Starting the morning off with God
is the key to strength and success in your day!
St. Simon Stock (1165-1265) was born in Kent, England. He was strongly drawn to God as a child, and at the age of twelve he began to live as a hermit in the hollow of an oak tree. After two decades of this solitary and penitential life, he entered the world again to study theology and become a priest. His studies complete, he then returned to his hermitage. At this time the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him, instructing him to join the Carmelite Order that was just entering England. St. Simon became a Carmelite in 1212. By 1215 he became the order's leader and worked to establish it across Europe, especially at the great universities. He also traveled to Rome and Mt. Carmel in the Holy Land, and revised the Carmelite Rule to make them mendicant friars instead of hermits. Tradition holds that the Virgin Mary appeared to him again and presented him with a brown scapular, the habit of his order, promising that those who wore it would not be eternally lost in hell. This apparition is known as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and her "scapular promise" is that she will intercede with her Son to ensure that the wearer of the scapular obtains the grace of final perseverance, that is, of dying in a state of grace. This is the origin of the Brown Scapular devotion which soon spread to the laity to obtain the graces promised by Our Lady, a devotion later encouraged by many popes. St. Simon Stock’s feast day is May 16th.
In addition to the myriad feast days honoring Our Lady under her many titles and virtues, the entire month of May is especially given to her praise. In the words of Pope Paul VI, May is "a month which the piety of the faithful has long dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God ... For this is the month during which Christians, in their churches and their homes, offer the Virgin Mother more fervent and loving acts of homage and veneration; and it is the month in which a greater abundance of God's merciful gifts comes down to us from our Mother's throne."
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, for the salvation of souls, the reparation of sins, the reunion of all Christians, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father this month. Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God, have mercy upon Thy servant, Pope Francis, our Supreme Pontiff, and direct him, according to Thy loving kindness, in the way of eternal salvation; that, of thy gift, he may ever desire that which is pleasing unto thee and may accomplish it with all his might. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Our Father. Hail Mary.