And Elias, the prophet, stood up, as a fire, and his word burnt like a torch (Ecclesiasticus. 48.1, DRV)

Friday, July 8, 2011

First Day of Novena to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel


Considerations: the Scapular Vision of July 16, 1251

Two thousand, one hundred and ten years after the contest on Mt. Carmel, we see another king expectantly climbing up the Mount. He is not clothed in a toga-like robe but in glistening armor with a large Cross blazoned upon his shield and upon his breastplate. This king is the holy Louis IX of France who will become a canonized saint. He is interested in some most holy men who, he has been informed, dwell in the grottoes of the Mount and who call themselves “Hermits of Saint Mary of Mount Carmel.” Due to the gains of the infidels into Palestine these men are being forced to emigrate to Europe, since their sanctity is a byword, St. Louis want some of them for France.

Some thirty years before Saint Louis came to Mount Carmel to persuade six of the hermits to return with him to France, two English crusaders took a few of the hermits to England. A strange but holy man joined them there in whom they could not help but recognize a great likeness to the fiery pro­phet whom they ever emulated. He took the name "Simon"; his surname, "Stock," was symbolic of the life he had led prior to their coming: he had been dwelling alone in the vastnesses of an English forest in a tree-trunk hollow even as Elias had dwelt in Carmel's natural caves. Our Lady, in a personal apparition, had told him that Her devotees were coming from Palestine and that he should join their society.

The persecutions, which now were a tremendous force in Palestine and the reason for Saint Louis' presence there, caused so many of the 'Carmelites' to move West that a Vicar General had to be ap­pointed there. Simon Stock received this honor. He found himself at the helm of Mary's bark, in more than usually troubled waters. By the time he was made General of the entire Order, six years later (1245), it became apparent that nothing less than heroic faith was required to pilot the sea fearlessly. Adapting the heretofore contemplative Order to a mixed life, in a seeming awareness that a marked change was about to take place in the body of Mary's special sons, the saint sent the younger men to the Universities. He thereby alarmed the old men who had led lives of utter solitude on Carmel. How­ever, he recognized that they had been providentially forced from Carmel and, guided by Mary, he braved the ugly dissension that his policy evoked.

But this inward cancer was not the only affliction. Outside the Order, the whole secular clergy was rais­ing a din at the sight of another group joining the ranks of the odious mendicant friars [that is, the Franciscan Friars and the Friars Preachers or the Dominicans]; not only did they persecute the men from Carmel everywhere, but they carried their cries to Rome, demanding the suppression of these "newcomers." Moreover, strange as it may seem, the barred-cloak, which these Pales­tinians wore, seemed violently to irritate Western sen­sibilities. Saint Simon thought to change it because the unpopularity of the Elian garb [the cloak of the friars patterned after the cloak of the Prophet Elias] was hindering the growth of his family of Mary; he refrained in deference to the views of the older members who naturally loved their ancient cloak, reminiscent of Elian traditions.

For the first five years of his generalship, the opposition from within and without grew daily stronger. Hence, in the year of 1251 we find Simon retiring to the Cambridge monastery, weighed down by his ninety years and a trial well beyond the strength of even a far younger man. He seems to be seeking the solitude of his cell even as he had been wont to retire to his tree-trunk, in his youth, to pray. Probably he is thinking to himself, as Saint Teresa of Avila said later, "Can the hand of God be shorter for the Order of His Mother than for other Orders?"' And it is not merely a question of remov­ing obstacles that confronts the Saint now; it is a question of preserving the Order's very life.

This sickness of the Order that was "fomented by Satan," as a contemporary of St. Simon describes, may put one in mind of a certain "Little Flower's" childhood sickness. Carmel is Mary's Flower, She its blossoming vine; now the Flower droops her head. Let us apply the words of our dearest Little Therese:

"It was an illness in which Satan assuredly had a hand . . . He wished in his jealousy to avenge him­self on me for the grave mischief my family was to do him in the future . . . He little knew, however, that the Queen of Heaven was keeping a faithful and affectionate watch from above on Her Little Flower, and was making ready to still the tempest just as the frail and delicate stem was on the point of breaking" (“Story of a Soul,” Ch. 3).

Yes, the Order of Carmel, Mary's Flower, sinks and droops her head ; dissension and persecution, fomented by Satan who hates Mary and Her seed, are the raging sicknesses that stretch her upon a bed of death. Since the worst suffering takes place in the head of a body, the aged General and Saint is the most cruelly weighed upon by the multiple afflictions that beset his Order of Mary. Kneeling in his tiny cell, he pours forth his soul with deep and longing sighs in what has been often called "after the Hail Mary, the most beautiful of all Marian prayers":

Flos Carmeli Flower of Carmel
Vitis florigera Vine blossom-laden
Splendor Coeli Splendor of Heaven
Virgo puerpera Child-bearing Virgin
Singularis! None equals thee

Mater mitis Mother benign
Sed viri nescia Who no man didst know
Carmelitis On Carmel’s children
Da privilegia Thy favors bestow
Stella Maris! Star of the Sea

As the Saint lifts his tear-dimmed eyes, the cell is suddenly flooded with a great light. Surrounded by a great concourse of angels, the Queen of Heaven is descending towards him, holding forth the Brown Scapular of the friars and saying:


The purpose, the raison d'ĂȘtre, of that long estab­lished and special "family of Mary" stands revealed.

After the Vision, an almost miraculous change took place in the “Order of the Blessed Virgin” (Our Lord in a colloquy with St. Teresa of Jesus, reformer of Carmel and foundress of the Discalced Carmelites). The Pope not only approved the Order but commanded that Ecclesias­tical censures be used against anyone who further molested its members.

This utter reversal of attitude toward the Order is eloquent. In 1252, King Henry III issued letters of royal protection to the newly transplanted Order;  the Sovereign Pontiff issued letters to all the Arch­bishops and Bishops whom his letters should reach, exhorting them to treat with more charity and con­sideration his beloved brothers, the “Hermits of Saint Mary of Mount Carmel” ; they were to receive grants of land and suitable monasteries and Ecclesiastical censures were to be used against those who would persist in molesting them in future.

Victory? Yes, by the Scapular the Woman (Gen 3.15; Apoc 12.1) renders Satan impotent against us!

“In the same way that Our Lord Jesus Christ wished that something visible would reveal in the Sacraments the invisible effects of His Grace, so also has Our Immaculate Mother of Carmel wished that the more particular protection which She accords to all those who serve Her with fidelity would be marked by an exterior sign, the Scapular” (Rev. Fr. Laselve, O.F.M.).

"0 Mary, who from that hour (that the Prophet Elias beheld the foot-shaped cloud over Carmel) didst preside over the watches of God's army, without ever failing for a single day: now that the Lord has truly come through Thee, it is no longer the land of Judea alone, but the whole earth that Thou coverest as a cloud, shedding down blessings in abundance. Thine ancient clients —the sons of the prophets—experienced this when, the land of promise becoming unfaithful, they were forced to transplant their customs and traditions to other climes; they found that even into our far West the Cloud of Carmel had poured its fertilizing dew, and that nowhere would its protection be wanting to them ... Since their tents have been pitched around the hills where the new Sion is built upon Peter, the cloud has shed all around showers of blessings more precious than ever, driving back into the abyss the flames of Hell . . ." – Dom Gueranger, O.S.B.

Opening Prayer

Come, Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy  faithful, and
kindle in them the fire of Thine love. Send forth Thy
Spirit, and they shall be created; and Thou shall renew the
face of the earth.

O God, you instructed the hearts of the faithful by the
light of the Holy Spirit. Grant us by the same Spirit to be
truly wise and ever to rejoice in His consolation, through
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

First Day

Novena Prayer
“Flos Carmeli” by St. Simon Stock

Flos Carmeli Flower of Carmel
Vitis florigera Vine blossom-laden
Splendor Coeli Splendor of Heaven
Virgo puerpera Child-bearing Virgin
Singularis! None equals thee

Mater mitis Mother benign
Sed viri nescia Who no man didst know
Carmelitis On Carmel’s children
Da privilegia Thy favors bestow
Stella Maris! Star of the Sea

(Mention your petitions here.)

Concluding Prayers

O Star of the Sea, help and protect us!
Show us that you are our Mother!

Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity.
There are none that can withstand Your power.
Sweet Mother, I place this cause into you hands.
O Mary, conceived without original sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
O Mary, conceived without original sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
O Mary, conceived without original sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Our Father..., Hail Mary..., Glory be...

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us.

The Litany of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ hear us.
Christ graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world...
God the Holy Ghost...
Holy Trinity, One God...

Holy Mary, pray for us sinners.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Queen of heaven...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Vanquisher of Satan...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Most Dutiful Daughter...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Most Pure Virgin...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Most Devoted Spouse...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Most Tender Mother...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Perfect Model of Virtue...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Sure Anchor of Hope...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Refuge in affliction...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Dispensatrix of God's gifts...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Tower of strength against our foes...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our aid in danger...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Road leading to Jesus...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our light in darkness...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our consolation at the hour of death...
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Advocate of the most abandoned sinners...

For those hardened in vice,
with confidence we come to thee O Lady of Mount Carmel.
For those who grieve thy Son...
For those who neglect to pray...
For those who are in their agony...
For those who delay their conversion...
For those suffering in Purgatory...
For those who know thee not...

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Hope of the Despairing
Intercede for us with thy Divine Son.

(Let Us Pray)

O God, who has honored the Order of Carmel with the
special title of thy Blessed Mother Mary, ever Virgin,
grant in thy mercy that we who keep her memory this day
may be shielded by her protection and be found worthy
to attain unto joy eternal. Who livest and reignest with
God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God,
world without end. Amen.

Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ
and our Mother, penetrated with the most lively
confidence in your all-powerful and never failing
intercession, manifested so often through the Scapular, we
your loving and trustful children implore you to obtain
for us the graces and favors we ask during this Novena, if
they be beneficial to our immortal soul, and the souls
which we pray.

You know, O Most Blessed Virgin Mary, our Immaculate Mother
and Queen of Carmel, how often our souls have been the
sanctuaries of your Son Who disdains iniquity. Obtain for
us then a deep hatred of sin and that purity of heart which
will attach us to God alone so that our every thought,
word, and deed, may tend to his greater glory.

Obtain for us also a spirit of prayer and self-denial that we
may recover by penance what we have lost by sin and at
length attain to that blessed abode where you are Queen of
angels and of people. Amen.

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Salvation is in the "Blood of the Lamb"

Apocalypse XIV now unfolding (cf., our posts "The Wine of the Wrath of God" and "After Pope Benedict XVI, the 'Last' Roman Pontiff?"). The divine chastisement of world-wide conflagration (Lk. 17.29-30, cf., our post "Our Lady, Vatican II Disorientation, and the Annihilation of Many Nations") to annihilate the 'super-power' and cities and nations drunk with the wine of its immodesty, impurity, fornication, homosexuality, and blasphemies (Apoc. 14.8) is imminent - the close of our end-times period (distinct from the consummation of the world, Mt. 28.20).

They... have made them white in the Blood of the Lamb
(Apoc. 7.14) ... All things... are cleansed with Blood: and without shedding of Blood there is no remission (Heb. 9.22).

The Blood of the [Divine] Lamb can be availed of in the traditional Rite of the Sacrament of Penance (cf., our post "On Concealing Sins in Confession") and of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist (the Traditional Latin Mass). Go to our traditional Catholic Mass Centers (links on the left-side bar of this site). Flee to the mountains... (Mt. 24.16).

See also the Messages and Appeals (on the upper right-side bar) of the Apocalyptic Woman in her title of Our Lady of Fatima.