Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

A Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel

This picture of Our Lady of Mount Carmel above commemorates a famous event in Church history. She is shown here as she appeared in a vision to St. Simon Stock, General of the Carmelite Order on June 16, 1251 at Aylesford, England.

After giving St. Simon a scapular, she promised him and all the Carmelites that whoever died wearing that religious garment would be saved and would not suffer eternal fire. The prayer to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel below calls the scapular "thy venerable livery."

O all-blessed, Immaculate Virgin, ornament and glory of Mount Carmel, thou who dost look with most gracious contenance on thos who have been clothed with thy venerable livery, look kindly also on me and take me under the mantle of thy maternal protection. Strengthen my weakness with thy might; enlighten the darkness of my hear with thy wisdom; increase in me faith, hope and charity. So adorn my souls with graces and virtues that it may always be dear to thy divine Son and thee. Assist me during life, comfort me in death with thy most sweet presence, and present me as thy child and faithful servant to the most Holy Trinity, that I may be enabled to praise and extol thee in heaven forever. Amen   ( This prayer is followed by 3 Hail Mary's and the Glory Be)

The Carmelite order began in Mount Carmel in Palestine in the 12th century. It moved to Europe in response to persecution from Muslims in that region.  Although the Carmelites soon flourished in England and Europe, in part under St. Simon's leadership, the order still faced internal dissension as well as opposition from the secular clergy.

St. Simon prayerfully appealed to our Lady of Mt Carmel for help.  In response she gave him the scapular promise mentioned above and instructed him to seek papal assistance for the order.  Pope Innocent IV issued a letter of protection for the Carmelites from the Holy See in January 1252.

The Carmelites continued to spread their good work throughout such cities as Paris, Bologna, Cambridge and Oxford, building monasteries and teaching in universities.  The order has continued to thrive in devotion to our Lady and our Lord up to this present day.  Famous Carmelites include St Theresa of Avila, St Therese of Lisieux and St John of the Cross.

In 1322, Pope John XXII issued a document known as a Papal bull in which he included a promise from our Lady of Mount Carmel he received in an apparition to release worthy souls from purgatory on the Saturday after their death.  The church has since summed up what we now call the Sabbatine Privilege, based on this revelation. Those who follow these three conditions will be released from Purgatory by Our Lady's intercession soon after their death, especially on a Saturday. These are the conditions:

  1. Wear the brown scapular devoutly, once you've been enrolled in the Scapular Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel
  2. Observe chastity according to your state of life.
  3. Recite daily the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As this is a very long although quite beautiful prayer, with permission of a priest you can substitute either:   a) five decades of the rosary, b) abstinence from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays or, c) some other good work.

‚ÄčThis is not as formidable as it sounds! You are enrolled or "invested" once your scapular has been blessed and certain prayers have been said by a priest. (All priests have the authority to do this.) You do not need to have any further scapulars you may later wear blessed. It is also important to note here that once enrolled, you share in the daily prayers and other spiritual benefits of the Carmelite Order.  Our Lady's promises to St Simon and the Carmeltes can now apply to you as well.

The scapular is not to be worn as a substitute for leading a devout life of love and obedience to our Lord.  The piece of cloth is not to be used as a kind of divine rabbit's foot that will guarantee you Eternal Life no matter what you've done. If we abuse Our Lady of Mount Carmel's scapular promise, we cannot count on her protection.

In 1917 during the apparitions at Fatima, Our Lady appeared to Sister Lucia holding the brown scapular. According to the famous visionary, who herself became a Carmelite nun, Our Lady wished everyone to wear it "because it is a sign of consecration to her Immaculate Heart."  Thus, in wearing the brown scapular devoutly, in living in love and obedience to God, we join our hearts to Mary's and thus, to her divine Son's Sacred Heart as well.

 

O beautiful Flower of Carmel, most fruitful vine, Splendor of Heaven, holy and singular, who brought forth the Son of God, still ever remaining a Pure Virgin, assist me in this necessity. 

O Star of the Sea, help and protect me! Show me that thou art my Mother.

O Mary, Conceived without sin, Pray for us who have recourse to thee!

Mother and Ornament of Carmel, Pray for us! Virgin, Flower of Carmel, Pray for us!  Patroness of all who wear the Scapular, Pray for us!  Hope of all who die wearing the Scapular, Pray for us!  St. Joseph, Friend of the Sacred Heart, Pray for us!  St. Joseph, Chaste Spouse of Mary, Pray for us!  St. Joseph, Our Patron, Pray for us!  O sweet Heart of Mary, be my Salavation! 

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