Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

(Exodus 2:1-15a; Matthew 11:20-24)

Today’s optional memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel celebrates one of the most revered manifestations of the Blessed Virgin.  She is said to have given St. Simon Stock, the prior general of the Carmelite Order in the middle of the thirteenth century, the order’s brown scapular that served as part of its habit.  At the same time Our Lady is said to have promised salvation to those who persevere in wearing it.

The scapular has been radically reduced so that it is not always a garb at all but a neck pendant that can be easily worn under regular clothing.  No doubt millions of lay people around the word do just that trusting Our Lady’s promise.  The story sounds quaint and ingenuous, but it only underscores the narrative unfolding in the first reading these days where God comes to the aid of His people when they are perishing.  Today’s segment shows how the Israelite’s human liberator Moses is spared death by a generous act of Providence.

Wearing a scapular is not necessary to be saved, but it may remind us of our Lord whose death on the cross extends to us the possibility of eternal life.  He also has shared with us his Blessed Mother whose pleading on our behalf contributes to our never losing faith.