QUEEN of Carmel, hear the voice of the Church as she sings to you on this day. When the world was languishing in ceaseless expectation, you were already its hope. Unable as yet to understand your greatness, it nevertheless, during the reign of types, loved to clothe you with the noblest symbols. In admiration, and in gratitude for benefits foreseen, it surrounded you with all the notions of beauty, strength and grace suggested by the loveliest land scapes, the flowery plains, the wooded heights, the fertile valleys, especially of Carmel, whose very name signifies “the plantation of the Lord.” On its summit our fathers, knowing that Wisdom had set her throne in the cloud, hastened by their burning desires the coming of the saving sign: there at length was given to their prayers what the Scripture calls perfect knowledge, and the knowledge of the great paths of the clouds (Job xxxvii. 16). And when he who makes his chariot and his dwelling in the obscurity of a cloud had therein shown himself, in a nearer approach, to the practised eye of the father of prophets, then did a chosen band of holy persons gather in the solitudes of the blessed mountain, as heretofore Israel in the desert, to watch the least movements of the mysterious cloud, to receive from it their guidance in the paths of life, and their light in the long night of expectation.
O Mary, who from that hour presided over the watches of God’s army without ever failing for a single day: now that the Lord has truly come down through you, it is no longer the land of Judaea alone, but the whole Earth that you cover as a cloud, shedding down blessings and abundance. Your ancient clients, the sons of the prophets, experienced this truth when, the land of promise becoming unfaithful, they were forced to transplant into other climes their customs and traditions. They found that even into our far West, the cloud of Carmel had poured its fertilising dew, and that nowhere would its protection be wanting to them. This feast, O Mother of our God, is the authentic attestation of their gratitude, increased by the fresh benefits with which your bounty accompanied the new exodus of the remnant of Israel. And we, the sons of ancient Europe, we too have a right to echo the expression of their loving joy, for since their tents have been pitched around the hills where the new Sion is built on Peter, the cloud has shed all around showers of blessing more precious than ever, driving back into the abyss the flames of Hell, and extinguishing the fire of Purgatory.
While, then, we join with them in thanksgiving to you, deign yourself, O Mother of divine grace, to pay our debt of gratitude to them. Protect them ever. Guard them in these unhappy times when the hypocrisy of modern persecutors has more fatal results than the rage of the Saracens. Preserve the life in the deep roots of the old stock, and rejoice it by the accession of new branches bearing, like the old ones, flowers and fruits that will be pleasing to you, O Mary. Keep up in the hearts of the sons that spirit of retirement and contemplation which animated their fathers under the shadow of the cloud. May their sisters too, wherever the Holy Spirit has established them, be ever faithful to the traditions of the glorious past so that their holy lives may avert the tempest and draw down blessings from the mysterious cloud. May the perfume of penance that breathes from the holy mountain purify the now corrupted atmosphere around, and may Carmel ever present to the Spouse the type of the beauties He loves to behold in His Bride!
May you have a beautiful feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
~Image: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel with her divine son, Jesus Christ.