|15th Sunday in Ordinary Time|
Contributed by: Reverend Patrick Dooling, Parochial Vicar, San Carlos Cathedral, Monterey, CA
In the Catholic Church this Monday, July 16, we celebrate a lovely feast in honor of Mary, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. This is especially significant for us Californians who live on the Peninsula: Carmelite friars--not Franciscans!--celebrated the first Mass in what is now California and we are blessed to have the Carmelite Sisters living just minutes away in their monastery in Carmel. Having been blessed to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and to visit Mt Carmel, I can tell you it is a rugged and beautiful site with a simple Carmelite friary and church.
So what does this feast commemorate? In 1251 the Blessed Mother appeared to a Carmelite, St Simon Stock, and made a promise regarding the brown scapular. If out of devotion to her, someone were to wear this tiny mini-version of the Carmelite habit, Mary promises to ensure that he or she reaches heaven after death. [During World War II Catholics in the military complained that in the heat and humidity of the South Pacific several cloth scapulars fell apart. The Church then authorized the Scapular Medal, which I wear.] We are not dealing with a magic talisman here: we are seeking to externalize our love for the Blessed Mother and our trust in her protection and prayer for us. An analogy would be a wedding ring, a blessed and sacred object which makes clear to whom we belong.