Pope Says Our Lady of Mount Carmel Is Source of Hope

Recalls a Church Feast Full of Memories of His Youth

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 16, 2003 (Zenit.org).- On a day the Church was celebrating the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, John Paul II presented Mary as a reason for hope and consolation.



After greeting the Carmelites who were among the 2,000 faithful gathered for today's general audience at the papal summer residence here, the Pope highlighted the meaning of the day, which for him brought back memories.

"Today is the liturgical memory of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel," he said in Polish at the end of the audience. "This memory is especially dear to all those who are devoted to Our Lady of Mount Carmel."

"Even I, from my youngest days, have worn around my neck the scapular of Our Lady and I take refuge with trust under the mantle of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus," the Pope said.

He added: "I hope the scapular will be for everyone, especially the faithful who wear it, a help and defense in times of danger, a seal of peace and a sign of Mary's care."

The Carmel scapular wasn't the extent of Karol Wojtyla's connection with its spirituality. He gave serious thought to entering the Carmel, after reading the works of St. John of the Cross. The Spanish saint's mystical writings so moved the future Pope that he based his doctoral thesis in theology on them.

Simon Stock, general superior of the Carmelite Order, received the scapular in 1251, during an apparition of the Virgin, when she promised special assistance in life and in death to all those who wear it with devotion.

Commenting on the Holy Father's words, theologian and Mariologist Father Stefano De Fiores explained on Vatican Radio: "When we think of the Virgin of Carmel today, we think first of all of the contemplation so necessary for the world of today which is too absorbed in activity and subjected to stress and anxiety."

"At the same time, in Mary we also see beauty," said Father De Fiores, a Montfort Missionary. "This way of beauty today is particularly adapted to attract the hearts of men. According to Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky, beauty will save the world. However, not any beauty but redeemed beauty, as Pavel Evdokimov emphasizes."

With her beauty, Mary indicates to us "what we should be and, unfortunately, are not," the theologian added.