by Fr Richard Heilman | July 15, 2016 10:13 PM
In 1251, Mary appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel to Saint Simone Stock, General of the Order of Carmelites, holding in her hand a scapular. She directed him to found a confraternity whose members should wear it and consecrate themselves to her service. Ever since then, the title “Our Lady of Mount Carmel” and the scapular have been inseparably linked.
It is also a tradition among the Carmelites that when Elijah the prophet (of Mount Carmel) threw his cloak over Elisha thus imparting a double portion of his spirit to him, it was a prefiguration of Mary clothing her children with the brown scapular. It is of the greatest importance for Catholics living today as we enter into humanity’s darkest hour, to be consecrated by scapular to our heavenly Mother, placing ourselves under the mantle of her protection.
The scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, also known as the Brown scapular, is one of the most popular and celebrated of Roman Catholic devotions. The sacramental as the lay faithful commonly use it is a miniature derivative of the actual brown scapular used by the Carmelites – the sleeveless outer garment falling from the shoulders which is worn as a sign of their vocation and devotion.
Our Lady gave St. Simon a scapular for the Carmelites with the following promise, saying: “Receive, My beloved son, this habit of thy order: this shall be to thee and to all Carmelites a privilege, that whosoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire …. It shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger, and a pledge of peace.”
A prophecy attributed to Saint Dominic further underlines this importance: “One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world.”
During the final apparition at Fatima, October 13, 1917 when the “miracle of the sun” occurred, Our Lady first appeared as she had been appearing to the three shepherd children with her sorrowful heart exposed. And then she appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel with “something hanging from her right hand.” We can safely assume that the “something” was the scapular.
“Why do you think Our Lady appeared with the Scapular in this last vision?” Lucia was asked in 1950.
“Because,” Lucia replied, “She wants everyone to wear the Scapular.”
The fact that Lucia, on October 13, 1917, saw the Blessed Virgin as She is generally represented under the invocation of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, lends itself to many interpretations. There is nothing to prevent people seeing in this fact the desire of Our Lady to be better known, loved and invoked as Queen of Mount Carmel, or that the use of Her Scapular, with all its obligations, be considered one of the points of Her message, as a very efficacious means of salvation of souls and of the world.
Attached to the wearing of the Brown Scapular is the Sabbatine Privilege. The name Sabbatine Privilege originates from the apocryphal Bull “Sacratissimo uti culmine” of John XXII, 3 March, 1322. The papal document declares that the Mother of God appeared to him, and most urgently recommended to him the Carmelite Order and its confratres and consorores.
According to Pope John XXII, the Blessed Virgin gave him the following message in a vision related to those who wear the Brown Scapular: “I, the Mother of Grace, shall descend on the Saturday (Sabbath) after their death and whomsoever I shall find in Purgatory, I shall free, so that I may lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting.”
Based on Church tradition, three conditions need to be fulfilled to obtain the benefits of this Privilege and the Scapular:
1. Wear the Brown Scapular,
2. Observe chastity according to one’s state in life,
3. And pray the Rosary.
In order to receive the spiritual blessings associated with the Scapular, it is necessary to be formally enrolled in the Brown Scapular by either a priest. Once enrolled, no other Scapular need be blessed before wearing. The blessing and imposition are attached to the wearer for life.
As we approach the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Fatima (1917), we see evil unleashed on our world as never before. In the apparitions, Mary affirmed the weapons most powerful in facing the evils of our time: Rosary and Scapular. But, let’s not diminish the importance of the remaining condition for obtaining the Sabbatine Privilege: “Observe chastity according to one’s state in life.”
It is no accident that evil is running unabated in our times just as we are experiencing the worst “days of debauchery” in the history of mankind?
“The media, Hollywood, TV, universities, public schools, theater, the arts, literature … relentlessly promote the false gods of sexual hedonism and radical individualism … Tens of millions of unborn babies have been slaughtered; illegitimacy rates have soared; divorce has skyrocketed; pornography is rampant; drug use has exploded; sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS have killed millions; birth control is a way of life; sex outside of wedlock has become the norm; countless children have been permanently damaged — their innocence lost forever — because of the proliferation of broken homes; and sodomy and homosexuality are celebrated openly. America has become the new Babylon” (Washington Times, 2011).
This debauchery has been Satan’s most effective weapon in our times, especially since the advent of high speed internet. With one click access to pornography, our men (especially) have been easily tempted to exchange their friendship with God for a few moments of sensual pleasure. Now, stripped of their spiritual armor and weapons; they are naked on the battlefield with no real power to protect and lead their families … they have no power of grace.
The time is now to reclaim the surrendered ground Satan has stolen from our families. The time is now for all men to make a commitment to purity.
Take up the weapons of our times: The Scapular, Rosary and Purity.
Our Lady of the Fatima, pray for us! St. Michael the Archangel, protect us from all evil!
GO TO CONFESSION!!
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