Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Flos Carmeli, edition)

When living at the Discalced Carmelite Monastery on Mount Carmel, after offering Holy Mass directly above the cave of Elijah, I would make brave to intone the Flos Carmeli, with all then joining in for a number of verses.

With all of those Flowers for the Immaculate Conception, I am reminded of the Via Crucis, the Stations of the Cross, on Mount Carmel:

We might recall that The Little Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel were fierce crusaders. After helping to retake the Holy Land from the genocidal empire building Islamicists of the time – akin to today’s ISIS, as always – they wanted to continue fighting in this Church Militant by way of prayer and penance and sacrifice and spiritual exercises for six months and then evangelizing with ferocious Elijah-like preaching for six months, year in, year out. I’ve been in all those caves and their now destroyed central monastery grounds in the wadi on Mount Carmel. Some like to speak of simple folk who wanted to say a prayer or two together for a few years before returning to Europe after a nice pilgrimage and then visits from the Saracens.

But, as it is, there were more Islamicist incursions, as always with that political “religion”. The early Carmelites were ousted, then came back, were ousted again, and on it went. Finally, their monastery was blown up fairly recently (1800s if I remember correctly), giving them the opportunity, upon return, to build, fortuitously, not in the wadi, but above the cave of Elijah.

I was invested in the Brown Scapular by way of receiving the entire habit in an extended ceremony presided by one of the Definitor Generals of the Discaled Carmelites. That Summer, so many decades ago, was an opportunity to memorize – in Latin – the entire rule of the first Carmelites provided by the Patriarch of Jerusalem and ratified by the Bishop of Rome.

Were you invested in the Brown Scapular? I received one on the way out the door of the church after my first Holy Communion. I wasn’t actually invested. That was 1968. The year of the catastrophic liberal cataclysm which did more to destroy the Church than any genocidal invading Saracens ever could. Wearing a Brown Scapular helps remind us of the Church Militant in which we live upon this earth. We are reminded to pray. Do you recall the promises that come with wearing the Brown Scapular, and the accompanying prayer?

9 Comments

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9 responses to “Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Flos Carmeli, edition)

  1. Aussie Mum

    I don’t remember an accompanying prayer, but being invested in the brown scapula of Our Lady of Mt Carmel brings her protection to the wearer against hell and can even shorten one’s time in purgatory.

  2. Anne Maliborski

    What a joyful experience for you to receive the habit of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Father!
    I have a prayer card with the prayer, but sadly it’s not memorized in my noggin. Whoever dies wearing the brown scapular shall not perish in eternal fire!

  3. Anne Maliborski

    Also reminding me that I need to give a few to a couple of friends who are not in good health………
    Did I hear your voice in the Flos Carmeli?!?!

  4. elizdelphi

    I always wear my brown scapular, I am invested with it by an actual Carmelite friar. Not a full habit though! That is cool. The earliest version of a promise to a Carmelite that he who perseveres in his vocation will be saved comes from an early Dominican history that is the only historically contemporary (or even close) mention of St Simon Stock, then prior general of the Carmelites. The Dominican source recounts an encounter between Blessed Simon and a Carmelite novice who described being tempted against his vocation by the news of the loss at sea of Bl Jordan of Saxony OP toward whom this novice had the greatest admiration–it really led him almost to despair, a sense of futility. But then Bl Jordan appeared to the novice assuring him that those who persevere in their vocation to the end will be saved–wholly restoring the young man’s confidence and faith. The next appearance of St Simon Stock is about 100 years later in a Dominican martyrology in which there is a very brief blurb about St Simon (about whom no one has much data) that echoes both the story about the novice and an earlier attested tradition that the early Dominican Reginald of Orleans, when just having entered the order and suffering severe illness, had a vision of Our Lady showing him the full Dominican habit including a scapular (which apparently hadn’t formerly been part of it) and promised her maternal protection and also brought about his healing. It’s worth noting the Carmelite habit after the Carmelites moved to Europe was directly based on the Dominican one. The earliest Dominican martyrology blurb about St Simon Stock goes something like “Blessed Simon was an Englishman, of great holiness, who always asked Mary in his prayers to honor his order with special favor. She appeared to him holding in her hands the scapular and saying to him, the one who dies wearing this will not suffer eternal fire.” Since wearing the habit = persevering in the vocation to the end, it signified that under her patronage those persevering in the Carmelite vocation would be saved. It got embroidered later, with new emphasis related to a later initiative to associate laity with the Carmelites by wearing a small scapular. To me it associates me with the Carmelites and commitment to the practice of Carmelite spirituality and final perseverance in holiness. I was told by a friar there isn’t any specific prayer or practice associated with it (I don’t think I have heard of a particular prayer? it used to be, but is no longer the case, that there was a plenary indulgence for those invested with the scapular at the time of their first communion–that was the original reason why first communicants were vested with a scapular back in the day. Being invested in the scapular, back in the day, and being eligible for a promise the Church backed up that Mary would pray for you after your death for speedy liberation from purgatory involved daily Marian prayer preferably the Little Office, and a couple other requirements of basic Catholic practice. I am going by memory. The current form of the devotion is explained in the Brown Scapular catechesis and ritual book available from the US Carmelites. For me the brown scapular is absolutely the Carmelite habit and associates me as belonging with the Carmelites and living Carmelite spirituality, which I take very seriously and promote to others by leading book studies of the writings of the Carmelite saints.

    I saw a quote recently by a religious “I belong to the Dominicans by observance, but to all the orders by charity.”

  5. elizdelphi

    I think there may have been a plenary indulgence at the moment of death connected with the scapular? Trying to remember. There is not anymore. There are no indulgences associated EXCEPT for those who are formally inscribed members of a canonically erected chapter of the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular who can receive a plenary indulgence on certain feast days. Even secular carmelites do not get these indulgences. I did a search and found the SSPX is claiming that folks they simply invest with the scapular are thereby members of the confraternity (definitely NOT true) and get these indulgences, which seems like it cannot be true, though I hope God gives equivalent grace to sincere people anyway: https://fsspx.news/en/news-events/news/brown-scapular-hell-and-plenary-indulgence-49292 HOWEVER, the SSPX is more up to date on the existence currently of plenary indulgences associated with the scapular than the Blue Army which is still promising people a plenary indulgence on the day of investiture and at the moment of death. Not true today! https://www.bluearmycleveland.com/the_scapular.html I met the head of the Blue Army one time and he had less than zero interest in the Carmelites or Carmelite spirituality, despite promoting the brown scapular constantly, which didn’t make sense to me.

  6. I am invested by a Carmelite Friar. Father renewed our investment today at Mass.

  7. pelerin

    Attending Mass this evening (NO) we were told it was the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. However I did wonder what the reading of the story of Moses in the bulrushes had to do with this feast day?

    • Aussi Mum

      Pelerin, the only connection I can find between Moses and the Carmelites is that Elijah, in whom the Carmelite order is rooted, and Moses appeared together during Our Lord’s transfiguration.

      • Aussie Mum

        Something else I just thought of: Moses guided the Israelites out of Egypt, where they were slaves, to the Promised Land; and Our Lady of Mt Carmel guides us away from the slavery of sin and toward the eternal promised land, Heaven.

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