You remember how Elijah stopped up the heavens from raining for years.
You remember how Elijah brought Israel back to the faith all of Israel with the great sacrifice on Mount Carmel.
You remember how Elijah took proper care of the necks of the 450 henchmen of Jezebel / prophets of Baal (not to mention the 400 fake prophets of Asherah[?]).
You remember how Elijah prayed for rain, and it did rain. He saw from his cave facing the Mediterranean Sea (above which I lived) a cloud in the form of a foot rising from the sea, bringing the rain. This is the foot which reaches out, taking the initiative, to crush the head of the serpent back in Genesis 3:15.
You remember how the crusaders preached by the greatest of saints in those bygone centuries, who fought defensive wars against the Islamicist slaughters of the faithful in the Holy Land.
You remember how some of the crusaders then removed themselves off to Mount Carmel not far from the cave of Elijah. They took what is actually the Dominican habit, just brown, with the scapular, the tiny version of which is pictured above. I hope you wear it. I do. And pray the Rosary. Daily!
You remember how the new Carmelites moved into the wadi, right were I’m standing to take the picture below, looking down to the Mediterranean. They wanted to become prayer warriors in the same spirit as they were crusaders. How embarrassing the mosque you see to the upper right of the picture. Sigh.
We gotta remember the history of Mount Carmel whilst we live our own lives today whilst we wear the scapular and whilst we pray the rosary.
I bet these have been replaced. When I made these videos some 13 years ago, the Discalced Carmelite Friars with whom I was staying told me that they had found some new ones identical to these from the original manufacturer up in – I think – Germany. They really are very well done – but – these particularly damaged stations, with the brunt of the malice being exponentially multiplied, brings home the meaning of the stations all the more, don’t you think. As I say, once you see them you can’t unsee them, but it all bears repeating none the less.
Jesus’ Face is our face. Are we in solidarity with Jesus while He is in solidarity with us, He, standing in our place, the Innocent for the guilty? Here’s Saint Paul:
“For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” (2 Corinthians 4:6-12 rsv)
Once you’ve seen these stations, you can’t un-see them. But, the intensity of them… Well, it all bears repeating.
Being reminded of how far our dear Lord had to reach to get us in the hell of this world isn’t a bad thing, a hurtful thing, that which is meant to make us have bad feelings of despairing self-condemnation because we are all tender snowflakes absolutely entitled to spit on His face. No.
Being reminded of how far our dear Lord had to reach to get us in the hell of this world is a good thing. It should elicit an assent to the love which He gives to us.
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 OCDs had invited me to stay there for an entire month during the years that I was a chaplain at Lourdes. The chanting was recorded at the cave of Elijah, sung by pilgrims from around the world.
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 mother as she accompanies our Lord, again in all solidarity. These stations rip the heart right out of my chest. Dear Lord…
Our Stations of the Cross here at Holy Redeemer in Andrews are “normal”, with pictures being used. The church is so small that any use of sculpted stations no matter how minimal in relief would block use of the side aisles. Everything is doubled over in both English and Spanish, except the Stabat Mater, which so far we’ve just sung in English. No one minds both languages as the common language is humble thanksgiving in witnessing our Lord’s great love for us. In fact, because of this, it goes the other way, with comments being about how wonderful it is that everyone comes together for the Stations.
A rain cloud in the form of a foot [crushing the head of Satan] as seen from out front of the cave of Elijah on Mount Carmel
Scapular of the Little Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
The Coat of Arms of the Discalced Carmelites
The Donkey in his room at the Chaplains House in Lourdes, France, high above the Grotto, looking through the trees to the Discalced Carmelite Monastery
Looking down to the Mediterrainian from the Monastery Church of the hermits which was destroyed by Islamicist fanatics; by the way, the hermits were retired crusaders
I am grateful for the practical spiritual wherewithal of Saint Teresa of Avila. Have you read some of her works? This most un-well-read priest in the world, even I have read some things of hers. She’s great.
For anyone who has studied in Rome, this is a most fateful day, as it is the first day of classes for the academic year, at least it was back in the day, for decades. A good start.
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?
A zillion of these Stars of David are in full bloom outside Holy Redeemer church here in Andrews, NC. The special addition, the central flower, is reminiscent of this star of David in early first century Galilee, at Peter’s hometown synagogue where Jesus preached:
I like to think of that special addition as referring to the promised Messiah, now the Word Incarnate, who ties together the heavens and the earth in His own Person. Of course, I also remember how that special addition, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, became, for some, the proclamation of a capital crime committed, for being a Jew, from the tribe of Judah, became a crime which would bring one to death.
Meanwhile, Immaculate Mary is happy to be the Jewish mama of her dear Jewish Boy Jesus. Happy to the Jewish mama.
As a Catholic priest, I was amazed to read the comment a while back that it was absolutely impossible for me to be Jewish and a Catholic Priest at the same time. Jesus was both at the same time. Right? That reader came around when I explained what it means to be Jewish, you know, also like all the Apostles including Saint Paul.
The problem is that there is explosive, bitter, even violent prejudice and hatred for all Jews, all of them, mind you, among many on the ultra-traditional-ism-ist side of things, also and especially among priests, one of whom over decades has tried to convince me of how evil and conniving the Jews are, you know, with conspiracy world government stuff, blah blah blah. He wanted me to have the same opinion, even knowing I am Jewish. It’s not all priests. My Shadow and now, I find out, his breeder-girlfriend, have the same attitude (though I think that’s all a show). The attacks against Jewish Jesus and His Jewish Immaculate Mother fall on me. It’s like acid right in the face that eats down into the bone. I’m sure longtime readers remember this most emotional Way of the Cross, the Via Crucis, alongside Mount Carmel at Stella Maris Discalced Carmelite Monastery up above Haifa, Israel. If you’ve never seen this, now’s the time. 20 minutes total, 10 each half. This is an acid attack… heart breaking… It transports one back a couple thousand years…
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, back in 2009. Seems like yesterday. 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 mother as she accompanies our Lord, again in all solidarity.
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:
clavis et ianua,
fac nos duci
quo, Mater, gloria
Flower of Carmel,
Tall vine blossom laden;
Splendour of heaven,
Childbearing yet maiden.
None equals thee.
Mother so tender,
Who no man didst know,
On Carmel’s children
Thy favours bestow.
Star of the Sea.
Strong stem of Jesse,
Who bore one bright flower,
Be ever near us
And guard us each hour,
who serve thee here.
Purest of lilies,
That flowers among thorns,
Bring help to the true heart
That in weakness turns
and trusts in thee.
Strongest of armour,
We trust in thy might:
Under thy mantle,
Hard press’d in the fight,
we call to thee.
Our way uncertain,
Surrounded by foes,
You give to those
who turn to thee.
O gentle Mother
Who in Carmel reigns,
Share with your servants
That gladness you gained
and now enjoy.
Hail, Gate of Heaven,
With glory now crowned,
Bring us to safety
Where thy Son is found,
true joy to see.
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…