Issues Vol. 168‎ > ‎

Vol. 168 No. 28 - July 15 - July 21, 2017

01 Cover

posted Jul 14, 2017, 12:30 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 14, 2017, 12:30 AM ]


03 Index

posted Jul 14, 2017, 12:29 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 14, 2017, 12:29 AM ]


04 Official & Engagements

posted Jul 14, 2017, 12:27 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 14, 2017, 12:27 AM ]


05 Editorial - The Spiritual Experience of Mount Carmel

posted Jul 14, 2017, 12:21 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 14, 2017, 12:22 AM ]

Our lives are generally quite busy: family, work, school, parish; the flurry of activities fill our days, and at times, a good part of our nights as well. Such a life involves routine worry and weariness. What can we do? The feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16 can provide light and inspiration.

This feast has its roots in the 12th century when people were questioning themselves, searching for meaning in their lives in the midst of their problems and difficulties. The answer they found was quite radical: they left everything and went to live in a special place which helped them realise what was really essential for a fulfilled life. The place was Mount Carmel, a beautiful hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, where the prophet Elijah, centuries ago, met and spoke with God. This meeting with God changed his life forever, giving him strength, courage, direction and power. It answered the deep questions of his heart.

The 12th century seekers followed in the footsteps of this great prophet, aware that their choice was quite demanding, drawing inspiration from a person who knew something about the meaning of life. They took Our Lady as their patroness. In this way, Mary acquired one more beautiful title – Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It added to the garland of names her devotees weaved for her through the centuries.

The feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel invites us closer to the rich experience and journey of all spiritual seekers: the prophet Elijah, the first hermits of Mount Carmel (fathers of the present Carmelites) and most of all, Mary. Looking up to them, we begin to experience joy that will not be carried away by the inconveniences of daily life. It is in God that one finds an everlasting joy! So our life becomes a continuous, loving and exciting search for God. This search is so important and all consuming that some persons are ready to give up literally everything for this, spending their life forever in the silence of the cloister. The Carmelite nuns live this special call and experience that God is, in truth, everything.

The feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel helps us to remember that the experience of meeting God can happen in our daily, busy lives. Mary experienced the love of God, who longs to meet and care for us, His children. She experienced it with such strength to become His mother. Now she invites and encourages us to walk along the path of prayer, one step at a time. Not all of us are called to climb up a faraway mountain; but all of us can try to make a little space for silence in our hearts to allow the voice of the Lord to reach us. In that interior place, we can treasure His Word, so richly gifted to us in the Liturgy, in the celebration of the Mass and in the Bible. We can enjoy the presence of Jesus strongly and effectively communicated to us through the Sacraments. We also discover that Jesus is waiting to meet us in our brothers and sisters, especially those most suffering and most forgotten. Being close to the sick, lonely, handicapped, poor, exploited, deprived… is to be like Mary, standing at the foot of the Cross. In the suffering flesh of our brothers and sisters continues the passion of Jesus.

There is a special place where the voice of the Lord resonates strongly, where we can meet him in flesh and blood. It is in our brothers and sisters.

Once we hear this voice in our hearts, we will be able to find it, recognise it everywhere, sometimes in the most unexpected and difficult situations.

Sr Annamaria Capiluppi, Minor Carmelite of Charity, House of Charity, Versova

06 St John of the Cross, Father of Carmelites - Sr. Marie Gemma OCD

posted Jul 14, 2017, 12:17 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 14, 2017, 12:17 AM ]

SR MARIE GEMMA OCD

Carmelite spirituality is not about heroic asceticism, it is about God’s all-conquering love

St John of the Cross lived in an age of discovery. The Spanish people gloried in their adventures beyond the seas and oceans in the 15th century. This is evident in many of their poems, ballads and love songs. The poems of John of the Cross are vintage wine still cherished and considered priceless!

John's young and eager spirit captured to the hilt this spirit of his time! It must have been the reason why John finally chose the reformed Carmel. The story of Carmel is essentially a love story, and like every love story, it involves a journey within, a journey of the heart, limitless, incredible which will ultimately be fulfilled only in the possession of the Beloved. We are made to seek and to search for our heart's desire, a restless pursuit that is best described in John's words, as 'a lover's quest.'

St Augustine had first spoken of this restlessness in that classic line, "our hearts are restless until they rest in you." But in Carmelite tradition, it takes on a unique and distinctive focus: not only are our hearts restless, but the heart of God is equally so. The lover's quest is twofold, a mutual yearning in which God and the human soul are both, and at the same time, pursuer and pursued: 'it should be known,' John of the Cross reminds us, 'that if anyone is seeking God, the Beloved is seeking that person much more.' (LF 3:28)

"The Adventure" of the Night into the unknown....is the adventure of Spiritual life which is no longer a matter of labouring for food – perfection, achievement, success. It is rather making space for God to enter into the core of one's being – God hovering over me. All we have to do is to make space for God. It is in the night that each one discovers, 'I am only a creative capacity to God.' The night ends when we recover from devotion to spirituality.

The Spirituality of St John should not be viewed only from an ascetical point of view, but through a mystical view; not perfection, but Union with God to which the Spirit carries you. In the Spiritual Canticle, the tender words, the evocative images, the rich symbols all speak about the transformation of desire – the presence and absence, discovery and loss, joy and pain:

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07 Our Lady of Mount Carmel - The Feast and the Brown Scapular

posted Jul 14, 2017, 12:15 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 14, 2017, 12:15 AM ]

BR JOHN MALVINO ALFONSO OCD

Mother Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16 every year. Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the patroness of the Carmelite Order. For the Carmelites, this feast is of great importance. The feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was instituted in thankfulness to Mother Mary around the year 1386. She had bestowed many favours and blessings on the Carmelites, whom she had helped survive through many storms. The Carmelites had been greatly threatened during the Ecumenical Council held in 1274. Some of the Council Fathers wanted to suppress the Order of Our Lady, because there were already too many religious orders, and they felt there was no need for so many. The Carmelites were fortunately not suppressed, but were asked to give some reasons for their existence. This feast was gradually adopted throughout the Order as an occasion of thanksgiving for the countless blessings which Our Lady had bestowed on the Carmelite family. This is the day of thanksgiving, rather than mere external celebrations.

The devotion attached to this feast is the devotion to the Brown Scapular. When we speak of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, we cannot leave out the Scapular. It has a rich biblical meaning attached to clothing. A great deal is said in the Bible about clothing and the spiritual symbolism of clothing. This latter can be summarised in the words of Henry Cardinal Vaughan in a Pastoral Letter.

"The Holy Scriptures themselves show us that from the earliest times, the bestowal of a garment has been used as an indication of love and favour. The Patriarch Jacob gave his favourite son Joseph a many-coloured tunic as a sign of special love. Jonathan stripped himself of the coat with which he was clothed, and gave it to David, because he loved him as his soul. Elias ascending to heaven bestowed his cloak upon Eliseus as a sign of the descent upon him of his own prophetic spirit."

We learn of Mary in the New Testament, wrapping Her Son in swaddling clothes, and of Paul asking the believers 'to put on Christ.' Even in one of the parables, 'using the wedding garment' seems to refer to the garment of salvation.

We need signs and symbols to help us to understand what is happening at present, or what happened before, or to give us an awareness of who we are as individuals and as groups. In Baptism, we are given a new white robe to symbolise the new life we are beginning in Christ. To be clothed with the Scapular would imply our desire and endeavour to practise the virtues and so adorn ourselves (like a bride) with the virtues of Mary.

The wearing of the Brown Scapular has become popular among the Catholic faithful.

According to Fr Kavanaugh, who translated the works of Carmelite saints, the Church's official position regarding the Brown Scapular is that it is a garment that we wear as both a sign of our belonging to Mary and pledge of her maternal protection in this life and the next. It is also a sign of three entwined elements: a) belonging to the Carmelite family, b) consecration to and trust in Mary, and c) an incentive to imitate Our Lady's virtues, especially her humility, chastity, and prayerfulness. The Church has made no official pronouncements regarding St Simon Stock's vision, or any other particular rules and rewards attached to wearing the Scapular.

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08 The Carmelite Scapular - Fr. Paul D'Souza

posted Jul 14, 2017, 12:14 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 14, 2017, 12:14 AM ]

The English word 'scapular' is derived from the Latin, scapulae, which means 'shoulders'. Originally, scapulars were somewhat like aprons, worn by Benedictine monks and nuns. The Rule of St Benedict in the sixth or seventh century required that the monks used their habits most of the time, and even at night. On the other hand, the Rule emphasised the importance of manual labour, in the monastery itself, or in the garden, or even in the fields. To protect the habit from getting soiled, aprons were introduced in the course of time. These aprons were called 'scapulars'. In the course of time, the scapulars became part of the monastic habit, and continued to be adapted to the different forms of life-style associated with the Benedictine Rule: Cluniacs, Carthusians, Cistercians, Camaldulese, Trappists ; and later passed on to the new forms of religious life, like the mendicants, among whom were the Franciscans, Dominicans and Carmelites.

The Carmelite Tradition

The Carmelites had a very special tradition regarding their scapular. It had been bestowed in a vision on Her order by Our Lady Herself through Simon Stock, with the promise of eternal salvation.

Arnold Bostius, eloquent fifteenth century mariologist, eulogises the merits of the scapular. He described the scapular, a sacramental to which the Church attaches indulgences and other spiritual effects. Bostius calls it a sign of unity and a bond of charity. He reminds the scapular wearer of his/her commitment to Mary: 'to invoke Her in necessities, to contemplate Her life and virtues, to live in dependence on Her.' Bostius also informs us of the custom of some lay folk who wished to join the confraternity of Our Lady, and secretly wore this garment and armour of the Order during their lifetime, and wished to die wearing the scapular. In the same century, Audet organised scapular confraternities. And these were recommended repeatedly to the faithful by the Popes.

Ecclesiastical Approval

Theologically speaking, the devotion was very conducive to Christian living, inasmuch as it reminded the faithful of Mary's protection and spurred them on to imitate Her virtues.

Slowly and steadily, devotion to Mary's scapular spread throughout western Europe first, and then in the missions, until the tiny trickle grew into a mighty river. Hundreds of miracles were worked through the scapular by Mary who Herself saw to it that Her faithful should use this simple method of expressing and exercising their devotion to Her. On the other hand, the scapular was also the channel through which the Mother of Carmel manifested Her protection for Her children. For the convenience of the faithful, the scapular was adapted and reduced in size. So we have the practice of giving the small scapular to lay people, so that they might share the benefits of devotion to Mary.

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09 ‘The Lady in Brown’ - Sr. M. Kilda. CCR

posted Jul 14, 2017, 12:12 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 14, 2017, 12:13 AM ]

Once a pious mother went to a church accompanied by her four-year-old daughter. Entering the church, she went to pray near all the statues. The little girl was watching. She said to her mother. "Mummy, that lady is blue, the second one is white, and this one is brown. Who is she?" Mummy smiled and replied, "This one is Our Lady of Mount Carmel." This little girl is now a Carmelite nun.

As we celebrate this feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, let us ponder on it.

The Biblical roots lie in the saying of the Prophet Isaiah that God will send us His Spirit from above, and the desert will become Carmel. Everywhere in Carmel, righteousness and justice will be done, because everyone will do what is right, there will be peace and security in Carmel forever (Isaiah 32:15-18). He further adds, "The desert will rejoice, flowers will bloom in the wilderness. The desert will sing and shout for joy. It will be as beautiful as Lebanon. Mountains as fertile as the fields of Carmel and Sharon. Everyone will see the Lord's splendour and power; give strength to the hands that are tired and to knees that tremble with weakness. Tell everyone who is discouraged, be strong and do not be afraid. (Isaiah 35:1-4)

Earlier, Prophet Elijah, who dwelt on Mount Carmel, saw a vision of a small cloud coming from the sea towards the mountain bringing torrential rain, saving Israel from dryness and devastation. (1 Kings 18:44) In that small cloud, depicted like a human hand, Mary's devotees see a prophetic image of the Virgin Mary, who bore in her womb the Divine who gave His life for the world.

From distant antiquity, Mount Carmel was as a Holy Promontory sanctified by Prophet Elijah. The triumph was brought by Yahweh. The God of Israel and the unsung beauty of Mount Carmel grew as a symbol of peace and prosperity that God would restore at the end of time. Carmel is therefore one of most beautiful spots that the Good Lord created. We regard the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother, Queen and Splendour of that verdant spot. Therefore we call her Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The first Christian community monks who were considered to be imitators and successors of Elijah and Eliseus, lived in hermitages and monasteries on the slope of Mount Carmel and took for their patronage Our Lady as their spiritual Mother, and called her the Lady of Mount Carmel.

Mary gifted a Scapular to St Simon Stock, maternal gift of a mantle round her children, gift of protection. At that time, a grave crisis existed in the Order of Carmel. With that gift of protection, the Carmelites were able to expand all over the world.

The Scapular is a promise of protection in life, and even after death. For those who wear it will be freed from Purgatory.

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10 Saint Bonaventure - A great Franciscan - John Francis Quinn

posted Jul 14, 2017, 12:10 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 14, 2017, 12:11 AM ]

St Bonaventure was born in Italy in 1217. He was the son of Giovanni of Fidanza, a physician, and Maria of Ritella. He fell ill while a boy, and according to his own words, was saved from death by the intercession of St Francis of Assisi. Entering the University of Paris in 1235, he received the Master of Arts degree in 1243, and then joined the Franciscan order, which named him Bonaventure in 1244. He studied theology in the Franciscan school at Paris from 1243 to 1248. His masters, especially Alexander of Hales, recognised in him a student with a keen memory and unusual intelligence.

By turning the pursuit of truth into a form of divine worship, he integrated his study of theology with the Franciscan mode of the mendicant life. In 1248, he began to teach the Bible; from 1251 to 1253, he lectured on the Sentences, a medieval theology textbook by Peter Lombard, an Italian theologian of the 12th century, and he became a master of theology in 1254, when he assumed control of the Franciscan school in Paris. He taught there until 1257, producing many commentaries on the Bible and works containing a summary of his theology. These works showed his deep understanding of Scripture and the Fathers of the early Church—principally St Augustine—and a wide knowledge of the philosophers, particularly Aristotle.

Bonaventure was particularly noted in his day as a man with the rare ability to reconcile diverse traditions in theology and philosophy. He united different doctrines in a synthesis containing his personal conception of truth as a road to the love of God.

Bonaventure's defence of the Franciscans and his personal probity as a member of his religious order led to his election as minister general of the Franciscans on February 2, 1257. Founded by St Francis according to strict views about poverty, the Franciscan order was at that time undergoing internal discord. One group, the Spirituals, disrupted the order by a rigorous view of poverty; another, the Relaxati, disturbed it by a laxity of life. Bonaventure used his authority so prudently that, placating the first group and reproving the second, he preserved the unity of the order and reformed it in the spirit of St Francis. The work of restoration and reconciliation owed its success to Bonaventure's tireless visits, despite delicate health, to each province of the order and to his own personal realisation of the Franciscan ideal

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13 OBITUARY - Rev Dr Augustine Kanjamala SVD (1939-2017)

posted Jul 14, 2017, 12:09 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 14, 2017, 12:09 AM ]

Rev Dr Augustine Kanjamala SVD, a renowned theologian and missiologist, passed away on July 4, at Holy Spirit Hospital, Mumbai. He was 78.

Bishop Chacko Thottumarikal of Indore, who led the Funeral Mass at Sacred Heart Church, Andheri (E) on July 6, noted that the Divine Word priest served the Church intensely with his visionary leadership in evangelisation.

"He inspired everyone. He was encouraging and motivating. He promoted team spirit and harmony and dialogue in community life." He provided "innovative guidance" to the Society of Divine Word as its Mumbai provincial.

In his condolence message which was read at the Mass, Cardinal George Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Church, described Fr Kanjamala "as a zealous missionary," who worked hard to spread the Gospel.

Fr Kanjamala also provided "commendable leadership" to his congregation, the Cardinal noted.

He was a visionary and a true missionary to the core. May his leadership and zeal be a source of inspiration to all the missionaries," the Cardinal's message said.

The mourners included priests, nuns and family members of Fr Kanjamala.

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