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of the Day

 Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, WisconsinJuly 11, 2003 Issue 

Site links Mary, Carmelites

Feast remembers an apparition and Mary's giving of the scapular

By Roger Vanden Busch

July 16, 2003, Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

READINGS: Zec 2:14-17; Lk 11:27-28

Saint of the Day graphic

"While Jesus was speaking to the crowd a woman called out, 'Blest is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!' 'Rather,' he replied, 'blest are they who hear the word of God and keep it.'"

REFLECTION: Mt. Carmel is a prominent site in the Holy Land. The prophet Elijah found refuge in a cave there after he fled those who persecuted him. While dwelling in the cave, he prayed for enlightenment and sought the presence of God in wind, fire, thunder and earthquake. However, he encountered God in a "still, quiet voice."

Today Mt. Carmel is referred as the Mount of St. Elijah. According to legend, devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel began when Mary appeared to an English Carmelite, St. Simon Stock. She gave him a scapular as a sign of one's commitment to Jesus and the surrounding and permeating presence of God.

In the first reading, the author celebrates the presence of God in the midst of his people and the reconciliation of nations. The prophet calls for silence in the Lord's presence. Often silence says more than thousands of words which fail to meet the point. In the Gospel, the woman who cries out is found only in Luke. In essence she says, "How happy the mother of such a son must be." Mark Twain is quoted as saying, "I was not an easy child to raise, but I think my mother enjoyed it." Jesus cautions us to hear the word of God and to keep it, and more importantly to live it and share it!

RELEVANCE: Perhaps scapulars are not worn as much today as they were 20 years ago. However, is your commitment to Jesus obvious to others?

"Because she understood me far better than I myself could understand; Because her faith in me ... Because of her undying love for me, I better comprehend the love of God" (author unknown).

In the midst of a flurry of daily activity, it is hard to focus on the presence of God or find that island of silence that reminds us of our commitment to Jesus. Often God comes to us in ordinary happenings of each day which become fodder for our spiritual life. It was early, before breakfast, when a youngster walked onto a newly cleaned floor with muddy feet and hands behind his back. Just as the mother was about to get angry, the boy offered the bunch of wildflowers he had just picked. "It is your birthday, Mommy. Happy Birthday!"

RESPONSE: Wear an internal or external symbol of your commitment to Jesus.

(Vanden Busch, a Green Bay educator, is a columnist for Catechist magazine. A compilation of his columns is available through Notre Dame Middle School, De Pere.)

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