Happy Feast Day of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel!
The children of the Prophets Sts. Elias and Eliseus solemnly commemorate their great Patroness, the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, chanting in the midst of the night at the Invitatory at Matins: "Dóminum, sedéntem super nubem levem, * Veníte, adorémus" "The Lord, siting upon a light cloud, * Come ye, let us adore" . The Invitatory alludes to the prodigious portent of the advent of Our Blessed Lady, mentioned also in Preface proper to this Feast Day found the Missal of the Friars of the Order of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel according to the Ancient Custom of the Church of Jerusalem :
|Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutáre, nos tibi semper, et ubíque grátias ágere: Dómine sancte, Pater omnípotens, ætérne Deus: Qui per nubem levem, de mari ascendéntem, immaculátam Vírginem Maríam beáto Elíæ Prophétæ mirabíliter præsignásti: eíque cultum a fíliis prophetárum præstári voluísti. Quos autem beáta Virgo hodiérna die per sacrum Scapuláre, in fílios dilectiónis assúmpsit, eodémque indútos, ac pie moriéntes, ad montem sanctum tuum quantócius perdúcere dignéris. Et ídeo cum Angelis et Archángelis, cum Thronis et Dominatiónibus, cumque omni milítia cæléstis exércitus, hymnum glóriæ tuæ cánimus, sine fine dicéntes: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, &c.
Truly it is worthy and just, becoming and healthful, that we should ever and everywhere make thanksgiving unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: Who by a light cloud, ascending from the sea, didst wonderfully foreshadow the spotless Virgin Mary unto the blessed Prophet Elias, and didst will that the sons of the prophets should pay homage unto her; whom, moreover, the blessed Virgin on this day hath taken up as children of predilection by the sacred Scapular, and those dying, devoutly clothed in the same, Thou dost deign to lead more speedily unto Thy holy Mountain; and therefore together with the Angels and Archangels, with the Thrones and Dominions, and together with all the warriors of the celestial hosts, do we sing the hymn of Thy glory, endlessly proclaiming: Holy, Holy, Holy, &c.
The event mentioned in the Preface is narrated in the Epistle for the Mass of the Solemn Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel proper to the Carmelite Missal. The Lord God had stricken Israel with a drought in punishment for its apostasy, and the impious Achab falsely blames the Prophet Elias for the consequent famine, at which he commands Achab to gather atop Mount Carmel the prophets of the idol Baal, whom by a great sign of the heavenly fire he shows to be false and has them slain. Afterwards, “Elias went up into the top of Carmel, and flat on the earth put his face between his knees, and he said to his servant: Go up, and look toward the sea. Who when he was gone up, and had looked, he said: There is nothing. And again he said to him: Return seven times. And in the seventh time, behold, a little cloud as it were a man’s foot, came up from the sea. Who said: Go up and say to Achab: Yoke thy chariot and go down, lest the rain prevent thee. And when he turned himself hither and thither, behold, the heavens were darkened, and clouds and wind, and there fell a great rain” (III Kings ch. xviii., 42-45).
The little cloud beheld by the servant of the blessed Prophet, whom the Carmelites venerate as their Father Founder, has been regarded by the Saints and pious authors as an echo of the grand prophecy of the Redemption that the Lord God deigned to give unto Adam and Eve when He cursed the serpent, saying: “I will put enmities between thee and the Woman, and thy seed and the Seed of her: she shall bruise thy head in pieces, and thou shalt lie in wait of her heel” (Gen. ch. iii., 15). This little cloud is a happy portent of that victory which the Blessed Lady Mary ever Virgin wrought at the Incarnation and consummated on Mount Calvary, when Our Savior gave her to us as our new Mother, greater than Eve: “Woman, behold thy son” (S. John ch. xix., 26). This truth is beautifully expressed in a Responsory found in the Bridgettine Breviary :
|℟. Mother Eve, consenting to the enemy, removed herself together with her husband from glory, exchanging life for death; whose happy daughter, obeying God, hath overthrown the enemy, hath restored glory, hath driven away death, * And hath brought back life.
℣. Praise and glory be unto God, Who to a frail mother gave such a daughter, who hath also been made the Mother of her Creator, * And hath brought back life.
This glorious victory is praised in the Introit in the same Mass: “How beautiful are thy steps, O daughter of the Prince!” (Cant. ch. vii., 1), that is to say, how glorious are those sacred steps by which thou, O Blessed Mother, didst bruise and break into pieces the head of the ancient serpent, not only once but many times whensoever by thy patronage and tutelage the just overcome temptations, sinners are liberated from the servitude of Belial, and faithful Christians attain to the glory of Paradise.
These wonders the Blessed Virgin accomplishes by means of the holy Scapular, which the Prefaces mentions as a token of Our Lady’s predilection and the speedy means by which souls arrive to Heaven, symbolized by the holy Mountain of God. The imagery of the holy Mountain well becomes today’s Feast, as this Mountain can be taken to mean Mount Carmel, as the Offertory verse of the same Mass says: “I brought you into the land of Carmel, that you might eat the fruit thereof, and the best things thereof” (Jer. ch. ii., 7). The ascent unto Mount Carmel has been used by St. John of the Cross as an allegorical figure of the interior life of prayer and contemplation, which is a prelude of the everlasting beatitude of Heaven.
It is as a beautiful Responsory found in the proper Office for the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Health of the Sick , expresses it:
|℟. She hath opened unto all the bosom of mercy, so that all may receive of the fullness thereof: * That the captive prisoners may attain redemption, the languishing sick may be given a cure, the saddened may enjoy consolation; that sinners may obtain forgiveness, the just persevere in grace, and the Angel choirs may be exceedingly gladdened.
℣. So that, moreover, the whole Trinity may receive fitting glory, and the Person of the Son may take unto Himself the substance of human flesh, so that there is not one who can hide himself from the warmth of her loving-kindness. * That the captive prisoners may attain redemption, the languishing sick may be given a cure, the saddened may enjoy consolation; that sinners may obtain forgiveness, the just persevere in grace, and the Angel choirs may be exceedingly gladdened.
Let us consecrate ourselves anew to this glorious Lady, the Virgin Mother of God, whom the Lord has constituted as the Mediatress of all graces and the rightful Sovereign of the heavens and the earth. It is only proper that we adore Our Lord for the excellencies and glories wherewith He has endowed Our Blessed Mother, and give our entire beings unto Him through her by whom He gave Himself unto us. As the little cloud announced the great torrents that vivified the parched land of Israel, so let us allow the Holy Scapular to be an authentic token of the torrents of graces that the Blessed Virgin bestows upon her faithful servants. And thus shall we be lead unto that celestial Carmel wherein we shall behold Our Lord and His Virgin Mother and praise them everlastingly.
 Breviarium Ordinis Fratrum Beatissimæ Virginis Mariæ de Monte Carmelo juxta Hierosolymitanæ Ecclesiæ antiquam consuetudinem; Apostolica autoritate approbatum; Reverendissimi Patris Hilarii Mariæ Doswald totius Ordinis Prioris Generalis jussu editum (The Breviary of the Friars of the Order of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel according to the Ancient Custom of the Church of Jerusalem; Approved by Apostolic Authority; Published by Order of the Most Reverend Father Hilary Mary Oswald, Prior-General of the Entire Order). Rome, Tournai, Paris: Desclée & Socii, 1938.
 The Missal According to the Carmelite Rite in Latin and English for Every Day in the Year. Rome: The Vatican Polyglot Press, 1953.
 Breviarium Sacrarum Virginum Ordinis Sanctissimi Salvatoris, vulgo Santæ Birgittæ; horas Deiparæ Virginis per ferias distributas continens opus pium et omnibus eidem Virgini devotis ob Sermones Angelicos accommodatissi-mum; jussu Illustrissimi et Reverendissimi Domini Episcopi Plymuthensis, Monasterii de Syon Ordinarii denuo typis impressum (Breviary of the Sacred Virgins of the Order of the Most Holy Saviour, Generally known as that of Saint Bridget; The Hours of the Virgin Mother of God Distributed throughout the Ferias, Containing the Loving Work the Same Virgin Adapted from the devout Angelical Discourses; Printed Anew by the Printing Press of the Ordinary of the Monastery of Sion by Order of the Most Illustrious and Reverend Lord Bishop of Plymouth). Rome, Tournai, Paris: Desclée & Socii, 1908.
 Officia Propria Clericis Regularibus Infirmorum Ministris (Proper Offices for the Clerks Regular, Ministers of the Sick). Tournai: Typis Societatis S. Joannis Evang. Desclée, Lefebvre et Soc., 1898.