Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Date: 
July 16, 2015
July 16, 2016
July 16, 2017
July 16, 2018
July 16, 2019
OCD commemoration: 
Solemnity
Classification: 
Patroness of the Order

The solemnity is observed even when July 16 falls on a Sunday.

The sacred scriptures speak of the beauty of Mount Carmel where the prophet Elijah defended the faith of Israel in the living God. There, at the beginning of the thirteenth century, under the title of Saint Mary of Mount Carmel, the Order of Carmelites had its formal beginning. From the fourteenth century this title, recalling the countless blessings of its patroness, began to be celebrated solemnly, first in England and then gradually throughout the whole Order. It attained its supreme place from the beginning of the seventeenth century, when the General Chapter declared it to be the principal feast of the Order, and Paul V recognized it as the feast of the Scapular Confraternity.

From the first book of Kings 18:36-39; 41-45a

"Elijah prayed on the summit of Carmel, and heaven granted rain. At the time for offering sacrifice, the prophet Elijah came forward and said, “Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things by your command. Answer me, Lord! Answer me, that this people may know that you, Lord, are God and that you have brought them back to their senses.” The Lord’s fire came down and consumed the holocaust, wood, stones, and dust, and it lapped up the water in the trench. Seeing this, all the people fell prostrate and said, “The Lord is God! The Lord is God!”

Elijah then said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” So Ahab went up to eat and drink, while Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, crouched down to the earth, and put his head between his knees. “Climb up and look out to sea,” he directed his servant, who went up and looked, but reported, “There is nothing.” Seven times he said, “Go, look again!” And the seventh time the youth reported, “There is a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising from the sea.” Elijah said, “Go and say to Ahab, ‘Harness up and leave the mountain before the rain stops you.’” In a trice, the sky grew dark with clouds and wind, and a heavy rain fell."

From the Mystical Instructions by Michael of Saint Augustine
(L. 1, tr. 1, C. 18: ed. Antwerp 1671, pp. 31-32)

 

Through Mary to Jesus

"It is my duty, I feel, to recommend to everyone this outstandingly effective means of leading a devout life in Christ: heartfelt devotion, filial love and the tenderest affection toward Mary, the most lovable of mothers. We hail her—do we not?—as Mother of Grace and Mother of Mercy. But both grace and mercy are indispensable if we wish to live devoutly; and who has a better claim to receive our appeals for grace and mercy than the Mother of Grace and Mother of Mercy?

For this reason I say with Hebrews: Let us go with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy, and receive the timely help of grace. But if we are to go with confidence to this throne, this Mother of Grace, we must first be worthy of her love. We proudly proclaim ourselves her slaves, her sons and daughters and her
brothers and sisters: let us make sure that our lives substantiate this claim by being in conformity with what we profess. We must try to resemble as closely as possible our most holy Lady, our lovable mother, and our gracious sister, by imitating her perfections and making her excellence our own. If indeed you love her as a mother, imitate her humility, her chastity, her poverty and her obedience; imitate her love of God, her love of neighbor, and all her other virtues.

How can you show her adequate love and honor? Each day, after offering yourself and all you have to the most holy Trinity according to Christ’s intentions and in union with his merits, make a practice of offering yourself especially, and all you have, to this your most lovable mother; and as you do all you have to do in the word of the Lord, do it also in the word—in the name—of Mary.

Commit yourself to her completely. Have recourse to her as the best of teachers; consult her as the most prudent of virgins; in a word, conduct yourself as befits a good child, and you will learn by experience that she is the mother of fair love and holy hope, in whom you may expect to receive every grace of life and truth, and in whom every hope of life and virtue will shine before you; nor will she ever cease to obtain for you the graces you need to persevere in true devotion. Indeed you will find her a well of living water. At the hour of your death she will not refuse to say she is your sister, indeed your mother, so that then more than ever it may be well with you, and your soul may live by virtue of hergrace. If you lead a devout life in her honor and service you will surely deserve to breathe your last confidently, peacefully and devoutly in her love, and be joyfully borne to the haven of salvation in her maternal arms; for to those who love Mary it will go well at the last."

Carmelite Prayer: 
Lord God, you willed that the Order of Carmel should be named in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of your Son. Through her prayers, as we honor her today, bring us to your holy Mountain, Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.