What a beautiful way to think about our relationship with Mary: we are in her arms–restful, and at complete ease–because it is in her arms that we find ourselves closest to our Lord and protected from all evil and anxiety.
That’s the image I will hold in my mind as I fall into sleep tonight.
Here are the words:
You took me in your arms.
Ever since that day, dear Mother,
You’ve protected me here below.
To preserve my innocence,
You placed me in a soft nest.
You watched over my childhood
In the shade of a holy cloister.
Later, in the days of my youth,
I heard Jesus’ call!…
In your ineffable tenderness,
You showed Carmel to me.
“Come, my child, be generous,”
You sweetly said to me.
“Near me, you’ll be happy,
Come sacrifice yourself for your Savior.”
Close to you, 0 my loving Mother!
I’ve found rest for my heart.
I want nothing more on earth.
Jesus alone is all my happiness.
If sometimes I feel sadness
And fear coming to assail me,
Always supporting me in my weakness,
Mother, you deign to bless me.
Grant that I may be faithful
To my divine Spouse Jesus.
One day may his sweet voice call me
To flyaway among the elect.
Then, no more exile, no more suffering.
In Heaven I’ll keep repeating
The song of my gratitude,
Lovable Queen of Carmel!
According to the most ancient Carmelite chronicles, the Order has its origins with the disciples of the prophets Elias and Eliseus. They lived in caves on Mount Carmel. They honored the Queen of Heaven as the Virgin who is to give birth to the Saviour. When the reality replaced the symbol, the pious ascetics of Carmel were converted to the Christian Faith. In the 12th century, many pilgrims from Europe who had followed the Crusaders came to join the solitaries. A rule was established and the Order began to spread to Europe.
Amid the many persecutions raised against the Order of Mount Carmel, newly arrived in Europe, Saint Simon Stock, General of the Order, turned with filial confidence to the Blessed Mother of God. As he knelt in prayer on July 16, 1251, in the White Friars’ convent at Cambridge, She appeared before him and presented him with the well-known brown scapular, a loose sleeveless garment destined for the Order of Carmel, reaching from the shoulders to the knees. It was given as an assurance, for all who died wearing it, of Her heavenly protection from eternal death. An extraordinary promise indeed, but one requiring a life of prayer and sacrifice.
Devotion to the blessed habit spread quickly throughout the Christian world. Pope after Pope enriched it with indulgences, and innumerable miracles put their seal upon its efficacy.
At Lourdes in 1858, the Virgin chose to make Her last apparition on July 16th, feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the day the Church commemorates Her apparition to Saint Simon Stock. And at Fatima on October 13, 1917, it is as Our Lady of Mount Carmel that Mary appeared when She said farewell to the three children. Throughout the ages, the Queen of Carmel has always kept a faithful watch over the destinies of Her cherished children on earth.