Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Flower of Carmel Vine Blossom-laden.
Splendor of heaven,
Child-bearing maiden,
None equals thee!
O Mother benign,
Who no man didst know,
On all Carmel’s children
Thy favors bestow
Star of the Sea.

-Flos Carmeli, Carmelite prayer/hymn

This morning I was overwhelmed by the joy of being alive. After all, i was sure I would awake in purgatory. Earlier that morning I found myself in the midst of an attack on Washington DC. Bombs of fire descended upon my neighborhood, decimating everything in sight. My family and I were outside, some distance from our house; I hoped that the calamity wouldn’t destroy the house because I’m somewhat attached to it, not to mention I have valuable data on my computer. After well it became evident that the bombing was indeed decimating everything in sight, including the house. Concern was transformed into sheer terror. Many people perished in the rain of fire that lit up the night sky. Nothing would be spared by the devastating cataclysm that I beheld.Small groups of neighbors assembled, slowly evacuating… everywhere homes and people were being blown to smithereens. I was not ready to go although part of me wanted to succumb to the bombs and lay down and die. Despair and desperation was thick. Towards the end, I tried to console the group I was in by having them cry aloud, “Jesus Christ have mercy on us!” As we successfully inched out of the neighborhood and onto the main road, it became clear that total destruction was imminent. Just then debris flew and I would be no more.

I awoke almost stunned to know that it was all only a dream, albeit the most horrific nightmare ever. After that experience, how could anyone want to waste life? And that’s why I think the dream was a blessing: it woke me up to the fact that I can’t afford to take life for granted. There was another recent experience that reminded me of the same, but this one takes the prize. Providentially, today’s the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. When our Lady appeared to the Carmelite St. Simon Stock, she gave to him a piece of her own mantle as a promise of her protection and as hope of eternal salvation. The scapular is available to all people; today, after noon Mass at the Shrine, I was blessed to receive a scapular from a Carmelite priest. You know I will be sporting one at all times, spiritually if not physically ( due to my tracheostomy it will not be possible to wear it at certain times).

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel has been seen as the one who was prefigured by the raincloud that Elijah saw on Mt. Carmel because she’s the one through whom Jesus rained down upon the parched earth. She gives me hope.

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