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:
- Shun sin and, according to his state of life, live chastely.
- Say everyday, if possible, seven times the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.
- 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
“Here is my servant who I have chosen,…I will endow him with my spirit, and he will proclaim the true
faith to the nations.”
As a ‘cradle Catholics’ (not ready for the grave yet), we know that our Lord gave us two commandments. One is to love God with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul and all our strength; and love others as we love ourselves. Within that love, we are to share the treasure that God offers, and we are called to introduce, if not to bring, our fellow travelers to Jesus, our Lord, in this journey called Life. Yes, we are all called to evangelize.
I struggle with wanting to serve but fearing that I do not have anything to offer; not knowing if I possess any talents, whatever that might be, and how to use them to serve. Feeling frustrated and ineffective, I cannot believe that God would choose me to serve in ministry as there are so many more talented, more eloquent, more knowledgeable people; why would he choose a sinner like me?
Then I came upon a reading in the Divine Mercy reflections with Saint Faustina. We are all called to serve. Some have a ‘bigger’ or more public role, some have a less public role, but we all have a part to play in God’s grand scheme. The role He entrusts to us is not given to anyone else, individually, we are to fulfil the task assigned. But we are NEVER alone.
All that we have, all that we are, is the result of graces given by the Lord. The faith that we have, the achievements that we attain, the good that we do, are all gifts from our God — who is holy and all good. Of course, it is a choice we make in collaborating with God to do good. But it would be dangerous for us to claim that we alone, achieved the good. Left to our own devices, our fallen human nature would lead us to the wrong path. It is only with the guidance of the Holy Spirit that we are able to head in the right direction.
So do not be disheartened if you are like me, undecided as to what talents we possess to serve the Lord. God has a job and a plan for us. All we need is to love and trust in the Lord. We need to pray and be attentive to His call. We must have a heart that desires His will over ours, and then we need to be patient. Because it is not when we want or how we want to serve. Rather, it is according to God’s will of when, where and how.
Brothers and sisters, we are all called to serve, but we don’t have to worry about the ways or methods. God has already figured that out for us and all we need is to let Him take the wheel.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)
Prayer: Dear Lord, grant us the grace to desire Your will over our own, and the grace of patience in waiting. Help us to be attentive to Your call and recognize Your voice above all else.
Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, we thank you for deeming us worthy of Your work and providing us with the tools to serve Your will.