The Irish Chapter gathered for the Holy Hour, Adoration and Celebration of the Eucharist on July 16th, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. What a fitting tribute to this Most Beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel for John Paul II had such love and confidence in her. He wore the Brown Scapular not only because of this great love and devotion, but because of the protection he felt when he was clothed in her habit.
As always at Our Holy Hour the Rosary is recited and the intentions of everyone gathered, all that have asked us to pray for them, the prayers and needs of the people involved in the Chapters around the globe, all are brought before Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament exposed on the alter, Our Blessed Mother Mary, St. John Paul II, and all the saints. Each decade of the Rosary of Light is prayed through the Letters and writings of John Paul 11, where he expressed his deep love for Family, Peace, Unity, and Young People.
Following the Rosary, we have Silent Adoration, to sit in the silence and allow God to speak into our hearts. We finish the Holy Hour with the prayer to our Beloved John Paul II.
Just before the Celebration of the Eucharist began Fr. Billy Swan our celebrant for the John Paul II Chapter spoke of how wonderful it was to see such a large crowd in attendance. To praise and thank God for the beauty of his creation which is so evident at this time of year, the beautiful sunshine and the colors and abundance of the flowers.
Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and it’s always very special to celebrate the Eucharist on the Feast of Our Lady. We remember all Carmelites today, all who wear the Brown Scapular, the Contemplatives too and their ministry in the Church.
The apostolic motto of John Paul II was Totus Tuus, Totally Yours, this sums up for us the disposition of our Lady before God, her total Yes to Him, her total weight was behind it, the weight of her being. Every act of her mind, heart, soul and spirit were behind her Yes to the Angel Gabriel.
So as we begin our celebration of the Eucharist this evening, let this be our prayer for ourselves and each other that we will say Yes to the Eucharist, Yes to the Word, Yes to the Real Presence, and Yes to the gift of Himself that He is about to offer us in Holy Communion. So, for such a sublime gift we recollect our minds and thoughts and immerse ourselves before God in love and humility.
Following the Readings Fr. Billy gave his homily which was based on the Gospel reading of Mathew 11: 20:24
While visiting the Holy Land last October and travelling the North side of the Lake of Galilee, we came into the three towns mentioned in two days Gospel, namely Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. These were once vibrant commercial towns, but Jesus had prophesied the demise of these towns because the people had turned their backs on God and living their lives the way they wanted to.
It is very easy to talk about the love of God but it is harder to talk about His Judgement and His anger. Many years ago, Missionaries spoke with Brimstone and Fire for those that did not obey the laws of God, and pointed out the consequences for turning away from him. Nowadays we talk of God as Love and Mercy and that is correct. He is a Merciful and Loving God. He loves us unconditionally, loves us as we are. He gave up His Son for the salvation of the World.
In the message of the Gospel today there is a different element to it, a side of Jesus which represents a tough message. Jesus is a little angry, he is not the nice gentle Jesus. He says things that are tough and very challenging. God warns them if they keep on going the way they are, which was one of apathy and rejecting his message, then they would be heading for destruction and ruin.
Gods wrath is an expression of His Love. It’s very important to understand what’s been said here, and that the God of love expresses his love through his wrath. One thing God doesn’t do is punish his people if they don’t love him as they ought. He doesn’t tell them to act this way or do this or I’ll punish you or come down on you. No God is not like that, that is Blackmail. That is not love. What happens is God allows us to suffer the consequences of our actions if we reject him or disobey him, its Spiritual physics, it is the Law of the Spiritual Life.
God has worked miracles in these towns, and they have just rejected him and are full of apathy and don’t care. He warns them if they continue, he will leave them to their own devices, and they will wither and die and self-destruct.
These are important lessons for each one to acknowledge, there is so much apathy against God today in our world. The first place for it to be seen is when the soul dies, when the joy of life is gone. It’s not that their lives fall apart its more a sadness of the Soul, a sort of wasteland. When people are filled with the love of God and walk in His ways, their Spirit is alive, and they have Joy.
God is a God of Love and Mercy, his heart bleeds for us when he sees us suffer, or in poverty or in need of any kind. God’s love is a powerful thing, it’s not superficial, his love is tough, and it’s deep and it goes where it needs to go.
It’s a challenging gospel, it’s another expression of the love of God. It’s the passionate love of God and he wants to show us the importance of staying on the right road and keeping our lives holy by following His way.
The Eucharist conclude with a Final Prayer and Hymn to Our Lady, Queen of Heaven.
On a personal note, I always had great devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Over the years my mother would always write to the Poor Clare’s the Carmelite Order if she needed prayers for anything. Such was her faith that she believed that once you took pen to paper to write to them the petitions were already been heard. They would always send back the Brown Scapular and the Unfailing Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Through the years my devotion grew towards her too, and today now that my mother has passed on, I write to them on behalf of people who need prayer.
Just before the birth of our last child I had some complications, the doctor said the baby’s heart was very weak and they needed to do an emergency section, I had the Brown Scapulars in my hand and I clung on to it for dear life, I implored our Lady to help me and to bring the baby safely into the World. Within minutes of my prayer a baby girl was born, natural birth, no section. A beautiful baby girl. We called her Mary Carmel. I am so grateful to our lady of `Mount Carmel for so many favors and prayers heard throughout the years.
This is the prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Oh Most Beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful vine, Splendor of Heaven, O Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate virgin assists me in this my necessity,
O Star of the Sea, help me and show me you are my Mother,
O Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart to succor me in this my necessity, (here mention your request)
There are none that can withstand your power,
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee, (say three times)
Holy Mary I place this cause in your hands (say three times)