I was tasked with developing a sermon to educate people on Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. The task itself seems as large as Mt. Carmel itself. I will start at the beginning. Mount Carmel is a mountain line in Galilee between Tyre and Caesarea, which places it close to (about 20 miles from) Nazareth. That by itself gives you a clue as to its importance; it’s near the place where our Lord was raised. This mountain has been a holy place for longer than I can say, even in the old testament Elijah proves his faith in God on this mountain, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today” (I Kings 18:15). For some time the Carmelite order existed as an order that followed the teachings of Elijah and they weren’t called Carmelites. They lived a monastic life of prayer, penance and evangelization. However in 1215 Pope Innocent III decreed there were to be no new religious orders in the church and being that the Carmelite order wasn’t officially founded it made things confusing. Pope Honorius III followed Pope Innocent III and was to suppress the order that was growing around Mount Carmel. He was going to do so when he received a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary who told him to take the Order of Carmel under his special protection, to honor and favor “her Order” and to confirm their rule. He then decreed on January 30, 1226 the approval of “The rule of Hermits of Mount Carmel”. There was a lot of trouble in the order in its early years simply because of the location it was in and so it moved but trouble seemed to follow it. In 1251 St. Simon Stock whom was the Prior General (head of the order) at that time prayed fervently to Our Lady Mother for help “flower of Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, Mother of the Son of God.
Amiable Mother, ever Virgin, give to the children of Carmel the privilege of thy protection, star of the sea.” A mother never ignores her children’s pleas for help, neither did she. At the end of this prayer she appeared to him holding the Brown Scapular in her hands and said to him “This will be the sign of the privilege that I have obtained for thee and for the children of Carmel; whoever dies clothed with this habit will be preserved from the eternal flames”. She had him send a deputation to the Holy Father (Pope Innocent IV) and said he wouldn’t fail to assist the order. Her constant protection of this order is what gave her the title “Our Lady of Mt. Carmel”. She asks for our devotion to her Immaculate Heart and teaches us how to conform out lives to total devotion to God.
I recently had a baby and he has learned to scoot where he wants to go. He goes all over the living room getting stuck and crying for help and I always get up, and help him get back to where he needs to be. My older son is 6 and I am constantly reminding him to pray, teaching him right from wrong, forgiving him for the bad things he does, worrying about him and protecting him even from himself.
The Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, is our Mother, forever teaching, guiding, and stepping in when we need the extra help. The feast of Mt. Carmel is a celebration of all that our mother, The Blessed Virgin Mary, does for us and for all of her children.
O God, you have given us Mary as our Mother
and through the Order of Carmel
we learn to call her sister.
May we imitate her goodness and faith,
and be ever joyful in the wonderful things
you have done for us.
May Mary watch over and protect us
on our pilgrim way to your holy mountain,
Christ the Lord.
We make our prayer through the same Christ,
our Lord. Amen.