Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

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

Moses’ mother uses both work and wit to save him from destruction.  She takes pain to hide him when he is born so that he would not be taken away.  When that is no longer possible, she strategizes to have Moses adopted into the royal family.  She even manages to take care of him on behalf of the Egyptian princess.  Her care is of the order celebrated on this Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

In Christian tradition Mary, the Mother of God, is known in various ways.  She is the Virgin Maiden who disposes herself completely with God’s call.  She is also the Queen of Apostles, the first human to proclaim God’s love in Jesus Christ.  She is also the great protectoress giving shelter to those under siege.  Our Lady of Mount Carmel should be seen especially in this last way.

She is associated with the brown scapular.  Scapulars were originally exterior clothing worn over the shoulders as an outer vestment.  They were like sweaters or, if worn alone, light jackets to provide protection against the elements.  In time the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel became famous for protecting its wearer from vices.  Because the full-body version was not needed for this spiritual purpose, its size was reduced.  Today the scapular is but two cloth emblems linked by two laces but still worn over the head.  As always with sacramentals, the scapular itself does not protect anyone.  But it does remind us to ask Mary to pray for us to God.