16 Jul 2012

Our Lady of Mount Carmel



July 16th is the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early to mid 13th centuries. They built a chapel in the midst of their hermitages which they dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, whom they conceived of in chivalric terms as the "Lady of the place"


Since the 15th century, popular devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel has centered on the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel also known as the Brown Scapular, a sacramental associated with promises of Mary's special aid for the salvation of the devoted wearer. Traditionally, Mary is said to have given the Scapular to an early Carmelite named Saint Simon Stock. The liturgical feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is celebrated on 16 July.


A hymn associated with the feast is the Flos Carmeli (Flower of Carmel). Flos Carmeli was used by the Carmelites as the sequence for the Feast of St. Simon Stock, and, since 1663, for the Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel. It also appears in an ancient metrical office of Carmel as an antiphon and responsory. Its composition is ascribed to St. Simon Stock himself (ca 1165 - 1265).


FLOS Carmeli,
vitis florigera,
splendor caeli,
virgo puerpera
singularis.
FLOWER of Carmel,
Tall vine blossom laden;
Splendor of heaven,
Childbearing yet maiden.
None equals thee.
Mater mitis
sed viri nescia
Carmelitis
esto propitia
stella maris.
Mother so tender,
Who no man didst know,
On Carmel's children
Thy favors bestow.
Star of the Sea.
Radix Iesse
germinans flosculum
nos ad esse
tecum in saeculum
patiaris.
Strong stem of Jesse,
Who bore one bright flower,
Be ever near us
And guard us each hour,
who serve thee here.
Inter spinas
quae crescis lilium
serva puras
mentes fragilium
tutelaris.
Purest of lilies,
That flowers among thorns,
Bring help to the true heart
That in weakness turns
and trusts in thee.
Armatura
fortis pugnantium
furunt bella
tende praesidium
scapularis.
Strongest of armor,
We trust in thy might:
Under thy mantle,
Hard press'd in the fight,
we call to thee.
Per incerta
prudens consilium
per adversa
iuge solatium
largiaris.
Our way uncertain,
Surrounded by foes,
Unfailing counsel
You give to those
who turn to thee.
Mater dulcis
Carmeli domina,
plebem tuam
reple laetitia
qua bearis.
O gentle Mother
Who in Carmel reigns,
Share with your servants
That gladness you gained
and now enjoy.
Paradisi
clavis et ianua,
fac nos duci
quo, Mater, gloria
coronaris. Amen
Hail, Gate of Heaven,
With glory now crowned,
Bring us to safety
Where thy Son is found,
true joy to see.

The second reading from the Office of Readings today is from a beautiful sermon by St. Leo the Great, pope:


A royal virgin of the house of David is chosen. She is to bear a holy child, one who is both God and man. She is to conceive him in her soul before she conceives him in her body. In the face of so unheard of an event she is to know no fear through ignorance of the divine plan; the angel tells her what is to be accomplished in her by the Holy Spirit. She believes that there will be no loss of virginity, she who is soon to be the mother of God. Why should she lose heart at this new form of conceiving when she has been promised that it will be effected through the power of the Most High? She believes, and her faith is confirmed by the witness of a previous wonder: against all expectation Elizabeth is made fruitful. God has enabled a barren woman to be with child; he must be believed when he makes the same promise to a virgin.

The Son of God who was in the beginning with God, through whom all things were made, without whom nothing was made, became man to free him from eternal death. He stooped down to take up our lowliness without loss to his own glory. He remained what he was; he took up what he was not. He wanted to join the very nature of a servant to that nature in which he is equal to God the Father. He wanted to unite both natures in an alliance so wonderful that the glory of the greater would not annihilate the lesser, nor the taking up of the lower diminish the greatness of the higher.

What belongs to each nature is preserved intact and meets the other in one person: lowliness is taken up by greatness, weakness by power, mortality by eternity. To pay the debt of our human condition, a nature incapable of suffering is united to a nature capable of suffering, and true God and true man are forged into the unity that is the Lord. This was done to make possible the kind of remedy that fitted our human need: one and the same mediator between God and men able to die because of one nature, able to rise again because of the other. It was fitting, therefore, that the birth which brings salvation brought no corruption to virginal integrity; the bringing forth of Truth was at the same time the safeguarding of virginity.

Dearly beloved, this kind of birth was fitting for Christ, the power and the wisdom of God: a birth in which he was one with us in our human nature but far above us in his divinity. If he were not true God, he would not be able to bring us healing; if he were not true man, he would not be able to give us an example.

And so at the birth of our Lord, the angels sing in joy: Glory to God in the highest, and they proclaim peace to his people on earth as they see the heavenly Jerusalem being built from all the nations of the world. If the angels on high are so exultant at this marvelous work of God’s goodness, what joy should it not bring to the lowly hearts of men?

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