Ave Maria Meditations
Prayer to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel: O Mary, Queen and Mother of Carmel, I come today to consecrate myself to you, for my whole life is but a small return for the many graces and blessings that have come from God to me through your hands. Since you look with special kindness on those who wear your Scapular, I implore you to strengthen my weakness with your power, to enlighten the darkness of my mind with your wisdom, and to increase in me Faith, Hope and Charity that I may repay each day my debt of humble homage to you.
May your Scapular bring me your special protection in my daily struggle to be faithful to your Divine Son and to you. May it separate me from all that is sinful in life and remind me constantly of my duty to imitate your virtues. From now on, I shall strive to live in God’s Presence, and offer all to Jesus through you. Dearest Mother, support me by your never-failing love and lead me to paradise through the merits of Christ and your own intercession. Amen.
A bit of history on Our Lady of Mt. Carmel:
The apparition of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, the patroness of the Carmelite Order, begins with St. Simon Stock. St. Simon lived in England and was born in the twelth century. Tradition has it that he lived in the trunk (stock) of a tree and this is how he came to be called. After joining the Carmelite Order he went to Mt. Carmel in the Holy Land, later returning to England. St. Simon was the superior of the Carmelites at age 82 in 1247 from Aylesford, England. He would live to be 100 years old!
It was in 1251 on July 16th that Our Lady of Mt. Carmel appeared to St. Simon with the brown scapular in her hand and holding the Christ Child. She said to him:
“Take, beloved son, this scapular of thy Order as a badge of my confraternity and for thee and all Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire. It is the sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant.”
The brown scapular continues to be the most popular of all scapulars. The apparition was approved by Pope Sixtus V in 1587.
Another brief explanation of the scapular is given as follows: The Brown Scapular is a Roman Catholic devotion to Mary under her title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It is worn as a sign of love and devotion for the Mother of God. The Carmelite Order, to which the Scapular belongs, originated on Mt. Carmel in the Holy Land and the Scapular is itself a reflection in miniature of the habit (scapular: a sleeveless outer garment falling from the shoulders) which the monks wear as a sign of their vocation and devotion. Over the years the scapular, at least for lay people, became much reduced in size to but small pieces of wool cloth suspended front and back.