“Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.”
He said to them in reply, “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet.
Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.
At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here.
At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.”” -Matthew 12:38-42.
“Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the LORD.
Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, against the shepherds who shepherd my people: You have scattered my sheep and driven them away.
You have not cared for them, but I will take care to punish your evil deeds.
I myself will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands to which I have driven them and bring them back to their meadow; there they shall increase and multiply.
I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing, says the LORD.
Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David;
As king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in security.
This is the name they give him: “The LORD our justice.” ” -Jeremiah 23:1-6.
Saint Alexius, born in Rome in the fourth century, was the only son of parents pre-eminent among the Roman nobles for both their virtue and their great wealth.
They were particularly noted for their almsgiving; three tables were prepared every day for all who came for assistance — pilgrims, the poor and the sick.
Their son, fruit of their prayers, was married with splendid feasting to a noble young lady of the imperial family, but on his wedding night, by God’s special inspiration, he secretly left Rome, longing for a solitude where he could serve God alone.
He went to Edessa in the far East, gave away all that he had brought with him, content thereafter to live by alms at the gate of Our Lady’s church in that city.
His family, in the deepest grief, could not fathom the mystery of his disappearance, and would have been consoled if God had taken him instead through death.
It came to pass that the servants of Saint Alexius, whom his father had sent in search of him, arrived in Edessa, and seeing him among the poor at the gate of Our Lady’s church, gave him an alms, not recognizing him.
Whereupon the man of God, rejoicing, said, I thank You, Lord, who have called me and granted that I should receive for Your Name’s name’s sake an alms from my own slaves. Deign to fulfill in me the work You have begun.
After seventeen years spent at the portico of the church, when his sanctity was miraculously confirmed by the Blessed Virgin, speaking through Her image to an officer of the church, Saint Alexius once more sought obscurity by flight. On his way to Tarsus contrary winds drove his ship to Rome.
There no one recognized, in this pale and tattered mendicant, the heir of Rome’s noblest house, not even his sorrowing parents, who had vainly sent throughout the world in search of him.
From his own father’s charity Saint Alexius begged a miserable shelter in his palace, under a staircase, with the leavings of his table as food.
There he spent another seventeen years, bearing patiently the mockery and ill usage of his own servants, and witnessing daily the still inconsolable grief of his spouse and parents.
At last, when death had ended this cruel martyrdom, they learned too late, in the year 404, who it was that they had unknowingly sheltered.
A voice was heard by all in attendance at the Pope’s Mass, saying: Seek the man of God, he will pray for Rome, and the Lord will be favorable to it; he will die Friday.
All the city undertook in vain to find this unknown Saint.
But God had commanded Alexius himself to write down his life story and sign it, in this way He Himself confirmed His servant’s sanctity, when he was found lifeless in his retreat, holding that document in his hand.
The Pope read aloud what was written on the parchment of the Saint, and everywhere in Rome there was a single cry of admiration, impossible to describe.
The house of Alexius’ father Euphemian was later transformed into a church dedicated to Saint Alexius.
(SOURCE: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Livesof the Saints, and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 8)
“Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them.
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.”
He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry,how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering, which neither he nor his companions but only the priests could lawfully eat?
Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath and are innocent?
I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.
If you knew what this meant, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned these innocent men.
For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”” -Matthew 12:1-8.
According to the most ancient Carmelite chronicles, the Order has its origins with the disciples of the prophets Elias and Eliseus. They lived in caves on Mount Carmel.
They honored the Queen of Heaven as the Virgin who is to give birth to the Saviour. When the reality replaced the symbol, the pious ascetics of Carmel were converted to the Christian Faith.
In the 12th century, many pilgrims from Europe who had followed the Crusaders came to join the solitaries.
A rule was established and the Order began to spread to Europe.
Amid the many persecutions raised against the Order of Mount Carmel, newly arrived in Europe, Saint Simon Stock, General of the Order, turned with filial confidence to the Blessed Mother of God.
As he knelt in prayer on July 16, 1251, in the White Friars’ convent at Cambridge, She appeared before him and presented him with the well-known brown scapular, a loose sleeveless garment destined for the Order of Carmel, reaching from the shoulders to the knees.
It was given as an assurance, for all who died wearing it, of Her heavenly protection from eternal death.
An extraordinary promise indeed, but one requiring a life of prayer and sacrifice.
Devotion to the blessed habit spread quickly throughout the Christian world. Pope after Pope enriched it with indulgences, and innumerable miracles put their seal upon its efficacy.
The first of them was worked at Winchester on a man dying in despair, who when the scapular was laid upon him by Saint Simon Stock at once asked for the Sacraments.
In the year 1636, a certain gentleman, member of a cavalry regiment, was mortally wounded at the battle of Tehin, a bullet having lodged near his heart. He was then in a state of grievous sin, but he had time to make his confession.
Afterwards a surgeon probed his wound, and the bullet was found to have driven his scapular into his heart. When it had been withdrawn he soon expired, making profound acts of gratitude to the Blessed Virgin who had prolonged his life miraculously, thereby preserving him from the irremediable death of his soul.
At Lourdes in 1858, the Virgin chose to make Her last apparition on July 16th, feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the day the Church commemorates Her apparition to Saint Simon Stock.
And at Fatima on October 13, 1917, it is as Our Lady of Mount Carmel that Mary appeared when She said farewell to the three children.
Throughout the ages, the Queen of Carmel has always kept a faithful watch over the destinies of Her cherished children on earth.
(SOURCE: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 8)
Saint Aelred of Rielvaux (1110-1167), Cistercian monk
The Mirror of charity, I, 30-31
“My yoke is easy”
People who complain about the roughness of the Lord’s yoke have possibly not completely rejected the heavy load of the lusts of the world or, if they did reject them, they have enslaved themselves to them again, to their greater shame.
Outwardly they carry the yoke of the Lord but inwardly they submit their shoulders to the burden of the world’s cares.
They set on the balance of the Lord’s yoke the hardships and difficulties which they inflict on themselves… As for the yoke of the Lord: it is “easy and its burden light”.
Indeed, what is sweeter, what more glorious than to see oneself lifted up above the world by the scorn one shows it and, seated at the summit of a conscience at peace, to have the whole world at one’s feet?
Then one sees nothing to desire, nothing to fear, nothing to envy, nothing of one’s own that might be taken away, no evil that might be caused one by another.
The eyes of the heart turn towards “an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled and unfading, that is kept for us in heaven” (1Pt 1,4).
With a sort of greatness of soul one gives little importance to this world’s goods: they pass away; to the pleasures of the flesh: they are contaminated; to the world’s pomp: it fades; and in one’s joy one repeats the words of the prophet: “All mankind is grass and all its glory like the flower of the field; the grass withers, the flower fades but the Word of the Lord remains for ever” (Is 40,6-8)…
In charity – and nowhere but in charity – dwells true tranquillity and true sweetness for it is the yoke of the Lord.