I made this set of videos (about 20 minutes all told) during my time living just over the cave of Elijah on Mount Carmel, Israel. The O.C.D.s had invited me to stay there for an entire month during the years that I was a chaplain at Lourdes. I must say that these videos are very emotional for me to watch to this day. What a fright! But… Jesus, Mary’s Son, is just that good and kind! Even though in watching these you don’t move from station to station yourself, I’m sure your heart will be transported to be right next to Jesus, to be with Him in solidarity, and to be right next to His dear Immaculate Mother as she accompanies our Lord, again in all solidarity.
If you’re wondering, what you saw is the work of acid attacks.
Then, of course, we have the great Flos Carmeli. We would sing this from Elijah’s cave after offering the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:
sed viri nescia
Flower of Carmel,
Tall vine blossom laden;
Splendour of heaven,
Childbearing yet maiden.
None equals thee.
Mother so tender,
Who no man didst know,
Strong stem of Jesse,
Purest of lilies,
Strongest of armour,
Our way uncertain,
O gentle Mother
Hail, Gate of Heaven,
A picture of the wadi of Mount Carmel from the ruins of the Monastery of the Little Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Today’s monastery is above Elijah’s Cave, just a bit further to the North:
Note today’s mosque up on the hill to the right. Sigh. That’s the Mediterranean Sea in the distance. It is from this vantage point that the Islamicist guy living in the monastery saw the ship coming from Rome carrying the priests and brothers of the Discalced Carmelite Order which was returning for the umpteenth time to reclaim from the Islamicist slaughterers this part of the Holy Land, reestablishing some modicum of peace. The Islamicists slaughtering everyone was the reason for the provision of self-defense for the local population wrought by the Crusaders, some of whom, to the point, became the first Carmelites, fighting spiritually for the Immaculate Conception, that Flos Carmel without equal. They would be hermits (more or less) for six months, and then descend upon the land and preach ferociously, as only crusaders can, for another six months, then return.
My heart speeds up with memories! Also of Lourdes, where the Immaculate Conception appeared to Saint Bernadette also as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This is the Carmelite Monastery on the far side of the river from the grotto in Lourdes as seen from my room in the Chaplains House in Lourdes (above the grotto). Look to the right of the donkey’s ears:
- Pray the Rosary!
- Wear the Brown Scapular!
Maybe my interest in CCWs comes from my rather extensive Carmelite experiences, with the Carmelites having been ferocious soldiers, with Elijah, hailed as the founding father of the Carmelites, having been the greatest prophet and – most precisely – a warrior prophet. But, I’m still thinking about all that. Meanwhile, my neighbor, with his ineffable military background, is taking me to one of the the very many shooting ranges in the area to give me some pointers about how to hold a pistol so as to be able to repeatedly shoot in quick succession without aiming, and yet back up bullets in the same hole in the target. I don’t think I’ll get the hang of it that easily. (I ain’t that good, or bad, depending…)
I would like to ask readers a favor on this day: please say a Hail Mary for Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity, O.C.D., who has offered up her prayers and sacrifices for yours truly for life. I am totally unworthy of this. Utterly. She is my great hero. Hail Mary…
3 responses to “Flores for the Immaculate Conception (Flos Carmeli / Lourdes / CCW edition)”
I have added sister to my daily prayer list right next to your name.
Thanks, James. Very kind. She has a terrible burden with me…
This is an amazing and sad video. Sad because of the violenece done to this beautiful shrine and amazing because Jesus’ love is so evident here despite the attempts to hide and deny it. I will be back to make the stations.