Monday, July 16, 2018
Peace Through Strength
FEAST OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL
A word used to describe elements of our culture today is "unhinged." Yes, by and large, our culture is unhinged or "detached." We are detached from the Source--God--of our supernatural strength; the supernatural power of "grace." In fact, the critical underlying problem is an epidemic of disbelief in the supernatural. Our culture is supernaturally weak. In the culture and on the political stage, this being "unhinged" has led to anarchy and discord. In our homes and in our hearts it has led to distress and despair. No grace; No hope; No peace!
In the midst of a current epidemic of despair and suicide, even the Psychiatric community is surrendering to the solid evidence that "strong/devout faith" plays a key role in psychological well-being. Applied to our nation's desire to avoid war, President Ronald Reagan famously stated, "We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression." Yet, this is all too true when we apply it to our own spiritual lives. God wants to walk with you in verdant pastures of tranquil repose and beside restful waters. Yes! God wants you to be happy and at "peace."
But, how do we get to this place of peace? God has revealed the prescription in so many ways that all boil down to: "When you are well-connected with Me and supernaturally strong, you will find peace." Moreover, if you are supernaturally strong--"grace shields up!"--and ready for anything, the devil and his minions are less apt to disturb your peace. Yes, "Peace Through Strength." We all know there is an urgent need to make our homes, parishes, communities, country and world strong again. And, deep down, we all know that those places will become strong once we, ourselves, become strong once again. Make America Holy Again begins with each individual's pursuit of sanctity; pursuit of supernatural strength. In this pursuit, we must be willing to accept this challenge and say, "I'm Going In!"
FEAST OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL
Acts, Chapter 27, verse 17
They hoisted it aboard, then used cables to undergird the ship. Because of their fear that they would run aground on the shoal of Syrtis, they lowered the drift anchor and were carried along in this way.
Seamen of Paul’s time often to save a ship in heavy seas would pass a cable several times under and around a ship and tightening it on deck, to prevent the working and parting of the timbers and planks in a gale. Additionally to prevent the ship from getting stuck in the quicksand of the shoal of Syrtis the seamen lowered the drift anchor.
The church is our boat using a metaphor and with the current world situation with the persecution of Christians, not only in the Middle East, but throughout the world; to which could be added the storms given the church by secularists and atheists; our church is definitely being assaulted by an evil Northeasterner. We need to pass the cables around our church and put out the drift anchor to keep from being lost.
The cables that bind our church are the seven sacraments. We need to use them all. If single, consider Holy Orders; if parents encourage your children in seeking vocations; get married, if you are living with another, and be open to children; go to confession and mass; baptize your children and be confirmed by the priests; seek healing of your body and soul when seriously ill.
Let your prayers be your drift anchor.
Only one thing is important -- eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared--sin? Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for "The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us."
Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
THE Church celebrates on this day the feast of the Scapular of Mount Carmel. The scapular, which derives its name from the Latin word scapulas, meaning shoulders, is a dress which covers the shoulders. It is mentioned in the rule of St. Benedict as worn by monks over their other dress when they were at work, and it now forms a regular part of the religious dress in the old Orders. But it is best known among Catholics as the name of two little pieces of cloth worn out of devotion to the Blessed Virgin over the shoulders, under the ordinary garb, and connected by strings. The devotion of the scapular, now almost universal in the Catholic Church, began with the Carmelites. The history of its origin is as follows: During the thirteenth century the Carmelite Order suffered great persecution, and on July 16, 1251, while St. Simon Stock, then general of the Order, was at prayer, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him, holding in her hand a scapular. Giving it to the saint, she said,” Receive, my dear son, this scapular of thy Order, as the distinctive sign of my confraternity, and the mark of the privilege which I have obtained for thee and the children of Carmel. It is a sign of salvation, a safeguard in danger, and a special pledge of peace and protection till the end of time.” “Whosoever dies wearing this shall be preserved from eternal flames.” It is much to be wished that people should everywhere join this confraternity, for the honor of Mary and for the salvation of souls, by a life fitted to that end. In order to have a share in the merits of the sodality every member must:
1. Shun sin, and, according to his state of life, live chastely.
2. Say every day, if possible, seven times, Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father.
3. Strive to serve God by venerating Mary and imitating her virtues. These rules, it is true, are not binding under penalty of sin, but the breach of them deprives us of all merit; and is not this something to be taken into account? “He who soweth sparingly shall also reap sparingly.” (n. Cor. ix. 6).
Things to Do
· If you have not already done so, have a priest enroll you in the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, or popularly known as the "Brown Scapular" and begin wearing it as a sign of your love for Our Lady.
· Wearing the Brown Scapular is not an automatic guarantee of salvation. It is not a magical charm, nor is it an excuse to live in a way contrary to the teachings of the Church. (see Catechism, no. 1670.)
· See the Directory on Popular Piety the Brown Scapular is included in the document as a wonderful pious practice. The history of Marian piety also includes "devotion" to various scapulars, the most common of which is devotion to the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Its use is truly universal and, undoubtedly, it is one of those pious practices which the Council described as "recommended by the Magisterium throughout the centuries."
· Pope John Paul II has worn the scapular for a long time. See the Holy Father's talk on the Scapular of Carmel, A Treasure for the Church.
· For the definitive treatment on the brown scapular, read The Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Catechesis and Ritual.
· The Blessed Virgin's scapular should remind us that Christians have an apostolate against current extremes and extravagances in modes of dress. Clothes are a symbol of the person. Like the Christian heart, dress must be chaste and simple, for one judges the interior from the exterior. It should not be necessary to add that special attention be given this matter when preparing for church attendance. Examine yourself on how well you reflect Christian modesty in your dress and if you are a parent, how well you ensure that your children are modestly dressed.
· In New York City in East Harlem is one of the oldest festivals in America for Our Lady of Mount Carmel. See Our Lady of Mount Carmel Shrine of East Harlem – since 1881. Also Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY annually holds the Festival of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and St. Paulinus of Nola (Festa Del Giglio). It is unique to see a scene that one would expect in Europe unfolding on the street of a major East coast city. You can view a You Tube clip right here. Also look around your area for Italian parishes, maybe one named after Our Lady of Mount Carmel? Many times the parish will host wonderful festivals in her honor.
· Watch this You Tube video to learn more about devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
· From the Catholic Culture library, the Scapular Devotion, a description of Different Kinds of Scapulars, The Brown Scapular and information on the Scapular Medal.
· Learn more about St. Simon Stock and the Brown Scapular.
Scapulars and Medals
Medals have been part of Catholic life since the early centuries of the Church. The most popular is the cross; even Protestants wear crosses minus the corpus while Catholics wear a crucifix. It is also noted that in the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe she is wearing a cross about her neck. We wear scapulars, too, which are mini habits of the religious orders. Pope John Paul II said that the scapular is a powerful precisely because it is a “habit” in every sense of the word, both a uniform and a pattern of good belief and good behavior. Since 1910, Catholics have been permitted to wear a scapular medal in place of a cloth scapular.
"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."
15. Be firm. Be virile. Be a man. And then... be a saint.
· Please pray for me and this ministry
· Please Pray for Senator McCain and our country; asking Our Lady of Beauraing to intercede.
· Pray our Democratic leaders confirm the new Supreme Court Judge.
Join the Peace through Strength group
Join the Peace through Strength group
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896
 Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 36 Scapulars and Medals.
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