LINCOLN (CNA/SNR) - The Blessed Virgin Mary aids Catholics in spiritual warfare, the bishop of Lincoln told a monastery of Carmelite nuns July 16, at a Mass celebrating the Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
“Our Lady of Mt. Carmel reminds us of the importance of our interior lives – not only for our own salvation, but the salvation of souls through Christ’s Church,” said Bishop James Conley, while celebrating Mass at the Carmelite Monastery of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in Valparaiso. The Mass concluded the annual July 8-16 preached novena held each year in honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Mentioning the Biblical prophet Elijah, who is said to have resided in a cave on Israel’s Mount Carmel, the bishop said that “Carmel was the place from which Elijah exercised the great prophetic charism to which the Lord had called him.“
In particular, the bishop mentioned an encounter on Mount Carmel between Elijah and prophets of the idol Baal, recounted in 1 Kings, in which an altar at which prayed to God was lit aflame, a feat which the Idol’s prophets were not able to replicate.
In a similar way, the bishops told the nuns, “Carmel is the place where the Lord calls you, often, to real spiritual warfare for the salvation of souls. Carmel is the place where the glory of the Lord is revealed through you. And Carmel is the place from which you are called to exercise the prophetic ministry to which every member of Christ’s body is called, and to which you, in a special way as nuns, are called.”
“Our Lady is with you – she whose very soul proclaimed God’s greatness, who bore in her womb the salvation of the world. She too is in Carmel.”
The bishop also mention devotion to the scapular, long associated with Our Lady of Mount Carmel, who is said to have conveyed a scapular to St. Simon Stock in the 13th century.
“Our Lady of Mt. Carmel clothed St. Simon Stock with the scapular. In so doing, she reminds us that she clothed the child Jesus, lovingly protecting him and wrapping him in her own mantle.”
Quoting St. John Paul II, he said Catholics must ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to “clothe each of us with the wisdom and love of her divine Son.”
Finally, the bishop mentioned that the scapular, like other sacramentals and devotions, are “a reminder that the Church is the sacrament of our salvation, and that the tangible expressions of the faith the Church gives us are gifts, meant to guide us to intimacy with Jesus, and, ultimately, to salvation.”
The Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph near Valparaiso and Agnew was dedicated and consecrated Dec. 14, 2001. The Carmelites devote their lives to prayer, strive to live a life hidden with Christ, and honor the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Carmel chapel is open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, Holy Mass is 7 a.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. weekends. First Friday holy hour is held at 5:30 p.m.
Young women who are discerning a religious vocation are asked to correspond by mail to 9300 Agnew Rd., Valparaiso, NE 68065.