16 July, Thursday — Smartphones won’t give us rest, so put them away and pray!

Jul 16 – Memorial for Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The Church celebrates on this day, the feast of the Scapular of Mount Carmel. The scapular, which derives its name from the Latin word scapulæ, meaning shoulders, is a dress which covers the shoulders. It is best known among as the name of two little pieces of cloth worn out of devotion to the Blessed Virgin over the shoulders, under the ordinary garb, and connected by strings.

The devotion of the scapular began with the Carmelites. During the 13th century, the Carmelite Order suffered great persecution, and on 16 July 1251, while Saint Simon Stock, then general of the Order, was at prayer, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him, holding in her hand a scapular. Giving it to the saint, she said,

“Receive, my dear son, this scapular of thy Order, as the distinctive sign of my confraternity, and the mark of the privilege which I have obtained for thee and the children of Carmel. It is a sign of salvation, a safeguard in danger, and a special pledge of peace and protection till the end of time. Whosoever dies wearing this shall be preserved from eternal flames.”

It is much to be wished that people should everywhere join this confraternity, for the honour of Mary and for the salvation of souls, by a life fitted to that end. In order to have a share in the merits of the sodality, every member must:

  1. Shun sin and, according to his state of life, live chastely;
  2. Say everyday, if possible, seven times the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be;
  3. Strive to serve God by venerating Mary, and imitating her virtues.

Though not binding under penalty of sin, the breach of these rules deprives us of all merit.

  • Patron Saint Index

Isa 26:7-9,12,16-19  
Mt 11:28-30

“Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.”

Busy days are good for us because work, studies and household activities keep our mind distracted. But sometimes, being too overwhelmed with all these can cause us to drift away from God unknowingly, and lead us to experience spiritual, mental, emotional, and even physical fatigue.

Many times during my university life, I was extremely occupied with my studies, interacting with people from all walks of life, and managing many different projects which I had undertaken; needless to say, I was often burnt out by the end of the day. But instead of resting or spending some time with God, my hand always promptly reached out for my smartphone to scroll through my social media feeds, text my friends on social media sites, and watch some videos on YouTube. Very quickly, an hour or two was gone. I had a great time on my smartphone which uplifted my energy levels, but I was unaware that my spiritual energy was decreasing.

Just last week, I attended a cell group meeting that was organized by one of the members of my university Catholic group. The topic was on temperance, and one of the reflection questions was on what my major temptation was, and how I can overcome it using a spiritual weapon or tool. I began to regret spending excessive amounts of time on my smartphone. I decided to make a promise to spend less time on my smartphone and instead, spend more time to pray to God. And I realize that as I pray more often with God, my life begins to be more manageable each day. I become less impatient and snappy with the people whom I meet, and I do not feel so tired at night. My relationship with my family has improved significantly as well. I find all these changes miraculous, as no smartphone nor gadget, nor any type of addiction can accomplish this.

It is amazing how spending time with God can really recharge our spiritual batteries and uplift our energy in life. Try praying at least 15 minutes for every day for a week and see what miracles God can bring into your life!

(Today’s Oxygen by Brenda Khoo)

Prayer: Dear Lord, please help us to spend more time with you in prayer instead of turning to our smartphone and other addictions when we are tired.

Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, thank You for recharging us spiritually, mentally and emotionally every time we pray to You. Amen.

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