Pope Francis: This Lent, seek the only ‘well’ that satisfies – Christ

 Woman Of The Well Painting - Woman Of The Well by Glenda Stevens
Of course, we already know him, but perhaps we have not yet met him in person, and we have not yet recognized him as our Savior.”
Before leading the Angelus, the Pope spoke to a crowd of around 40,000 people in St. Peter’s Square about the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well as recounted in the fourth chapter of John.
Asking for a drink of water, Jesus, a Jew, begins a dialogue with the woman, the Pope said. She asks why he would deign to ask something of her, a Samaritan. Jesus answers her that he alone can give her “living water, water that satisfies every thirst.”
At first, she thinks it is a type of temporal water that would mean she no longer has to go to the well to draw water. “But Jesus speaks of a different water.”
We are, in some ways, like this woman, he said. “Her thirst for affection and a full life was not satisfied” by the world – in this case, by her five husbands. “We know who Jesus is, but maybe we have not met him in person, talking with him, and we have not yet recognized him as our Savior.”
“This time of Lent is a good time to approach him, meet him in prayer in a heart to heart conversation, see his face in the face of a brother or sister suffering,” Francis explained.
By approaching the Lord in prayer and strengthening our personal relationship with him, he said, “we can renew in us the grace of Baptism, quench our thirst at the source of the Word of God and his Holy Spirit; and so discover the joy of becoming artisans of reconciliation and peace tools in everyday life.”
After the Angelus, the Pope prayed for Peru, which, because of heaving rains in the last few days, has been hit by floods and mudslides, resulting in the deaths of 72 people, BBC News reports.
“I want to assure my closeness to the dear people of Peru, hit hard by devastating floods. I pray for the victims and for those engaged in relief operations,” he said.
The worst floods the country has seen in 30 years, the capital city of Lima has been without water since Monday, services only now being restored, and more than 800 towns and cities have declared a state of emergency, according to BBC News.
Pope Francis also drew attention to the beatification Saturday of Blessed Josef Mayr-Nusser in Bolzano, Italy, who was martyred for his refusal to join the Nazis in faithfulness to the Gospel.
“For his great moral and spiritual stature, he is a model for the lay faithful, especially for dads,” Francis said, “that today we remember with great affection, though the liturgical feast of St. Joseph, their patron.”
Because March 19 is the feast of St. Joseph – also Father’s Day in Italy – Pope Francis concluded with a special greeting for all fathers, asking for a round of applause from the crowd…..
Taken from: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-this-lent-seek-the-only-well-that-satisfies-christ-25963/

4K
0
4K

Pope Francis: the Cross is the gate of salvation

Pope Francis addresses the crowd from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St Peter's square during the Sunday Angelus prayer, on March 12, 2017 - AFP

Pope Francis addresses the crowd from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St Peter’s square during the Sunday Angelus prayer, on March 12, 2017 – AFP

 

12/03/2017 12:44

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square on the Second Sunday of Lent.In remarks ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father reflected on the Gospel reading of the day, which was taken from the 17th chapter of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew, and that recounted the Transfiguration of Our Lord.
“Transfigured on Mt. Tabor,” said Pope Francis, “Jesus desired to show His glory to His disciples, not to keep them from going through the Cross, but to show them to where He was carrying the
Cross.
Click below to hear our report
“Whoever dies with Christ, with Christ shall rise again,” said Pope Francis, “those who struggle with Him, with Him shall triumph.”
“The Cross is the gate of the Resurrection,” he said.The Holy Father went on to say that the message of hope, which the Cross contains, is one that constantly calls us to be strong in our lives. “The Christian Cross is not something to hang in the house ‘to tie the room together’ [It. suppellettile di casa] or an ornament to wear, but a call to that love, with which Jesus sacrificed Himself to save humanity from sin and evil.”
“In this Lenten season,” said Pope Francis, “let us contemplate devoutly the image of the Crucified Lord: it is the symbol of the Christian faith; it is the symbol of Jesus, who died and rose for us. Let us make sure that the Cross marks the stages of our Lenten journey, that we might understand more and more [perfectly] the gravity of sin and the value of the sacrifice with which the Redeemer has saved us – all of us.”

….
Taken from: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2017/03/12/pope_francis_the_cross_is_the_gate_

Saint John Paul II bane of demons

Image result for pope john paul II and mary

 by

Damien F. Mackey

 

 

Father Amorth also was the exorcist for the Diocese of Rome during St. John Paul II’s pontificate so he has firsthand knowledge of at least three exorcisms that the pontiff performed in his private chapel. The demons are recorded as having a special indignation when his memory is invoked because St. John Paul “ruined their plans.” Father Amorth believes the reason for this is linked to Fatima and to the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by St. John Paul March 25, 1984.

 

This pivotal moment in human history was, sadly, and quite against the wishes of Heaven, about half a century late in coming to its fulfilment – with dire consequences for the world. This is what I wrote about it in:

 

The Five First Saturdays Of Our Lady of Fatima

https://www.academia.edu/3689879/The_Five_First_Saturdays_Of_Our_Lady_of_Fatima

 

The Consecration of Russia
We recall that on July 13th of 1917, Our Lady of the Rosary had made this promise:
“I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If My wishes are fulfilled, Russia will be converted and there will be peace …. If not ….”.
In June of 1929, Our Lady came and told [Sister] Lucia:
“The moment has come when God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the bishops of the world, to make the Consecration of Russia to My Heart, promising to save it by this means”.
In a letter to her confessor, dated May 29, 1930, Sr. Lucia had explained that Our Lord had made her feel his Divine presence in the depth of her heart and had urged her to ask the Holy Father for the approval for the reparative devotion of the first Saturdays. These are the words of the seer, as found in her Memoirs (# 404):
“If I am not mistaken, the good Lord promises to put an end to the persecution in Russia if the Holy Father deigns to make a solemn and public act of reparation and consecration of Russia to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and orders all the bishops of the Catholic world to do the same. The Holy Father must also promise to approve and recommend the reparative devotion already indicated for the cease of this persecution”.
Later, through an interior communication, Our Lord complained to Sr. Lucia that the consecration of Russia had not been made:
“They did not heed to My request. They will repent like the king of France and will make it, but it will be too late. Russia will already have spread its errors throughout the world, promoting wars and persecutions of the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer” ….
Our Lord’s reference here to “the king of France” is an allusion to the promise that He had made to Louis XIV through St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Our Lord had promised to give the king a life of grace and eternal glory, as well as victory over his enemies, if he would consecrate himself to the Sacred Heart, let It reign in his palace, paint It on his banners, and have It engraved on his coat of arms. In 1792, after Louis XVI had been imprisoned in the Tower of the Temple, this Divine request still had not been heeded. The king then made the vow to consecrate himself, his family and his kingdom to the Sacred Heart of Jesus if he regained his freedom, the crown, and royal power. It was too late; the king left prison only for his execution.
Lucia, writing again to her spiritual director on January 21, 1935, stated that:
“Our Lord was quite displeased because His request had not been carried out” (ibid.).
In a further letter to him, dated May 18, 1936, she told him of the following fascinating exchange with Our Lord in the subject:
“… I have spoken to Our Lord inwardly about the subject, and not too long ago I asked Him why He would not convert Russia without the Holy Father making that consecration”.
“Because I want My whole Church to acknowledge that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so as subsequently to extend the devotion to it and place it alongside devotion to My Sacred Heart”.

“But, my God, the Holy Father will not believe me, unless You move him with a special inspiration”.

“The Holy Father. Pray very much for the Holy Father! He will do it, but it will be late. Nevertheless, the Immaculate Heart of Mary will save Russia, who has been entrusted to it” ….
Sr. Lucia wrote a further interesting letter to her spiritual director on August 18, 1940. Here is part of it:
“I suppose it pleases Our Lord that there is someone who is concerned about His Vicar on earth fulfilling His wishes. But the Holy Father will not comply with them now. He doubts they are real, and explicably so. Our good Lord could show clearly through some prodigy that it is He who is asking, but He takes this opportunity to punish the world with His justice for so many crimes and to prepare it for a more complete return to Him. The proof that He gives us is the special protection the Immaculate Heart of Mary affords Portugal in view of the consecration made to it [i.e. the 1931 consecration made by the Portuguese bishops]” ….

 

[End of quotes]

Over a period of about four decades, various popes would try to fulfil Heaven’s urgent request. I discussed this in the following section:
Attempts to Achieve the Collegial Consecration
During 1942, Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary; and in 1952 he consecrated Russia to her Heart. Whilst, undoubtedly, these were valuable spiritual acts, they did not fulfil Our Lady’s conditions, because – as Bishop Alberto Cosme do Amaral has noted (1989 “Youth for Fatima” conference) – the Holy Father had made these consecrations alone as Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth.

 

In 1964 Pope Paul VI, when speaking to the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council, renewed Pope Pius XII’s consecration of the world and Russia to the Immaculate Heart. This was in the presence of the world’s more than 2,000 bishops. Again, however, the Pope made the consecration by himself, and not in union with the world’s bishops.
On the 13th of May, 1982, at Fatima, Pope John Paul II made a valiant attempt at the collegial Consecration when he renewed Pope Pius XII’s consecrations of the world and Russia to the Immaculate Heart. However, when the most reverend Sante Portalupi, the Papal Nuncio to Portugal, visited Sr. Lucia at that time, she told him that the Consecration made by John Paul II, like that of Pius XII, was not according to the request of Our Lady, as it was not with all the bishops of the world, each on the same day in a “collegial” Act of Consecration. (Taken from SOUL magazine, Jan-Feb, 1985, p. 9). It was reported that many bishops did not receive the Holy Father’s letter in time to join him in the act.
In 1984, Pope John Paul II made another consecration. In preparation for it, the Holy Father sent a letter to all the bishops of the world asking them to join him in the collegial Consecration of the world as a renewal of the two acts of consecration made by Pope Pius XII. “Implicit therefore”, according to Bishop Amaral, “was the consecration of Russia” (op. cit., ibid.) Bishop Amaral’s further explanation of this Consecration is an important one:
“Not only was it to be a renewal of Pius XII’s two consecrations … but the very words of Pope John Paul II mentioned those peoples ‘most in need’. Likewise, during the actual consecration by Pope John Paul II there were a few moments of pausing during which it was not clear what the Holy Father said. I thanked the Pope later for consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Pope added ‘and Russia’.”

 

Bishop Amaral then explained that:

 

“A moral totality of the world’s bishops joined the Pope in this collegial consecration, including Eastern Orthodox bishops”.
For many years now, Fatima devotées have been waiting and praying, and even sacrificing, for this consecration to come about. Some may – and in fact do – find it hard now to accept that it has happened. It seems almost too good to be true. But, on the other hand, is it in fact so difficult to accept that the collegial consecration had been carried out as requested? When John Paul II wrote to all the bishops of the world as to what he was going to do on March 25th, 1984, and what he wanted all the bishops to do with him, he specifically stated that he was going to repeat the twofold consecrations of Pope Pius XII; the one of the whole world of 1942 and the one of Russia of 1952.

We may perhaps draw another analogy here.

Fr. William Most, when discussing the Theology of the Mass in his excellent book on the Second Vatican Council, Vatican II Marian Council, has this to say about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass being the renewal of Calvary:
“If the renewal is twofold (i.e. offered up by Christ and by His Mystical Body the Church) … then would it not be strange if the original, which the renewal repeats, did not have a similar twofold structure? Really, if the renewal were twofold, and the original not, then the renewal would be partly false. It would no repeat fully what it should repeat”.
We may reverse this logical reasoning with regard to the Consecration of 1984 as follows:

 

“If the original is twofold (i. e. consisting of two separate previous consecrations) then would it not be strange if the repeat, which claims to repeat the original, did not have a similar twofold structure? Really, if the original were twofold, and the repeat not, the latter would be manifestly false …etc”.
But what is being claimed by Church authorities in the case of this 1984 Act of Consecration is that the 1952 Act of Consecration of Russia is being repeated. This was made known to all the bishops. And by making it thus known to them, the Holy Father was fully expressing his explicit intention with regard to Russia’s being included, even had Russia not received a mention!
Fr. M. Coelho, in his article “The Problem of the Consecration Again” (Fatima Family Messenger, Oct-Dec, 1989) had added some further important points on the subject. After noting that Lucia had believed “the request of Our Lady was not perfectly accomplished” in the case of the earlier Consecration, that of 1982, Fr. Coelho went on to add that, with regard to the Consecration of 1984:
“Now, in fact, both the Bishop of Fatima and the Holy Father are convinced that the consecration Our Lady asked for is perfectly made. The main reason is the following. Nobody can prove that the words Our Lady used, asked for a consecration of Russia alone; Russia is a part of the world. If the world is consecrated, Russia becomes consecrated”. ….
Fr. Coelho then proceeded to make a significant theological point: that it is ultimately the Church – not the seers – who interprets apparitions.
“Theologically the problem is clearer. The apparitions and their messages are charisms, i.e. acts of the Holy Spirit. Their interpretation – to be correct – has to be also an act of the Holy Spirit. He is the Soul of the Church. So, the only interpretation is that of the Church and not that of the seers. Usually the charism of seers consists only in receiving and telling the Church what they saw and heard. Reliable people who recently saw Sister Lucia told me Sister Lucia now says that the request of Our Lady is accomplished”.

And we can see already some effects. Many things began changing after 1984” ….
[Comment: Such as the dramatic fall of the Soviet Empire in 1989].

 

We turn now to the actual words spoken by Sr. Lucia on the subject of the 1984 Consecration, its outcome, and the response of the world’s bishops to it. The following quotations of Sr. Lucia are taken from the article, “Sister Lucia says: ‘God will keep His Word’” (in Fatima Family Messenger, pp. 9-11), by Maria do Fetal Neves Rosa, who is a relative of Sr. Lucia and her friend of 40 years. When the author put to Sr. Lucia this point:
“You know some bishops did not unite with the Holy Father in the Consecration?” Sr. Lucia replied:
“The responsibility was theirs. Because of them God did not refuse to accept the Consecration which as made [in 1984] as the one having been requested …. The request for the Consecration was always an appeal for union. The Mystical Body of Christ [the Church] must be united! The members of the same Body are united!” (Ibid).

 

Then her interviewer pressed Sr. Lucia to be perhaps even more specific as to whether or not the Consecration requested by Our Lady had been achieved, saying:

 

“People would like very much to know that you, Lucia, are saying that the Consecration has now been made and accepted by God”; to which Sr. Lucia gave the following reply:
“His Excellency, the Bishop of Leiria, was here. He asked me and I told him, ‘Yes. Now it was made’.”

The Apostolic Nuncio has been here recently and asked me, ‘Is Russia now consecrated?’ ‘Yes. Now it is’, I answered. The Nuncio then said, ‘Now we wait for the miracle’.

I answered, ‘God will keep His word’.” ….

[End of quotes]

 

My view, no doubt shared by others, that the 1984 Consecration was a most decisive event in the history of humanity – an event of cosmic proportions, in fact – is also the view, most unhappily received apparently, by exorcised demons. For I have just read this review (http://catholicphilly.com/2017/02/us-world-news/culture/late-exorcists-words-lift-the-veil-on-the-demonic-satan/):

 

Late exorcist’s words lift the veil on the demonic, Satan

….

By Allan F. Wright • Catholic News Service • Posted February 24, 2017

 

 

“An Exorcist Explains the Demonic: The Antics of Satan and His Army of Fallen Angels”
by Father Gabriele Amorth with Stefano Stimamiglio.

Sophia Institute Press (Manchester, New Hampshire, 2016).

145 pp., $14.95.

 

The world-renowned exorcist, Pauline Father Gabriele Amorth, who died this past September, has left his wisdom and experience in dealing with evil forces through this lucid and insightful compendium gleaned from interviews published in Credere magazine over the past few years.

Father Amorth founded the International Association of Exorcists and performed tens of thousands of exorcisms in his life. He is refreshingly direct throughout the book and doesn’t mince words when it comes to the reality of the demonic, evil spirits and Satan.

In addition, his writing conveys a sense of comfort and hope for those suffering from physical and spiritual ailments such as possession, vexation, obsession and infestation, all believed to stem from demonic forces.

Father Amorth attributes the rise on demonic activity to the decline in faith in God. “When faith in God declines, idolatry and irrationality increase; man must then look elsewhere for answers to his meaningful questions,” he writes. The principle of total and complete liberty apart from God and the denial of truth itself are indeed seductive in appearance but ultimately fail to satisfy the “desires of the human heart.”

Young people in particular, he states, “are easily deluded and are attracted to these ‘seductions’ which has been the desire of Satan since the beginning.” Extreme danger arises when these demonic spirits are invited into a person’s life and Father Amorth goes into detail on specific cases he has personally encountered.

While we are all victims of seductions or temptations, not everyone is a victim of what the late priest calls an “extraordinary action of Satan.” Nor are extraordinary actions of Satan or evil spirits the fault of those who are victim of these attacks, he affirms.

However, there are an incredible amount of people who declare their allegiance to Satan, the “father of lies.” The casting of spells and “infestations of the demonic” are in fact a reality and chronicled in this book.

In chapter three, “The Cult of Satan and Its Manifestations,” topics such as spiritism, Satanism, occultism, wizards, fortunetellers, magic, piercings, tattoos and satanic music are addressed.

He states that the three rules of Satanism are: “You may do all you wish, no one has the right to command you, and you are the god of yourself.” One doesn’t need to be exposed to the satanic heavy metal band Slayer to see those three elements alive and operating in our culture.

Although “An Exorcist Explains the Demonic” is profoundly disquieting, Father Amorth reminds readers of God’s victory over Satan and the tools for growing in holiness and fighting evil provided by the church in the sacraments, sacramentals and prayer. God loves us as a father and desires to protect us.

The reader will perhaps be surprised by the amount of demonic activity that Father Amorth records in a matter-of-fact manner and yet always with the confidence that God is stronger. He recalls invoking with much success Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Father Amorth also was the exorcist for the Diocese of Rome during St. John Paul II’s pontificate so he has firsthand knowledge of at least three exorcisms that the pontiff performed in his private chapel. The demons are recorded as having a special indignation when his memory is invoked because St. John Paul “ruined their plans.” Father Amorth believes the reason for this is linked to Fatima and to the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by St. John Paul March 25, 1984.

The book also relies on Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church for insights into heaven, hell, purgatory and the rite of exorcism itself. Father Amorth makes a solid case for the need for many more exorcists and even suggests that every seminarian be exposed to the work of exorcism as an essential course of study.

This compendium is a suitable witness to both the man and his struggle with evil.

 

Wright is an author and academic dean of evangelization for the Diocese of Paterson and resides in New Jersey.

 

Pope Francis celebrates Ash Wednesday Mass: Full Text

Pope Francis leads the Ash Wednesday Mass at Santa Sabina Basilica in Rome - REUTERS

Pope Francis leads the Ash Wednesday Mass at Santa Sabina Basilica in Rome – REUTERS

01/03/2017 17:30
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Holy Mass for Ash Wednesday at the Basilica of Santa Sabina on the Aventine hill in Rome.In his homily, the Holy Father said Lent is a path that “leads to the triumph of mercy over all that would crush us or reduce us to something unworthy of our dignity as God’s children.”
Click here to see a report on the Pope’s Mass.

Please find below the official English translation of the Pope’s homily:

“Return to me with all your heart… return to the Lord” (Jl 2:12, 13).  The prophet Joel makes this plea to the people in the Lord’s name.  No one should feel excluded: “Assemble the aged, gather the children, even infants at the breast, the bridegroom… and the bride” (v. 16).  All the faithful people are summoned to come and worship their God, “for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (v. 13).

We too want to take up this appeal; we want to return to the merciful heart of the Father.  In this season of grace that begins today, we once again turn our eyes to his mercy.  Lent is a path: it leads to the triumph of mercy over all that would crush us or reduce us to something unworthy of our dignity as God’s children.  Lent is the road leading from slavery to freedom, from suffering to joy, from death to life.  The mark of the ashes with which we set out reminds us of our origin: we were taken from the earth, we are made of dust.  True, yet we are dust in the loving hands of God, who has breathed his spirit of life upon each one of us, and still wants to do so.  He wants to keep giving us that breath of life that saves us from every other type of breath: the stifling asphyxia brought on by our selfishness, the stifling asphyxia generated by petty ambition and silent indifference – an asphyxia that smothers the spirit, narrows our horizons and slows the beating of our hearts.  The breath of God’s life saves us from this asphyxia that dampens our faith, cools our charity and strangles every hope. To experience Lent is to yearn for this breath of life that our Father unceasingly offers us amid the mire of our history.

The breath of God’s life sets us free from the asphyxia that so often we fail to notice, or become so used to that it seems normal, even when its effects are felt.  We think it is normal because we have grown so accustomed to breathing air in which hope has dissipated, the air of glumness and resignation, the stifling air of panic and hostility.

Lent is the time for saying no.  No to the spiritual asphyxia born of the pollution caused by indifference, by thinking that other people’s lives are not my concern, and by every attempt to trivialize life, especially the lives of those whose flesh is burdened by so much superficiality.  Lent means saying no to the toxic pollution of empty and meaningless words, of harsh and hasty criticism, of simplistic analyses that fail to grasp the complexity of problems, especially the problems of those who suffer the most.  Lent is the time to say no to the asphyxia of a prayer that soothes our conscience, of an almsgiving that leaves us self-satisfied, of a fasting that makes us feel good.  Lent is the time to say no to the asphyxia born of relationships that exclude, that try to find God while avoiding the wounds of Christ present in the wounds of his brothers and sisters: in a word, all those forms of spirituality that reduce the faith to a ghetto culture, a culture of exclusion.

Lent is a time for remembering.  It is the time to reflect and ask ourselves what we would be if God had closed his doors to us.  What would we be without his mercy that never tires of forgiving us and always gives us the chance to begin anew?  Lent is the time to ask ourselves where we would be without the help of so many people who in a thousand quiet ways have stretched out their hands and in very concrete ways given us hope and enabled us to make a new beginning.

Lent is the time to start breathing again.  It is the time to open our hearts to the breath of the One capable of turning our dust into humanity.  It is not the time to rend our garments before the evil all around us, but instead to make room in our life for all the good we are able to do.  It is a time to set aside everything that isolates us, encloses us and paralyzes us.  Lent is a time of compassion, when, with the Psalmist, we can say: “Restore to us the joy of your salvation, sustain in us a willing spirit”, so that by our lives we may declare your praise (cf. Ps 51:12.15), and our dust – by the power of your breath of life – may become a “dust of love”.

….
Taken from: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2017/03/01/pope_francis_celebrates_ash_wednesday_mass_full_text/1295847

Brown Scapular: Saved from sea – like Jonah

Image result for jonah and storm

 by

 Damien F. Mackey

“On seeing the urgency of the situation, the youth opened his shirt, took off his Scapular, and, making the Sign of the Cross with it over the raging waves, tossed it into the ocean. At that very moment, the wind calmed. Only one more wave washed the deck, bringing with it the Scapular which came to rest at the boy’s feet”.

 

Connection with Elijah

and Mount Carmel

 

Whilst Catholics are generally familiar with the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the promises associated with wearing it faithfully, they, being Catholics, may not be over familiar with its Old Testament antecedents.

The Order of Carmelites tells of its origins in “Elijah and Mary”, at:

http://www.ocarm.org/en/content/ocarm/elijah-mary

 

The Prophet Elijah

 

Elijah’s memory was kept alive especially on Mount Carmel where he challenged the people to stop hobbling first on one foot and then on the other but to choose who is God in Israel – Yahweh or Baal. According to the story, which can be found in the First Book of Kings, chapter 18, Elijah’s sacrifice was consumed by fire from heaven which proved to the people that Yahweh was the true God.

 

Elijah made himself available for God’s work and was sent into various situations to proclaim God’s word. Elijah undertook a long journey through the desert where he began to despair. He sat down under a bush and wished he were dead but God would not allow him to die and prodded him to continue his journey to Mount Horeb. When he arrived there, God became present to Elijah. God came not with the signs usual in the Old Testament of fire, earthquake and mighty wind but in the sound of a gentle breeze. Elijah was sent back to his people to carry out God’s will.

 

From Elijah, Carmelites learn to listen for the voice of God in the unexpected and in silence. We seek to allow the Word of God to shape our minds and our hearts so that the way we live and the things we do may be prophetic and therefore faithful to the memory of our father Elijah.

 

 

The Blessed Virgin Mary

 

The first hermits on Mount Carmel built a church in the middle of their cells. This was the centre of their lives where they converged each day to celebrate Mass together. This little church they named in honour of Our Lady. By this fact the first group of Carmelites took her as their patroness, promising her their faithful service and expecting her protection and favour. They were proud to bear the title of “Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel” and they defended this title with vigour when their right to it was challenged.

 

Mary consented to God’s will when she was asked to be the mother of the Saviour. She pondered on the events of her life and was able to see in them the hand of God at work. Mary did not become proud about her unique vocation but instead praised God for looking on her lowliness and doing great things in her. She was with Jesus at the beginning of his public ministry when, at the marriage feast at Cana, she made known to him the simple need, “They have no wine”. She was with him as he died and there she became the mother of all believers. At the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles we find Mary gathered in the upper room praying with the other disciples waiting for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. For us Carmelites, Mary is a constant presence in our lives, guiding us and protecting us as we seek to follow Christ.

 

The brown scapular has for many centuries summed up the Carmelite’s relationship with Our Lady. The scapular is a piece of cloth based on the traditional Carmelite friar’s garb. Wearing the scapular is a sign of consecration to Mary, the Mother of God, and is a symbol showing that the person is putting on the virtues of Mary and is being protected by her. Mary symbolises for the Carmelite everything that we hope for – to enter into an intimate relationship with Christ, being totally open to God’s will and having our lives transformed by the Word of God. Carmelites have always thought of Mary as the Patroness of the Order, its Mother and Splendour. We seek to live in spiritual intimacy with her so that we can learn from her how to live as God’s children.

 

Elijah and Mary are inspirational figures for all Carmelites. They play a very important part in the life and spirituality of the Order which sees itself as belonging to Mary and looks to Elijah as our spiritual father.

[End of quote]

 

The importance of the Brown Scapular was emphasised in the most emphatic manner when it was presented as one of the stunning tableaux during the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima in 1917. And so we read at: http://unveilingtheapocalypse.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/our-lady-of-mt-carmel-visions-of-fatima.html

 

During the Miracle of the Sun, which took place at the Cova da Iria, Fatima, on 13th October, 1917, the three shepherd children saw something very different from the spectacular solar miracle witnessed by the rest of the vast crowd which had assembled there. While the spectators among the throngs saw the now famous dance of the Sun, the children had experienced a vision of the Holy Family, and Our Lady appeared to them in various forms – including that of Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. There was undoubtedly some hidden symbolism behind these visions, which may provide a key insight into exactly what was being communicated by the extraordinary occurrence of the Miracle of the Sun. The below excerpt is taken from Sr. Lucia’s Fourth Memoir, detailing what the children saw while the miraculous dance of the Sun was taking place:

 

We reached the holmoak in the Cova da Iria. Once there, moved by an interior impulse, I asked the people to shut their umbrellas and say the Rosary. A little later, we saw the flash of light, and then Our Lady appeared on the holmoak. “What do you want of me?” “I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honour. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes”. “I have many things to ask you: the cure of some sick persons, the conversion of sinners, and other things…” “Some yes, but not others. They must amend their lives and ask forgiveness for their sins.” Looking very sad, Our Lady said: “Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended.” Then, opening her hands, she made them reflect on the sun, and as she ascended, the reflection of her own light continued to be projected on the sun itself. Here, Your Excellency, is the reason why I cried out to the people to look at the sun. My aim was not to call attention to the sun, because I was not even aware of their presence. I was moved to do so under the guidance of an interior impulse. After Our Lady had disappeared into the immense distance of the firmanent, we beheld St. Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle, beside the sun. St. Joseph and the Child appeared to bless the world, for they traced the Sign of the Cross with their hands. When, a little later, this apparition disappeared, I saw Our Lord and Our Lady; it seemed to me that it was Our Lady of Dolours. Our Lord appeared to bless the world in the same manner as St. Joseph had done. This apparition also vanished, and I saw Our Lady once more, this time resembling Our Lady of Carmel.
(Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words, pp172-173)

[End of quote]

 

Faithful wearers of the Brown Scapular down through the centuries can attest to – and many have so done – some extraordinary vases of protection from potential fatal situations.

Here is one such case, which must remind one of the prophet Jonah incident at sea:

http://fatimaforbeginners.org/index.php/faith/the-brown-scapular/127-testimony-of-the-brown-scapular

 

Saved from the Sea: In the late summer of the year 1845, the English ship, “King of the Ocean” found itself in the middle of a wild hurricane. As wind and sea mercilessly lashed the ship, a Protestant minister, together with his wife and children and other passengers, struggled to the deck to pray for mercy and forgiveness, as the end seemed at hand. Among the crew was a young Irishman, John McAuliffe. On seeing the urgency of the situation, the youth opened his shirt, took off his Scapular, and, making the Sign of the Cross with it over the raging waves, tossed it into the ocean. At that very moment, the wind calmed. Only one more wave washed the deck, bringing with it the Scapular which came to rest at the boy’s feet. All the while the minister (a Mr. Fisher) had been carefully observing McAuliffe’s actions and the miraculous effect of those actions. Upon questioning the young man, they were told about the Holy Virgin and Her Scapular. Mr. Fisher and his family were so impressed that they were determined to enter the Catholic Church as soon as possible (which they did after landing in Australia), and thereby enjoy the same protection of Our Lady’s Scapular. ….