This feast is particular to the Carmelite Order and is the octave of the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. We honor Mary as Mother of Divine Grace since she is the Mother of the Son of God, the Author of Grace. Tradition ascribes to Mary the titles Mother of Divine Grace, Mother Most Amiable, Mother Most Admirable, Mother of Mercy. God has chosen her to be treasurer and dispensatrix of all His graces. Since Mary has formed the Head of the predestined, Jesus Christ, it pertains to her to form also the members of the Head, who are the true Christians. She has received from God a special power to nourish souls and to make them grow in Him. St. Augustine says that the predestined in this world are enclosed in Mary’s womb and that they come to the light only when their good Mother brings them forth to eternal life. It is to her that the Holy Spirit has said, “Take root in my elect” (see Ecclesiasticus 24:12) — creating roots of deep humility, of burning charity and of all the virtues.
From the Homily preached at the Council of Ephesus (431 A.D.) by St. Cyril of Alexandria
OUR ACCESS TO THE FOUNTAINHEAD OF GRACE IS THROUGH MARY
Mary, Mother of God, we salute you. Precious vessel, worthy of the whole world’s reverence, you are an ever-shining light, the crown of virginity, the symbol of orthodoxy, an indestructible temple, the place that held him whom no place can contain, mother and virgin. Because of you the holy Gospels could say: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
We salute you, for in your holy womb was confined him who is beyond all limitation.
Because of you, the Holy Trinity is glorified and adored; the cross is called precious and is venerated throughout the world; the heavens exult; the angels and archangels make merry; demons are put to flight; the devil, that tempter, is thrust down from heaven; the fallen race of man is taken up on high; all creatures possessed by the madness of idolatry have attained knowledge of the truth; believers receive holy baptism; the oil of gladness is poured out; the Church is established throughout the world; pagans are brought to repentance.
What more is there to say? Because of you, the light of the only-begotten Son of God has shone upon those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death; prophets pronounced the word of God; the apostles preached salvation to the Gentiles; the dead are raised to life, and kings rule by the power of the Holy Trinity. Who can put Mary’s high honor into words? She is both mother and virgin. I am overwhelmed by the wonder of this miracle.
Of course, no one could be prevented from living in the house he had built for himself, yet who would invite mockery by asking his own servant to become his mother? Behold then the joy of the whole universe.
Let the union of God and man in the Son of the Virgin Mary fill us with awe and adoration. Let us fear and worship the undivided Trinity as we sing the praise of the ever-virgin Mary, the holy temple of God, and of God himself, her Son and spotless Bridegroom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Virgin resplendent in the court of heaven,
Carmel’s rare beauty and all mankind’s glory,
hear us, dear Mother, as our voices humbly
tell your love’s story.
Gifts beyond reckoning you pour out in bounty,
rich rain of blessing dropped on hill and meadow
where you still shelter your devoted offspring
in Carmel’s shadow.
Grant then your favor, quick to heed and answer;
may these our fervent prayers win grace like starlight,
keen, constant, tracing out a way to heaven
through our profound night.
Stay with us, Mary, on this holy mountain;
so may our love refreshed with heavenly showers
thrive like a garden and provide your altar
with wreaths of flowers.
Ever in kindness strengthen and sustain us,
lightening our burden with a mother’s blessing,
that we may share the Father’s life and splendor
Praise God who made us, God whose goodness crowned you
queen of creation, dear above all other,
and gave you to us, Lady of Mount Carmel
and Virgin Mother. Amen.