Let’s Get Serious Too

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. A reflection on this joyous day, and two new initiatives

By Robert Moynihan

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Today, July 16, is the Feast Our Lady of Mount Carmel — the title given to Mary as patroness of the Carmelite Order.

On this day we recall that Mary proposed a specific, simple devotion, the brown scapular.

This devotion is simple, and it is hopeful.

It is a devotion that seeks to protect us from the snares of the world, dangerous to us because of the weakness of our nature, so that we may in the end reach our true home, eternal life.

Two reflections

In recent days, Argentina has approved homosexual marriage, and I have met with leading Catholics in America who are concerned that the charitable gifts they make, even to Church bodies, are not being used in full accordance with Catholic teaching.

The event in Argentina, and these fears about Catholic charities perhaps funding intiatives which end up involving contraceptive and abortifacient devices, are related. They are part of the general challenge of a “new world order” which sees it necessary to impose the contraceptive mentality everywhere.

In the ordinary course of human life, living, forming a family and transmitting life — quite simply fulfilling the very first commandment in Scripture, in Genesis, “increase and multiply” — is the source of the greatest and most profound human joys, brotherhood and sisterhood, fatherhood and motherhood,  sonship and for daughterhood (if that is the right word).

Children are the source of all this human joy.

Imagine a world devoid of these joys.

A sterile world, indeed.

The continuing assault on traditional religious beliefs and practice in the area of sexual morality, now culminating in the imposition, by law, of an understanding of marriage as something even between two people of the same sex who cannot bear children, who cannot “increase and multiply,” is not just an assault on Christian faith (which it is); it is an assault on ordinary human joy.

In the same way, the imposition of the contraceptive mentality on entire nations, in Africa and Asia, which see this mentality as an “emanation” of the “Christian West,” is an assault also, and not only on traditional, often non-Christian, religious and spiritual beliefs; it is an assualt on human joy.

The joy of the family is replaced by the joy of consuming products, and images, and items, which bring no true joy.

If this trend continues, Christians will find themselves opposed to civil laws in the West in such a way as to feel themselves compelled not to observe those laws as unjust, as the Manhattan Declaration declared.

Christians will have to not observe these laws, because they lead to a dead end.

The way of life, the “culture of life,” is a different one.

Not without its struggles and sorrows — but filled with life, with familial relationships, with human contacts, with a human society which is rich and joyous, even if economically impoverished.

A New Venture 

Therefore, following important conversations today, I am initiating a new venture, a charitable giving project which will be separate from the writing and publishing I have been focusing on.

For all those who wish to give charitable gifts and support children and families around the world, including Russia (where we will focus on helping orphans and abandoned children), we will be preparing, through our contacts, a network of religious and philanthropic organizations committed to ensure that your funds never go to support contraception, abortion, or any openly immoral activities.

Second, we will be exploring ways to create an alternative Peace Corps, called, tentatively, The Peacemakers, who will be highly trained young people who will provide technical help to poor people around the world, but always from a pro-life perspective.

We expect to have more information about both of these initiatives between now and the end of the year. If anyone would like to work with us on these projects, please write to us.

We undertake these initiatives under the protection of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, to whom we have entrusted these works.

We also undertake these works in memory of four of our good friends, generous souls who have recently passed away: Leon Toups, Leo Corr, Packy Hyland, and Thomas Lardner.

Who Is Our Lady of Mt. Carmel?

The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early to mid-13th centuries. They built a chapel in the center of their hermitages which they dedicated to the Blessed Virgin.

The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is known to many Catholic faithful as the “scapular feast.”

It is associated with the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a small square of brown cloth worn around the neck to signify the wearer’s consecration to Mary and affiliation with the Carmelite Order.

The Carmelites see in the Blessed Virgin Mary a perfect model of the interior life of prayer and contemplation to which Carmelites aspire, a model of virtue, as well as the person who was closest in life to Jesus Christ.

She is seen as the one who points Christians most surely to Christ, saying to all what she says to the servants at the wedding at Cana, “Do whatever he (Jesus) tells you.”

Carmelites look to Mary as spiritually their mother and sister.

Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, OCD, a revered authority on Carmelite spirituality, wrote that devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel means:

“A special call to the interior life, which is preeminently a Marian life.

“Our Lady wants us to resemble her not only in our outward vesture but, far more, in heart and spirit.

“If we gaze into Mary’s soul, we shall see that grace in her has flowered into a spiritual life of incalculable wealth: a life of recollection, prayer, uninterrupted oblation to God, continual contact, and intimate union with him.

“Mary’s soul is a sanctuary reserved for God alone, where no human creature has ever left its trace, where love and zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of mankind reign supreme…

“Those who want to live their devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to the full must follow Mary into the depths of her interior life.

“Carmel is the symbol of the contemplative life, the life wholly dedicated to the quest for God, wholly orientated towards intimacy with God; and the one who has best realized this highest of ideals is Our Lady herself, ‘Queen and Splendor of Carmel’.”


“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” —Blaise Pascal (French mathematician, philosopher, physicist and writer, 1623-1662)

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