16 July – Memorial for Our Lady of Mount Carmel
The Church celebrates on this day the feast of the Scapular of Mount Carmel. The scapular, which derives its name from the Latin word scapulæ, meaning shoulders, is a dress which covers the shoulders. It is best known among as the name of two little pieces of cloth worn out of devotion to the Blessed Virgin over the shoulders, under the ordinary garb, and connected by strings.
The devotion of the scapular began with the Carmelites. During the 13th century the Carmelite Order suffered great persecution, and on 16 July 1251, while Saint Simon Stock, then general of the Order, was at prayer, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him, holding in her hand a scapular. Giving it to the saint, she said,
“Receive, my dear son, this scapular of thy Order, as the distinctive sign of my confraternity, and the mark of the privilege which I have obtained for thee and the children of Carmel. It is a sign of salvation, a safeguard in danger, and a special pledge of peace and protection till the end of time. Whosoever dies wearing this shall be preserved from eternal flames.”
It is much to be wished that people should everywhere join this confraternity, for the honour of Mary and for the salvation of souls, by a life fitted to that end. In order to have a share in the merits of the sodality, every member must:
1. Shun sin and, according to his state of life, live chastely.
2. Say everyday, if possible, seven times the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.
3. Strive to serve God by venerating Mary, and imitating her virtues.
Though not binding under penalty of sin, the breach of these rules deprives us of all merit.
– Patron Saint Index
Woe to those who plot evil,
who lie in bed planning mischief!
No sooner is it dawn than they do it
– their hands have the strength for it.
Seizing the fields that they covet,
they take over houses as well,
owner and house they confiscate together,
taking both man and inheritance.
So the Lord says this:
Now it is I who plot
such mischief against this breed
as your necks will not escape;
nor will you be able to walk proudly,
so evil will the time be.
On that day they will make a satire on you,
sing a dirge and say,
‘We are stripped of everything;
my people’s portion is measured out and shared,
no one will give it back to them,
our fields are awarded to our despoiler.’
Therefore you will have no one
to measure out a share
in the community of the Lord.
The Pharisees went out and began to plot against him, discussing how to destroy him.
Jesus knew this and withdrew from the district. Many followed him and he cured them all, but warned them not to make him known. This was to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah:
Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
my beloved, the favourite of my soul.
I will endow him with my spirit,
and he will proclaim the true faith to the nations.
He will not brawl or shout,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.
He will not break the crushed reed,
nor put out the smouldering wick
till he has led the truth to victory:
in his name the nations will put their hope.
Woe to those who plot evil.
When one tries to plot evil, he must be a really busy person. He would likely have to think of how to execute the action, then make sure it causes some kind of inconvenience to others that fulfils his motives before planning the exit strategy. Does this sound like I am used to strategising evil plans all the time? I am guilty of plotting actions that have been selfish and with a motive specifically for personal gain. I believe my intentions were quite harmless, but it would have caused someone some grief and major disappointment.
In today’s gospel, we learn that God does not plot evil and how He has plans that were being spoken about in the Old Testament. We know that our Father is loving and organised in the affairs of this world, His plans are all about preparing us for eternal life back with Him. He probably has a thick file on exit strategies, and follow up plans to make each of our lives better. Jesus constantly proves himself during his short mission, performing miracles to the lowliest of people, forgiving those who are repentant, loving everyone around Him like children. His humility and kind heartedness is more than for us to admire; rather, it is to show ourselves that being a beautiful person is all possible in the teachings of our God.
As we come to the end of another work week of being ordinary, let us take some time off away from work to build a plan of goodness. Perhaps to include tasks that unite the family and children, a plan to make an unfortunate neighbour more comfortable or a plan to increase our faith in Christ. Let us plot goodness, not for recognition, but to be unseen and to hold on to the humility in the likeness of Jesus and Mary.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Austin Leong)
Prayer: We pray for those who have suffered as a result of evil doers, that their heart will be big and forgiving despite the difficult emotions that they have to go through.
Thanksgiving: Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for He is kind, for He works miracles.