Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel
July 16 - Optional Memory
The first prophet of Israel, Elias (IX century BC), dwelling on Mount Carmel, had the vision of the coming of the Virgin, rising like a small cloud from the earth to the mountain, carrying rain and saving Israel from drought. In that image, all mystical Christians and exegetes have always seen the Virgin Mary, who has brought the Divine Word into it, gave life and fertility to the world. A group of hermits, "Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel," set up a chapel dedicated to the Virgin on Mount Carmel. Carmelite monks also founded monasteries in the West. On July 16, 1251, the Virgin, surrounded by angels and with the Child in His Arm, appeared to the first General Father of the Order, Blessed Simone Stock, to whom he gave "the scapular" with "Sabatini privilege", that is, the promise of salvation from 'Hell, for those who wear it and release from the punishment of Purgatory the following Saturday to their death. (Avvenire)
Etymology: Mary = loved by God, by the Egyptian; Lady, from Hebrew 
Roman Martyrology: Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, where once the prophet Elijah had brought the people of Israel to the worship of the living God and then withdrew hermits in search of solitude by instituting a contemplative life order under the patronage of the Holy Mother of God. On July 16, there is a very important Marian holiday in the Tradition of the Church: the Madonna of Carmel, one of the oldest and most loved devotions of Christianity, linked to the history and spiritual values ​​of the Order of the Friars of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel (Carmelites). The liturgical feast was set up to commemorate the appearance of St. Simone Stock on July 16, 1251, at the time of the General Carmelite Order, during which the Madonna handed him a scapular (from the Latin scapula, shoulder) to the fabric, revealing remarkable Privileges associated with his worship. In the First Book of Kings of the Old Testament it is said that the Prophet Elijah, who gathered a community of men right on Mount Carmel (in Aramaic "Garden"), worked in defense of the purity of faith in God, winning a challenge against priests Of God Baal. Here, later, Christian monastic communities settled. In the 11th century, the crusaders found religious men, probably of Maronite rites, who were called heirs of the disciples of the prophet Elijah and followed the rule of St. Basil. In about 1154, the noble Frenchman Bertoldo, who came to Palestine with his cousin Aimerio of Limoges, patriarch of Antioch, retired to the mountain, and it was decided to gather hermitages with Cenobitic life. The religious built a small church in the middle of their cells, dedicating it to the Virgin and named the Brothers of St. Mary of Mount Carmel. Carmel acquired, in this way, its two characteristic features: the reference to Elijah and the bond to Mary Most Holy. Mount Carmel, where Tradition affirms that here the sacred Family stood back from Egypt, is a mountainous chain, located in High Galilee, a region of the State of Israel and developing northwest-southeast from Haifa to Jenin. Between 1207 and 1209, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem (which then had its seat in St. John of Acre), Alberto di Vercelli, wrote for the hermits of Mount Carmel the first statutes (the so-called primitive rule or formula vitae). The Carmelites never recognized anyone as the founder, remaining faithful to the model he saw in the prophet Elijah as one of the fathers of monastic life.
The rule, which prescribed night vigilance, fasting, strict abstinence, the practice of poverty and silence, was approved on Jan. 30, 1226 by Pope Honorary III with the bubble Ut vivendi normam. Due to the incursions of the Saracens, around 1235, the friars had to leave the East to settle in Europe and their first convent found their home in Messina at the retreat. The news about the life of Saint Simone Stock (Aylesford, circa 1165 - Bordeaux, May 16, 1265) is scarce. After a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, the decision to enter the Carmelites matured and, after completing the studies in Rome, he was ordained a priest. Around 1247, when he was 82 years old, he was elected as the sixth general prize of the Order. He tried to reform the rule of the Carmelites by making a beggarious order: Pope Innocent IV in 1251 approved the new rule and guaranteed the Order's special protection by the Holy See.
Just to Saint Simone Stock, who propagated the devotion of the Madonna del Carmelo and composed for her a beautiful hymn, the Flos Carmeli, Madonna assured that to those who had been extinguished wearing the scapular would be released from the punishment of Purgatory, saying: "This It is the privilege for you and yours: anyone who dies by covering it will be safe" The consecration to the Madonna, through the scapular, translates first and foremost into the effort to imitate it, at least in the intentions, to do everything as you would do it.
Author: Cristina Siccardi

Spontaneous devotion to the Virgin Mary, always widespread in Christendom since the early apostolic times, has been in the centuries, as we say, officially under many titles, linked to its virtues (see the Laurence Litanies), to the places where the Shrines came and asked Nowadays are innumerable, to the appearances of the same Virgin in various places throughout the centuries, to the cult established and spread by Religious and Brotherhood Orders, to the dogmas promulgated by the Church. Mary contains many of those virtues and titles, in the centuries deepened in the Churches of the East and the West with famous conciliations and specific studies, so as to create a terminology and a science "Mariologica", and beyond the great singers of Mary in the " Within the Church, has inspired high poetry also in the laity, quoting for all the High Dante in his "prayer of s. Bernardo alla Vergine "in the XXXIII song of the Paradise of the Divine Comedy, expresses poetically the highest concepts of Mary's existence, conceived by God in the design of the salvation of humanity since the beginning of the world.

"Virgin Mother, your son's daughter, humble and taller than creature, A fixed term of eternal counsel, if you are human nature Noble yes, that his factor did not disdain to make his bill ... "

But the Marian cult bursts its roots, the only case of humanity, in the centuries before its very birth;Because the first prophet of Israel, Elias (IX century BC), dwelling on Mount Carmel, had the vision of the coming of the Virgin, rising like a small cloud from the earth to the mountain, carrying a providential rain, thus saving Israel from A devastating drought. In that small cloud, "as a hand of man," all mystical Christians and exegetes have always seen a prophetic image of the Virgin Mary, bringing in the divine Word, has given life and fertility to the world.
Tradition tells that even before Christianity, on Mount Carmel (Karmel = God's garden-paradise), hermits resigned, near the fountain of the Prophet Elijah, then the hermits continued to dwell there after the advent of Christianity and toward 93 A group of them called "Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel" built a chapel dedicated to the Virgin, always near the fountain of Elias.  So began a worship to Mary, the finest flower of that garden of God, which became the "Star of the Polar, Star of Maris" of the Christian people. And on Carmel, which is a mountain range that extends from the Gulf of Haifa to the Mediterranean, to the plain of Esdrelon, recalled several times in Sacred Scripture for its vegetation, beauty and fertility, continued to live in the hermitages, until the second half of sec. XII, some Western pilgrims arrived, probably following the last crusades of the century;Continuing the centuries-old Marian cult, they joined in a religious Order founded in honor of the Virgin, to which the aforementioned religious were professed particularly bonded. The Order therefore did not have a true founder, even though he regarded Prophet Elijah as his patriarch and model; The Patriarch of Jerusalem s. Alberto Avogadro (1206-1214), originally from Italy, dictated a 'Rule of Life', approved in 1226 by Pope Honorius III. Forced to leave Palestine because of the Saracen invasion, the Carmelite monks, as they were now called, fled to the West, where they founded several monasteries: Messina and Marseilles in 1238;Kent in England in 1242; Pisa in 1249; Paris in 1254, spreading the cult of Colei that "it was given to the glory of Lebanon, the splendor of Carmel and Saron" (Is 35: 2). On July 16, 1251, the Virgin surrounded by angels and with the Child in her arms appeared to the first General Father of the Order, Blessed Simone Stock, to whom she gave the 'scapular' with 'Sabatini privilege', which consists of the promise of salvation from 'Hell, for those who wear it and urges liberation from the punishment of Purgatory the following Saturday to their death. The 'scapular', also known as 'habit', is not a simple devotion, but a symbolic form of 'lining' that invokes the Carmelite robe and also a reliance on the Virgin, to live under his protection, and ultimately an alliance and a Communion between Mary and the faithful. Pope Pius XII stated that "who wears it is associated more or less closely with the Carmelite Order," adding "how many good souls had, even in humanitarian despair circumstances, their supreme conversion and their eternal salvation to the Scapular that they wore! How many, moreover, in the dangers of the body and the soul, have, through it, felt the maternal protection of Mary! Devotion to the Scapular has poured over the world, rivers of spiritual and temporal graces. "Other popes have approved and recommended worship, the same blessed John XXIII wore it, it consists of two pieces of woolen cloth joined by a lanyard, leaning on the shoulder blades and the two pieces there is the image of the Madonna. In the golden age of the foundations of the principal religious orders, that is, in the thirteenth century, the worship of the Virgin Mary had devoted propagators: the Franciscans (1209), the Dominicans (1216), the Carmelites (1226), the Augustinians (1256) , The Mercedari (1218) and the Servants of Mary (1233), to which other Orders and Congregations were added in subsequent centuries, constituting a perennial praise to the common Mother and Queen. The Carmelite Order from Mount Carmel in Palestine, where the great Carmelite monastery "Stella Maris" is currently located, spread throughout Europe, knowing in the sec. XVI the reforming work of the two great Spanish mystics Giovanni della Croce and Teresa d'Avila, for which today the Carmelites are distinguished in two Families: "barefoot" or "teresian" (the result of the reform of the two saints) and those without adjectives or "Of ancient observance". In the Carmelite Order are flourishing exceptional figures of holiness, mysticism, claustral spirituality, and martyrdom; We recall some: S. Teresa d'Avila (1582) Doctor of the Church; St. John of the Cross (1591) Doctor of the Church; Santa Maria Maddalena of the Pazzi (1607); St. Teresa of the Child Jesus (1897), Doctor of the Church; Blessed Simone Stock (1265); S. Angelo Martyr in Sicily (1225);Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity Catez (1906); S. Raffaele Kalinowski (1907); Blessed Tito Brandsma (1942); St. Teresa Benedict of the Cross (Edith Stein, 1942); Sister Lucia, Fatima's Seer, etc. As Madonna del Carmine is also called, churches and shrines are dedicated everywhere, thanks to the promise made with the scapular, is also honored as "Madonna del Suffragio" and is sometimes depicted as being drawn from the flames of the atonement Of purgatory purified souls. Particularly in Naples it is revered as S. Maria La Bruna, because its iconic, most remarkable species by men in the Shrine of the Carmine Maggiore, so closely linked to the seventeenth-century events of Masaniello, grown in its shade, is dark in color and perhaps is the oldest Image known as 'Madonna del Carmine'. During all the centuries spent in her devotion, she has always been represented with the Child Jesus in her arm or in her womb that carries the 'scapular' (everything leads to Jesus), and with the star on the mantle (usually in the oriental icons to assert her virginity). His liturgical recital is on July 16, the day when in 1251, he appeared to Blessed Simone Stock, giving him the "dresser". Author: Antonio Borrelli

 "Flos Carmeli"

Flos Carmeli, vitis florigera, splendor coeli, Virgo puerpera, singularis.
Mater mitis, sed viri nescia, carmelitis esto propitia, stella maris.
Radix Iesse, germinans flosculum, hic adesse me tibi servulum patiaris.
Inter spinas quae crescis lilium, serva puras mentes fragilium, tutelaris!
Armatura fortis pugnantium, furunt bella tende praesidium scapularislo
Per incerta prudens consilium, per adversa iuge solatium largiaris.
Mater dulcis, Carmeli domina, plebem tuam reple laetitia qua bearis.
Paradisi clavis et ianua, fac nos duci quo, Mater, coronaris. Amen.

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