Saint Angelus of Sicily – Priest and Martyr
Born 1185 – died 1220. Angelus was one of the first Carmelites to come to Sicily from Mount Carmel, brought to Sicily to preach against the Albigensians and Bulgars. A Jewish convert, according to trustworthy sources, he was killed by unbelievers in Licata during the first half of the thirteenth century. Acclaimed as a martyr, his body was placed in a church built on the site of his death. Only in 1632 were his relics transferred to the Carmelite Church. Veneration of St Angelus spread throughout the Carmelite Order as well as among the populace. He has been named patron of many places in Sicily. Even to the present time devoted persons invoke him in their needs and faithfully honour him.
Office of Readings
Second Reading – From The Flaming Arrow by Nicholas of France, prior general
Your first sons on Carmel, O holiest of Orders my Mother, were like stones mortared together in unfeigned charity, who held aloof from the least violation of what they had vowed when they made profession; while yet they strove, at home in their cells, to “ponder God’s law” and “watch at their prayers,” not because they were compelled to, but happily, moved by joy of
Remember, beloved Order, your worthiness in the days when you never failed to regale your hermits, our saintly forefathers, with spiritual sustenance of the richest, in pasturage unequalled, and to lead them forth to waters of unparalleled refreshment.
I tell you, my brothers, it is from Carmel that the brethren must climb to the Mountain – all those who deserve to be called “Carmelites,” in other words, who, on account of the excellence of their lives, will go from strength to strength in a steady ascent from the Mount of the Circumcision of Vices until they reach, as they surely will, the Mountain which is Christ.
In the desert all the elements conspire to favor us. The heavens, resplendent with the stars and planets in their amazing order, bear witness by their beauty to mysteries higher still. The birds seem to assume the nature of angels, and tenderly console us with their gentle carolling. The mountains too, as Isaiah prophesied, “drop down sweetness” incomparable upon us, and the friendly hills “flow with milk and honey” such as is never tasted by the foolish lovers of this world. When we sing the praises of our Creator, the mountains about us, our brother conventuals, resound with corresponding hymns of praise to the Lord echoing back our voices and filling the air with strains of harmony as though accompanying our song upon stringed instruments. The roots in their growth, the grass in its greenness, the leafy boughs and trees–l make merry in their own ways as they echo our praise; and the flowers in their loveliness, as they pour out their delicious fragrance, smile their best for the consolation of us solitaries. The sunbeams, though tongueless, speak saving messages to us. The shady bushes rejoice to give us shelter. In short, every creature we see or hear in the desert gives us friendly refreshment and comfort; indeed, for all their silence they tell forth wonders, and they move the interior man to give praise to the Creator – so much more wonderful than themselves.
Isaiah writes in figure of this joy that is to be found in solitude or in the desert: “The wilderness shall rejoice and shall flourish like the lily, it shall bud forth and blossom, and shall rejoice with joy and praise.” And we find in the psalms: “The beautiful places of the wilderness shall grow lush, and the hills shall be girded with joy.”
Each wise solitary, resolute in his flight from the dangers of the world, longs to be so indissolubly united to Christ, the cornerstone, that he might say effectively with the Prophet: “It is good for me to adhere to my God, to put my hope in the Lord.”
R/. How goodly, sweet Jesus, is Your inebriating chalice, none so happy as those who can say in good conscience: * “The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup” (alleluia).
V/. It is You who will restore my inheritance to me. * “The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup” (alleluia).
God our Father, strength of the faithful and crown of martyrs, by your grace Saint Angelus was called from Carmel to triumph victorious over the torments of martyrdom. By his prayers grant us that faithfully following his example, we may bear witness to your presence and goodness until death. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.