilium
tutelaris.

Armatura
fortis pugnantium
furunt bella
tende praesidium
scapularis.

Per incerta
prudens consilium
per adversa
iuge solatium
largiaris.

Mater dulcis
Carmeli domina,
plebem tuam
reple laetitia
qua bearis.

Paradisi
clavis et ianua,
fac nos duci
quo, Mater, gloria
coronaris. Amen.

Composition of the Flos Carmeli sequence hymn is attributed to Saint Simon Stock, the Carmelite prior general, whose feast day is observed on 16 May.

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

 

Quote of the day: 3 March

It behooveth thee to grant a favor and confirmation to my holy and devout Order of Carmel

For centuries the faithful who held a pious devotion to the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel believed in an apparition of the Blessed Virgin to Pope John XXII in Avignon. Based on that supposed apparition, the sovereign pontiff issued a Papal Bull, Sacratissimo uti culmine, dated 3 March 1322 from Avignon; it is in the text of the Bull that the pope mentions the apparition. The historical difficulty with this document lies in the fact that the Bull is mentioned nowhere prior to 1752, according to Joseph Hilgers.

A modern-day spiritual descendant of St. Simon Stock, former Carmelite prior general Father Joseph Chalmers, O.Carm. writes, “In any case, the symbolism of the scapular as a sign of consecration to Mary, the Mother of Carmel, was and remains very important.” Citing the Carmelite friar, Mathias of St. John, Father Chalmers adds one important qualifier: “It would be far better to have holiness under a worldly habit than a worldly heart under a holy habit.” He concludes, “wearing the scapular is intended to be an outward reminder of what should be going on within.”

The recently deceased Discalced Carmelite scholar Father Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. discusses the historical problems head-on in his article, Brown Scapular: a Silent Devotion. He reviews the scapular as the habit of the Carmelites from their humble beginnings in the Holy Land to their spread through western Europe. In particular, Father Kieran describes the painstaking research undertaken by the Discalced Carmelites in defense of Carmelite Marian devotion following the Second Vatican Council, and how their careful documentation led to the restoration of the feast day of Saint Simon Stock to the Church’s liturgical calendar in 1979 (God reward you, Father Nilo).

But more important, Father Kieran explains with great precision where the Church stands today in regard to the Brown Scapular devotion: “No mention is made of the vision of St. Simon Stock or of that of Pope John XXII in relation to the Sabbatine privilege, which promises that one will be released from Purgatory on the first Saturday after death.”

Fr. Kavanaugh continues: “Nonetheless, the Carmelites have also been authorized to freely preach to the faithful that they can piously believe in the powerful intercession, merits, and suffrages of the Blessed Virgin, that she will help them even after their death, especially on Saturday, which is the day of the week particularly dedicated to Mary, if they have died in the grace of God and devoutly worn the scapular. But no mention is made of the “first” Saturday after their death.”

One particular reflection that this great Discalced Carmelite scholar offers is rather consoling: “If some day an historian were to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that there are no grounds to the Marian apparition to St. Simon Stock or the scapular promise, the scapular devotion would still maintain its value. The Church’s esteem of it as a sacramental, her appreciation of its meaning and of the good that has come about through its pious use on the part of the faithful is all that is needed.” Thank you, Father Kieran.

Perhaps Saint John Paul II summarized the Church’s teaching and the Carmelite scapular catechesis best in his 2001 Message to the Carmelite Family. The saint wrote, “the scapular is essentially a habit.”

For our readers who are history buffs, we have researched the Bull Sacratissimo uti culmine and found the text in Satolli’s Dictionnaire de Droit Canonique, which we present to you sans scrupule. An English translation is found here.

JohnPaul2 Scapular Relic
Brown Scapular worn by Saint John Paul II, a gift to the Discalced Carmelite parish in Wadowice, Poland | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelite Order

SACRATISSIMO UTI CULMINE

JOANNES EPISCOPUS SERVUS SERVORUM DEI,
Universis et singulis Christifidelibus, tam praesentibus quam futuris, praesentes literas inspecturis, salutem et apostolicam benedictionem.

Sacratissimo uti culmine Paradisi angelorum tam suavis et dulcis reperitur melodia, modulamine visionis, dum paterno Jesus Numini circumspicitur adumatus, dicendo: Domine, Ego et Pater unum sumus, et qui videt me, videt et Patrem meum, et angelorum chorus non desinit dicere: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus; ita Synodus non cessat laudes effundere celsæ Virgini, dicendo Virgo, Virgo, Virgo, sis speculum nostrum pariter et exemplum. Quoniam munere munitur gratiarum, sicut sancta cantat Ecclesia: Gratia plena et Mater misericordiae. Sic ille mons reputatur de Carmelo Ordine cantibus extollendo, et hanc gratiarum Genitricem commendando et dicendo: Salve Regina, Mater misericordiæ et spes nostra.

Sic mihi flexis genibus supplicanti Virgo visa fuit Carmelita, sequentem effata sermonem: 0 Joannes, o Joannes, vicarie mei dilecti Filii, veluti a tuo te eripiam adversario, te Papam facio solemni dono Vicarium, meis coadjuvantibus supplicationibus, a dulcissimo meo Filio petens, quod gratiose obtinui, ita gratiam et amplam meo sancto ac devoto Carmelitarum Ordini confirmationem debeas praeconcedere, per Eliam et Eliseum in Monte Carmeli inchoato. Quod unusquisque professionem faciens, Regulam a meo servo Alberto, patriarcha, ordinatam observabit et inviolatam obtinebit, et per meum dilectum filium Innocentium approbatam, ut veri mei Filii Vicarius debeas in terris assentire, quod in cœlis meus statuit et ordinavit Filius; quod qui in sancta perseverabit obedientia, paupertate et castitate, vel qui sanctum intrabit Ordinem, salvabitur; et si alii, devotionis causa, in sanctam ingrediantur Religionem, sancti Habitus signum ferentes, appellantes se Confratres et Consorores mei Ordinis prænominati, liberentur et absolvantur a tertia eorum peccatorum portione, a die quo præfatum Ordinem intrabunt, castitatem, si vidua est, promittendo; virginitatis, si est virgo, fidem præstando; si est conjugata, inviolati conservationem matrimonii adhibendo, ut sancta mater imperat Ecclesia. Fratres proféssi dicti Ordinis supplicio solvantur et culpa, et die quo ab isto se culo recedunt, properato gradu accelerant purgatorium, ego Mater gratiose descendam sabbato post eorum obitum, et quot inveniam in purgatorio liberabo, et eos in Montem sanctum vitæ æternæ reducam. Verum quod ipsi Confratres et Consorores te neantur Horas dicere Canonicales, ut opus fuerit, secundum Regulam datam ab Alberto; illi, qui ignari sunt, debeant vitam jejunam ducere diebus quos sacra jubet Ecclesia, nisi, necessitatis causa, alicui essent traditi impedimento ; mercurio ac sabbato debeant se a carnibus abstinere, præterquam in mei Filii Nativitate. Et hoc dicto, evanuit ista sancta visio.

Istam ergo sanctam Indulgentiam accepto, roboro et in terris confirmo, sicut, propter merita Virginis Matris, gratiose Jesus-Christus concessit in coelis. Nulli ergo omnino hominum liceat hanc paginam nostræ Indulgentiæ, seu statuti, et ordinationis irritare, vel ei ausu temerario contraire. Si quis autem hoc attentare præsumpserit, indignationem Omnipotentis Dei, et Beatorum apostolorum Petri et Pauli se noverit incursurum.

Datum Avenione, tertia die Martii, Pontificatus nostri anno sexto

Templo San Marcos,Aguascalientes,Estado de Aguascalientes,México
Plaque in St. Mark Church, Aguascalientes bearing the essence of the Virgin’s message to Pope John XXII concerning the Sabbatine Privilege | Catedrales e Iglesias/Flickr (Creative Commons)

 

Hail, Gate of Heaven,
With glory now crowned,
Bring us to safety
Where thy Son is found,
true joy to see.

NDMC-Simon-Stock_statue

Mother so tender,
Who no man didst know,
On Carmel’s children
Thy favors bestow.
Star of the Sea.

NDMC_etching-Antwerp

The Marie du jour – May 16

We give thanks that our dear Lady has clothed us with the “garment of salvation.”
Saint Edith Stein
NDMC_etching-Antwerp
Onze Lieve Vrouw van de berg Karmel
Theodoor Galle (Flemish, 1571 – 1633)
Engraving on paper, 1593-1633
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Learn more

 

The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts
(The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Book 4, p. 3)
Edited by L. Gelber and Michael Linssen; translated by Waltraut Stein
ICS Publications, © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

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