May 28th.–Instruction 28. Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
May 28th.–Instruction 28. Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation.”–Isaias Ixi. 10.
These are certainly the words which are most suitable to address to the pious associates of Mount Carmel. They well express the sentiments of joy and happiness which rightfully belong to those who are members of the oldest and holiest confraternity authorized by the Church. Membership in this society is unquestionably a very great privilege, since to be clothed with the habit of Carmel is really to wear the garment of sanctification and salvation. Yes, associates of Mount Carmel, the blessed scapular in which you are enrolled is a special pledge of the love and protection of Mary. You can repeat with truth the words of the prophet: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, for I have received the garment of salvation.”
To-day I wish to make you understand how legitimate is the joy which fills your heart. On the part of the Blessed Virgin the holy scapular is a mark of distinction, a pledge of countless graces, a sign of predestination and salvation. On your part you must respect this noble livery and cause it to be respected by others. You must strive to merit the graces of which the scapular is the pledge and to co-operate in the work of your own sanctification. The subject of our reflections will be what the Blessed Virgin has done for the associates of Mount Carmel and what they in return should do for her.
1. What Mary has done for the members of Mount Carmel.–The holy scapular is for those who are enrolled in it a mark of honor, a splendid livery, which distinguishes them from the rest of the faithful. As Christians, followers of Christ, we are all unquestionably children of Mary. Yet because the charity which marked the first Christians has grown cold, because faith and piety have lost their splendor in the eyes of men, Mary has wished to choose for herself privileged servants, who will propagate devotion to her on earth, and by their good example will revive the virtue of the first ages. To distinguish these children of predilection she gives them these sacred insignia which we call the scapular. It is the livery of the queen of heaven and earth, the sovereign of angels and men. It is, if I dare to say it, the uniform of soldiers who profess to fight under the standards of the Mother of the King of kings and the God of armies. To wear the scapular is a constant testimony of love and devotion to Mary. The Blessed Virgin regards the children of Carmel as Jacob regarded his cherished son Joseph. He gave to him a garment of precious material and of different colors, to distinguish him from his brothers. The greatest monarchs have worn this mark of protection and love for the Blessed Virgin. Edward I. of England, St. Louis, King of France, deemed it an honor to add to their titles the still more glorious title of associates of Mount Carmel and children of Mary. The scapular is, moreover, the pledge of the most signal favors. The words of the Blessed Virgin, spoken to St. Simon Stock, assure us of this.
She said: “Receive, my dear son, this scapular of your order. It is a mark of the privilege which I have obtained for you and for all the children of Carmel; he who will die wearing this habit will be preserved from eternal fire. It is a sign of salvation, a safeguard in danger, a pledge of peace and of special protection.” These words of the Blessed Virgin have been ratified by the sovereign pontiffs, who have enriched the confraternity of Carmel with many plenary and partial indulgences.
What greater or more precious grace can be given us than the full, the entire remission of our sins? Another favor granted us is the participation in all the good works and merits of the members of Mount Carmel.
The scapular is, in fine, a mark of salvation because it is an authentic proof of devotion toward Mary, who will never permit one of her servants to perish. Moreover, this good Mother has promised to those who will have the happiness to die wearing the holy scapular that they shall be preserved from the flames of hell. In testimony to the truth of this promise we have the authority of one of the greatest saints, also of several illustrious popes: John XXII., Benedict XIV., etc.
2. What the members of Mount Carmel must do in return.–We must wear the scapular worthily and respectfully, since it is a garment of honor. It is not by the insignia which we carry about us that we shall be recognized as members of Mount Carmel, but rather by our piety and the regularity of our conduct. We must everywhere and always respect Mary’s name and her glorious livery with which we are clothed. What should we say of a man of noble birth if we should see him shamefully mingle in the orgies of a vile populace and cast himself into the midst of the vicious? We should say he had lost all sentiment of dignity and honor. If the servant should sympathize with his master’s enemies, would he not be justly called a perfidious traitor? If a soldier should allow his flag to be dishonored and his uniform to be insulted, would he not merit the execration of his general and his king? Well, such must be our estimate of the Christian who would not blush to profane his scapular by associating with bad companions, frequenting scandalous societies, and leading a life unworthy of faith and reason. As associates of Mount Carmel we also owe to the Blessed Virgin a generous correspondence to grace. The august Mother of God employs her omnipotence of supplication and intercession to fill our souls with all the gifts of heaven. Our duty, then, is to neglect nothing which will obtain for us these spiritual riches. Nor can we forget that the best manner of corresponding to the goodness and generosity of our Lady of Mount Carmel is to imitate her example, or, in other words, to prove our love by acts. And since the scapular is a pledge of predestination, we should show ourselves worthy of this grace by wearing it always and with faith, piety, and confidence. Under the protection of the Mother of God, strive with zeal and perseverance to accomplish the work of your salvation. And when the last hour will come this holy vestment will be for you the pledge of eternal felicity.
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
Of the Doctrine of Truth.
V. Oh! if men would use as much diligence in rooting out vices and planting virtues, as they do in proposing questions, there would not be so great evils committed, nor scandals among the people, nor so much relaxation in monasteries.
Verily, when the day of judgment comes, we shall not be examined what we have read, but what we have done: nor how learnedly we have spoken, but how religiously we have lived.
Tell me now where are all those great doctors, with whom thou wast well acquainted whilst they were living and flourished in learning?
Now others possess their livings, and I know not whether they ever think of them.
In their life-time they seemed to be something: and now they are not spoken of.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch III pt V.
May Devotion: The Blessed Virgin Mary
Virtues to practice: Meekness, purity, the spirit of poverty
O holy Mary, my Mistress, into thy blessed trust and special keeping, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body; to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son. Amen. (St. Aloysius Gonzaga)
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins and Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
(For either of the above prayers: An indulgence of 3 years. A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer.)
The faithful who during the month of May take part in public exercises in honor of the B.V.M. may gain: An indulgence of 7 years on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence if they assist at the exercises on at least 10 days, and moreover, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, and pray for the Holy Father’s intentions.
Those who perform their devotions privately during the aforesaid month are granted: an indulgence of 5 years once on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if they perform these devotions every day during the month; but where public exercises are held, this indulgence is granted only to those who are lawfully hindered from taking part in the same. (Raccolta).
Mother Mary at Thine Altar.
Mother Mary at thine altar
We thy loving children kneel;
With a faith that cannot falter,
To thy goodness we appeal.
We are seeking for a mother,
O’er the earth so waste and wide,
And from off the Cross our Brother
Points to Mary by His side.
We have seen thy picture often
With thy little Babe in arms,
And it ever seemed to soften
All our sorrows with its charms;
So we want thee for our Mother,
In thy gentle arms to rest,
And to share with Him, our Brother,
That sweet pillow on Thy breast.
Thou wilt love us, thou wilt guide us,
With a mother’s fondest care;
And our Father, God above us
Bids us fly for refuge there.
Life’s temptations are before us,
We must mingle in the strife;
If thy fondness watch not o’er us,
All unsafe will be our life.
So we take thee for our Mother,
And we claim our right to be,
By the gift of our dear Brother,
Loving children unto thee;
And our humble consecration
Thou wilt surely not despise,
From thy high and lofty station
Close to Jesus in the skies.
Mother Mary, to thy keeping
Soul and body we confide,
Toiling, resting, walking, sleeping
To be ever at thy side.
Cares that vex us, joys that please us,
Life and death we trust to thee;
Thou wilt make them all for Jesus,
And for all eternity.
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