One Sunday afternoon after the 3:30 Mass a lady came up to me and asked, “How can you best minister to the children?”  To be very honest, I didn’t know what to say then.

Teaching children may not be easy.  However, I always start by loving them and not being afraid of them.  Some teachers feel intimidated by the young people because they have the idea that every teacher must be an expert in order to reach them and help them.  The philosophy is false.  While there are teachers to whom God has given special gifts for working with young people, this doesn’t mean that the average teacher must sit on the sidelines.  If you’re sincere, loving and real, they’ll respect you; and if you listen to them, they will listen to you.  Young people are looking for reality, so be a real person, not a counterfeit teenager or a child.  Act like a mature adult and they will accept you; imitate them and they may laugh at you.

(It all happened at Mount Carmel, a beautiful mountain range in Palestine overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.  It is not too far from Nazareth.

 

About eight hundred fifty years before the birth of Christ, the prophet Elijah lived a holy and penitential life on the heights of Mount Carmel.  He saw a Lady prefigured in a little cloud that rose over the sea, bringing rain and new life to the parched earth.  He and his followers honored the coming of the Mother of the Messiah.

 

Centuries after, during the early morning on July 16, 1251, our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared to St. Simon Stock of the Carmelite Order.  She was holding a brown scapular accompanied by multitude of angels.  She said to him: “Receive, my beloved son, this scapular of your Order.  This shall be to you and all the Carmelites a privilege that whoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire.  It is the badge of salvation, a protection in danger, a pledge of peace and eternal alliance.”

 

Full of consolation and courage by our Lady, Simon wrote a detailed account of our Lady’s visit and promises.  Devotion to the scapular began to spread.  Miracles took place by means of the scapular, not only in St. Simon’s day, but through the centuries and even today.  Through the scapular the dead have risen, memories have been restored, fires have been extinguished, shipwrecks have been avoided, bullets have been flattened, swords have been blunted, sights has been restored, the sick have been cured, floods have been halted, the drowning have been rescued, souls have been converted and saved.

 

The saints through the ages have had personal love and devotion for the scapular.  It is not two little tabs attached strings that matter so much as it is our Lady who is so all important.  It is love for and consecration to Mary that matters.  The scapular is an outward sign of that consecration, and it is the sign given by her.  She loves it, she blesses it.  So, too, does she love the devout wearer and she blesses him or her.

 

Our confidence and trust is not in the brown cloth; it is in the intercession of the powerful Mother of God who has made a promise and who is able to keep that promise.

 

Our Lady’s last visit to Bernadette at Lourdes was on July 16th, the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  Bernadette said that never had she looked so beautiful as she did then.  The last vision at Fatima as seen by Lucy on October 13th was of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  Lucy said that she understood by that apparition that the rosary and the scapular are inseparable.  Through the scapular we consecrate ourselves to Mary.  We wear her livery, her garment, to honor her, to show our love for her.  In trying to imitate her we become more pleasing to God, and we draw closer to Him on the path of holiness.  Mary will then be with us at death, and her loving hands will reach out to take us to heaven.

 

On his death bed, St. Simon at the age of ninety sought the solitude of his tiny room where he is confined and spent the entire night on his knees.  His beautiful prayer, “Flos Carmeli,” has come down to us:  “Flowers of Carmel, blooming vine, splendor of heaven, Mother divine, none like you!  Mother of meekness, peerless you are!  To your children favors impart, Star of the Sea!”

 

He looked up to heaven and the room was flooded with a great light.

 

Sources:

Holy Scripture: 1 Kings 18:41-46

Cause of Our Joy by Sister Mary Francis Le Blanc, O. Carm.

Life of Mary by Mother Mary of Agreda

The Lowly Life of Lord Jesus and His Blessed Mother

by: Sister Anna Catherine Emmerich

As Filipinos we are noted for our love of family. It is from our families that we first learn to love and respect human lives.  We believe that children are a gift from God and a blessing from the Lord.  We treasure our elderly with respect, love and attention.  Strong family ties bind all members that even after marriage some prefer to stay with their parents.

Sunday Mass Schedule Effective March 2011

6:30am - Filipino
8:00am - English
9:30am - English
11:00am - English

12:15n.n - English

3:30pm - Filipino
5:00pm - English
6:30pm - English
8:00pm - English

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