Mary's maternal help

"The Christian people have venerated Our Lady of Mount Carmel, particularly through the holy scapular, as the Mother of God and our Mother, who presents herself to us with these credentials: "In life, I protect; in death, I help; and after death, I save. She is our life, our sweetness and our hope, as we have repeated so many times in the recitation of the Salve.

Devotion to the holy scapular of Carmel manifests our security in the maternal help of the Virgin. Just as trophies and medals are used to signify relationships of friendship, remembrance or triumph, we give an endearing meaning to the scapular to remind us very often of our love for Our Lady and her blessed protection. She takes us by the hand and, every day of our life here on earth, leads us on a safe path, helps us to overcome difficulties and temptations: she never abandons us, "because it is her custom to favor those who want to take refuge in her.

One day the hour of our definitive encounter with the Lord will come. Then we will need her protection and help more than ever. Devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and to her holy scapular is a pledge of hope in Heaven, because the Blessed Virgin extends her maternal protection beyond death. This prerogative fills us with consolation. "Mary guides us towards that eternal future; she makes us long for it and discover it; she gives us her hope, her certainty, her desire. Encouraged by such a splendorous reality, with unspeakable joy, our humble and tiring earthly pilgrimage, enlightened by Mary, is transformed into a sure path iter para tutum towards Paradise." There, with divine grace, we will see her.

When in 1605 Cardinal De Medici, who would take the name of Leo XI, was elected Pope, and while he was being clothed with the papal robes, they wanted to remove a large scapular of Carmel that he wore among his clothes. Then, the Pope said to those who were helping him to dress: "Leave Mary to me, so that Mary does not leave me". We do not want to leave her either, because we need her so much. That is why we always wear her scapular. And we tell her now that when that last moment arrives, we will abandon ourselves in her arms. So many times we have asked her to pray for us now and at the hour of our death, that she will not forget!

In ancient times Our Lady of Mount Carmel was depicted with a group at her feet made up of souls in flames in Purgatory, to point to her special intercession in this place of purification. "Our Lady is good for those who are in Purgatory, because through her they obtain relief," St. Vincent Ferrer often preached. Her love will help us to purify ourselves in this life to be with her Son immediately after death.