Maria V. Gallagher finds much spiritual sustenance by journeying to Mount Carmel.
I have to admit—I just love staring at the cover of A Journey to Mount Carmel: A Nine-Day Preparation for Investiture in the Brown Scapular of Our Lady. The newest offering by Fr. Jeffrey Kirby features a gorgeous rendering of Our Lady holding the Baby Jesus on one side and the scapular on the other, with precious angels looking on. The image is so moving it enticed me to dive right into the book, which is a highly satisfying guide for preparing one’s heart and soul for a special commitment to the Lord.
For those who are not familiar with the concept, the Brown Scapular consists of two pieces of cloth on a string which one wears around the neck. The cloth pieces are typically distinguished by images of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary) and the Carmelite shield. The sacramental comes with a promise attached—that anyone wearing the Scapular who “died devoutly” will be delivered from Purgatory shortly after his or her death.
While there is no formal preparation for investiture in the Brown Scapular, Fr. Kirby has devised a plan which can help people prepare spiritually for wearing this beloved sacramental. For a period of nine days, readers contemplate spiritual goals, ponder teachings about the Christian way of life, and engage in helpful spiritual exercises.
The exercises live up to their description as “a small treasure chest for your spiritual preparation.” They consist of ideas such as conducting a thorough examination of conscience, meditating on Scripture, praying the Stations of the Cross, and contemplating various mysteries of the Holy Rosary.
Topics for study include renouncing sin and Satan, the master deceiver, and believing in the Holy Trinity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Each topic is explored with insight and intelligence, enabling the reader to grow in his or her faith at a comfortable pace.
Like many Catholics, I received my first Brown Scapular when I was a child. I abandoned the practice of wearing it when I wore it outside my clothing and classmates at my public junior high school derided me as a “devil worshipper.” I gave into the bullies and stopped wearing the scapular, figuring it was not worth the hassle.
I wish now that I had had a guidebook such as A Journey to Mount Carmel back then to give me the strength needed to defend my faith. The book has instilled in me a newfound appreciation for the scapular and all that it represents.
Once I began reading the book, I did not want the nine days to end. Fr. Kirby has created a compelling work which truly nourishes the soul. After finishing this book, I am so happy I decided to venture to Mount Carmel and to experience the loveliness that exists there.
Ask for A Journey to Mount Carmel at your local Catholic bookstore, or order from Amazon.com or the publisher, Sophia Institute Press.
Copyright 2022 Maria V. Gallagher
About the Author
Maria V. Gallagher
Maria V. Gallagher spends her days advocating for women, children, and families. She is the mother of a beautiful ballerina and a member of the worldwide Cursillo movement. In her spare time, Maria likes to blog, walk, sing, dance, and fill the room with laughter. Read her work at MariaVGallagher.com.