THE PERFECTIONS of God are so infinite that no single creature could possibly reflect His Power and Goodness. God therefore multiplied creatures that what one failed to reveal the other might declare. The same is true of the Incarnate Son of God, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The richness of His Redemptive Blood would not be reflected in only one material way. Rather like the sun, the beauties of whose seven rays are reflected only by shining through the prism, the beauties of Calvary are only adequately revealed to us as they shine through the prism of Christ's Church and split up into the vivifying graces of the seven Sacraments.
Mary, the Mother of that Divine Savior, is only a creature, human and not Divine. But exalted to the high office of being the ciborium of Emmanuel for the nine months she bore about in her virgin flesh the Host Who is the lamb of God, it follows that she has so much dignity that no one title could exhaust it. That is why there is a Litany to her made up of many titles, as so many facets reflecting the various lights of the diamond of her Divine Maternity.
In like manner, the tradition of the Church is full of various titles under which the intercessory power of the Blessed Mother may be invoked. At one time, it is as the Defender of Christianity when the Turks invaded Europe; at another as the Queen of Peace; at another as the Lady of Lourdes. One of these titles and one of the most glorious of them all is: "Mary, Mother of the Scapular of Mount Carmel, or Our Lady of Mount Carmel."
Since we learn to love ends because we know their beginnings, so we are strengthened in our love of the Blessed Mother by being shown the foundation stones upon which it reposes. More than that, one sees in the scapular, which is a miniature clothing, a reversal of the penalties and effects of Original Sin. Before Adam sinned, he was naked but not ashamed. That was because of the integrity of his human nature by which senses were subject to reason and reason to God. His union with God was, as it were, the clothing of his whole being. But once that union was disrupted, he was naked and ashamed. He now had need of clothing. From that day to this, human nature has used either one of two kinds of clothing, depending upon whether they emphasized the nakedness of souls or the nakedness of the body. Those who are totally disinterested in God clothe themselves with jewels and finery to compensate, whether they know it or not, for their inner spiritual poverty.
Those who love God, and therefore have souls clothed with the raiments of His grace, need never care about the richness of the external. We see something of the symbolism of this in the clothing of a nun. When the ceremony begins she is dressed in surpassing beauty and bedecked with jewels. But once she consecrates herself to God she clothes herself in the poverty-stricken garments of her community. Being clothed with the richness of Divinity, why should she concern herself with the superficial beauty of the world?
There must be something of this symbolism in Mary's gift of the scapular which was originally a habit. "The beauty of the King's daughter is from within." Mary's gift of clothing is just a simple garment, sufficient to cover the traces of Original Sin in us, but its very simplicity is also a witness to the fact that her own beautiful mantle covers our souls. The scapular bears therefore a double witness: to Mary's protection against the ravages of the flesh occasioned by the Fall, and to Mary's influence as Mediatrix of graces, who covers our souls with the richness of her Son's Redemption.
Mary has been constituted by her Divine Son as the intermediary between our needs and His wants; such was the role she played at the marriage feast of Cana, when she interceded for the needy guests to the miraculous power of Her Divine Son. It is a singular fact that in answer to her request Our Lord addressed her, not as 'Mother', but as 'Woman', as if to imply that once she began interceding for the humanity whom He was to redeem when "the hour" would come, she entered into a larger relationship than merely that of being His Mother, namely, that of 'Woman', the new Mother of redeemed men.
On the Cross this title is conferred
again when Our Lord addresses her as "Woman! Behold thy son!". She had
brought forth her "first born" in the flesh at Bethlehem, now she was to
bring forth her first born in the spirit at Calvary, namely John, the beloved
disciple. John was the symbol of men, whose motherhood Mary purchased at
the foot of the Cross in union with her Divine Son. It is not by a figure
of speech, nor by a metaphor that Mary is our Mother, but rather by virtue
of the pangs of childbirth. As a woman can never forget the child of her
womb, so neither can Mary forget us . . .
RT. REV. MSGR. FULTON J. SHEEN
Feast of St. Simon Stock
May 16, 1940
Taken from the Preface of MARY IN HER SCAPULAR PROMISE, John
Scapular Press, 1942; with Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur.
2. ORIGIN OF THE TITLE
IT IS eight hundred and sixty years before Christ. A striking scene is being enacted in Palestine. The entire Jewish nation is assembled there on the summit of the Scripturally famous Mount Carmel. Within a circle formed by the thousands of Israelites, eight hundred and fifty pagan priests are screaming fiendishly about a stone altar upon which they have laid a dressed bullock. Early this memorable morning they began dancing about according to their rite and slashing themselves with their lancets. Their shouts have been rising shrilly, their lancets waving more arid more wildly until now, at noon, they mill about in an exhausted frenzy, covered from head to feet in their own blood.
Deafened by the shrieks of the many hysterical, blood-covered priests, the Jewish King, Achab, presses foremost in the tremendous crowd of onlookers. His face is contracted with worry and pain; the faces of his entourage are crestfallen. But to the side, alone, a white-bearded old man stands wreathed in smiles! His eyes glint like fire and quick gestures betray a great nervous strength in his thin and poorly clad body. He is jesting with the priests and taunting them!
Behind this mysterious and horrible scene lies a tense drama.
The Jewish nation has fallen into idolatry and three years and six months before this day, that old man-----who was dwelling on this same mountain-----walked down the streets of the royal city and up to the palace. He then proclaimed before the king that if the nation did not return to its God it would be Divinely punished. Since that very day, when he was sent away from the royal palace unheeded, it has not rained in all Palestine. But now, at the summons of the king, the whole nation is gathered on Mount Carmel. The venerable old man-----who is the fiery prophet, Elias-----having once more presented himself, commanded the capitulating monarch to "gather unto me all Israel, on Mount Carmel, and with them the pagan prophets who eat at the queen's table: four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and four hundred prophets of the groves." [Book of Kings III, 18: 19]
Early this unforgettable morning, Elias stood before the vast, wondering throng and cried: "How long do you halt between two sides? If the Lord be God, follow Him! but if Baal, follow him!" No one spoke a word. Not a move was made. So the prophet fairly proposed a contest. The pagan prophets would build an altar and he would build one. Then they would both offer holocausts and pray for miraculous fires to consume their offerings: the God Who sent down the consuming fire would be acknowledged by the nation as the true God. The pagans have been storming their idols for hours while their holocaust only dries in that relentless sun from a sky that has been cloudless so interminably long.
However, it is not so much for the fire-contest between the prophets that we interest ourselves in this strange sight but for the after-event. After he has brought down a miraculous fire and thus proved that "God is God" and after he has seen the whole nation fall to its knees with the cry "The Lord is God! The Lord is God!" The mysterious prophet turns to the King and says that now it will rain. And while the king goes to take dinner at the prophet's bidding, we follow Elias as he proceeds to a place near the side of Carmel. The murmur of the Mediterranean, which laves Carmel's foot in a perpetual homage to her mysteries, seems to rise like the overture of some great event. Preoccupied, the old man sits on the ground and crouches there, his head between his knees, and tells his young servant to go and look out over the sea; six times we see him return only to report to his venerable master: "There is nothing."
What an unusual scene! What if the Israelites, feasting nearby, were to know that this venerable old man is destined to live until the end of the world . . . What if they knew that in a future century he is to appear with the greatest of their prophets in that one moment of the earthly life of the Incarnate God when He will let fall the veil from His Divine splendor! Yes, right over there on that peak facing them-----of Mount Tabor-----this old man will appear at a moment that will astound the world down thru the ages to a stream-lined century of which they do not even dream. What if they knew that at this very moment that awesome figure is not only about to present a material salvation to them but is also about to behold a prophetic vision of the spiritual Salvation of all mankind through an Immaculate Virgin . . .
We see the servant return the sixth time to be again sent by Elias to "look out over the sea." This seventh time he hastens back for, rising out of the sea at the foot of the Mount, he has seen a small cloud in the shape of a human foot!
In the near tomorrows, Sainted Doctors of the true Church will explain to the world how this little cloud, rising pure out of its bitter sea and leaving all impurities behind, is a figure of an Immaculate Virgin who will rise pure out of the sea of humankind, free of its universal impurity of Original Sin. As soon as Elias is told of the tiny cloud ascending over the side of the mystic mountain, we see him rise from his unusual position. Within an incredibly short while: "The Heavens grew dark with clouds and wind and there fell a great rain" [Kings III, ch. 18].
Two thousand, one hundred and ten years later, we see another king expectantly climbing up Mount Carmel. He is not clothed in a toga-like robe but in glistening armor with a large Cross blazoned upon his shield and upon his breast-plate. Surely he does not expect to find a fiery prophet on this Mount; Elias has been taken to Heaven centuries ago, has come in the spirit of John the Baptist to herald the approach of the Son of God, has appeared at the Transfiguration, and has even entered the mystical life of the new Church, a "Saint" and a mystery.
No, but this king is the holy Louis IX of France, who will one day be canonized a Saint. He is interested in some most holy men who, he has been informed, dwell in the grottos of this Mountain and call themselves "Hermits of Saint Mary of Mount Carmel." Due to the gains of the infidels into Palestine these men are being forced to emigrate to Europe; since their sanctity is a by-word, Saint Louis wants some of it for France.
Having ascended Mount Carmel and having met the monks there, Saint Louis is astounded by the account of a most unusual tradition.
The Saintly monks say that they are the descendants of the Prophet Elias and call themselves "Hermits of Saint Mary of Mount Carmel" because the fiery prophet, whom they imitate, had beheld, in a foot-shaped cloud that had divinely soared from the sea below them, a prophetic image of the Immaculate Virgin Mary who was to bring forth man's Salvation and to conquer the pride of Satan with Her heel of humility. He had instructed his followers to pray for the advent of this Virgin, saying that the vestigial form of the cloud bore out the Divine malediction against the devil: "I shall place enmities between thee and the Woman, thy seed and Her seed . . . thou shalt lie in wait for Her heel and She shall crush thy head . . ."
They informed Saint Louis that from the time of Elias until the birth of the Blessed Virgin, the great prophet's successors on Mount Carmel handed down from one to another the great revelation of their Founder, all the while praying for the appearance of that Immaculate Virgin. She had finally come right down in that little town of Nazareth, over at the other side of that plain which lies at the foot of the Mount, where they could look down on its mystery. And then Mary visited them and the Holy Family, on the return from the seven-year sojourn in Egypt, rested awhile among them. They had erected, here on Mount Carmel, the very first chapel on earth ever to be dedicated to the Mother of God. Furthermore, when the Church was spreading and Mary had gone to join Her Divine Son, because of Her predilection for them they received custody of the Holy House in Nazareth.
"Hermits of Our Lady!" Saint Louis must have thought. "Truly if what these holy men believe is fact, they are indeed the 'Family of the Blessed Virgin'."< style="font-weight: normal;">But, as a matter of fact, fifty years later, almost to the day, Our Lady appeared to Saint Peter Thomas and made the astounding pronouncement: "The Order of Carmel is destined to endure until the end of the world for Elias, the first patron of the Order, asked this of My Son at the Transfiguration!" Later Our Lord Himself, in a colloquy with His beloved Saint Teresa, designated these hermits "The Order of the Virgin!" And if Saint Louis was struck with a reverential awe by the holiness of this family of Mary, what would have been his feelings were he to know what was happening at that very moment, in another part of the world, between Our Lady and "Her Order?"
Some thirty years before Saint Louis came to Mount Carmel to persuade six of the hermits to return with him to France, two English crusaders took a few of the hermits to England. A strange but holy man joined them there in whom they could not help but recognize a great likeness to the fiery prophet whom they ever emulated. He took the name "Simon;" his surname, "Stock," was symbolic of the life he had led prior to their coming: he had been dwelling alone in the fastnesses of an English forest in a tree-trunk hollow even as Elias had dwelt in Carmel's natural caves. Our Lady, in a personal apparition, had told him that Her devotees were coming from Palestine; and that he; should join their society. [La Vie de St. Simon Stock by Alfred Monbrun, 1888, pg. 49]
The persecutions, which now were a tremendous force in Palestine and the reason for Saint Louis' presence there, caused so many of the 'Carmelites' to move West that a Vicar General had to be appointed there. Simon Stock received this honor. He found himself at the helm of Mary's bark, in more than usually troublous waters. By the time he was made General of the entire Order, six years later , it became apparent that nothing less than heroic faith was required to pilot the sea fearlessly.
Adapting the heretofore contemplative Order to a mixed life; in a seeming awareness that a marked change was about to take place in the body of Mary's special sons, the Saint sent the younger men to the Universities. He thereby alarmed the old men who had led lives of utter solitude on Carmel. However, he recognized that they had been providentially forced from Carmel and, guided by Mary, he braved the ugly dissension that his policy evoked.
But this inward cancer was not the only affliction. Outside the Order, the whole secular clergy was raising a din at the sight of another group joining the ranks of the odious mendicant friars; not only did they persecute the men from Carmel everywhere, but they carried their cries to Rome, demanding the suppression of these "newcomers." Moreover, strange as it may seem, the barred-cloak, which these Palestinians wore, seemed violently to irritate western sensibilities. Saint Simon thought to change it because the unpopularity of the Elian garb was hindering the growth of his family of Mary; he refrained in deference to the views of the older members who naturally loved their ancient cloak, redolent of Elian traditions.
For the first five years of his generalship, the opposition from within and without grew daily stronger. Hence, in the year of 1251 we find Simon retiring to the Cambridge monastery, weighed down by his ninety years and a trial well beyond the strength of even a far younger man. He seems to be seeking the solitude of his cell even as he had been wont to retire to his tree-trunk, in his youth, to pray. Probably he is thinking to himself, as Saint Teresa of Avila said later, "Can the hand of God be shorter for the Order of His Mother than for other Orders?" And it is not merely a question of removing obstacles that confronts the Saint now; it is a question of preserving the Order's very life.
This sickness of the Order that was "fomented by Satan," as a contemporary of St. Simon describes, may put one in mind of a certain "Little Flower's" childhood sickness. Carmel is Mary's Flower, She its blossoming vine; now the Flower droops her head. Let us apply the words of Therese:
"It was an illness in which Satan assuredly had a hand . . . He wished in his jealousy to avenge himself on me for the grave mischief my family was to do him in the future. . . He little knew, however, that the Queen of Heaven was keeping a faithful and affectionate watch from above on Her Little Flower, and was making ready to still the tempest just as the trail and delicate stem was on the point of breaking." [Autobiography, ch. 8]
Yes, the Order of Carmel, Mary's Flower, sinks and droops her head; dissension and persecution, fomented by Satan who hates Mary and Her seed, are the raging sicknesses that stretch her upon a bed of death. Since the worst suffering takes place in the head of a body, the aged General and Saint is the most cruelly weighed upon by the multiple afflictions that beset his Order of Mary. Kneeling in his tiny cell, he pours forth his soul with deep and longing sighs in what has been often called "after the Hail Mary, the most beautiful of all Marian prayers:" The Flos Carmeli.
The beauty of this prayer lies not only in its mystic power but also in its literary perfection. The Latin text is: Flos Carmeli, Vitis Florigera, Splendor Coeli, Virgo Puerpera, Singularis! Mater Mitis, sed viri nescia, Carmelitis da privilegia, Stella Maris!
As the Saint lifts his tear-dimmed eyes, the cell
is suddenly flooded with a great light. Surrounded by a great concourse
of Angels, the Queen of Heaven is descending towards him, holding forth
the Brown Scapular of the friars and 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." [Viridarium Ordinis B. Virginis Mariae de Monte Carmelo
per JOHANNEM GROSSI, reproduced in the Analecta Ordinis Cannelitarum, VIII
[1932, Rome] from the Spec., t. I, by Danieis a V. M.]
The purpose, the raison d'être of that long established and special "family of Mary" stands revealed, "O Mary, who from that hour [that Elias beheld the foot-shaped cloud over Carmel] didst preside over the watches of God's army, without ever failing for a single day: now that the Lord has truly come through thee, it is no longer the land of Judea alone, but the whole earth that thou coverest as a cloud, shedding down blessings in abundance, Thine ancient clients-----the sons of the prophets-----experienced this when, the land of promise becoming unfaithful, they were forced to transplant their customs and traditions to other climes; they found that even into our far West the Cloud of Carmel had poured its fertilizing dew, and that nowhere would its protection be wanting to them . . . Since their tents have been pitched around the hills where the new Sion is built upon Peter, the cloud has shed all around showers of blessings more precious than ever, driving back into the abyss the flames of H ell . . ." [The Liturgical Year, Eng. tr. Shepherd, Dublin, 1870: sub festo, July 16.]
Flower of Carmel
Our presentation emphasizes the catholic [and Catholic] or universal aspect of the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at a time when Our Lady seems to be using it to draw all to Her Immaculate Heart, and the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, in order to change the world. The title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is called her "Glorious title" but also to emphasize its catholicity as "The sign of consecration to Her Immaculate Heart" as taught by Pope Pius XII.
Little by little, the importance of the title "Our Lady of Mt. Carmel," forces itself upon us. It is not just a "devotional" title like that of Our Lady of Good Counselor or Our Lady of Perpetual Help but is as importantly a historical and even an apocalyptic title.< style="font-weight: normal;"> Since the main purpose of a title is to describe its subject, the more we consider the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the more we appreciate that it describes Our Lady as The Immaculate, rising above the world like a cloud from the sea at the foot of Carmel to bring salvation, accompanied by a great miracle to lead mankind from Godlessness . . . and thereby delivering man from devastating Divine chastisement.
Yes, all this is contained in that one, glorious, mysterious title which represents something more subtle, as St. Bernadette experienced at Lourdes.
The principal Lourdes apparitions took place in February and March. Afterwards there followed a long period of silence. Our Lady's messages to St. Bernadette were complete. A barricade had even been built around the place of the apparitions by local authorities so no one could visit there. St. Bernadette knew, despite week after week and month after month of silence, that although Our Lady's messages were complete there had not been a final "good-bye." For some reason there was to be another apparition.
Then on July 16, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Bernadette felt an inward call to go back to the barricaded grotto. Why? She would not be able to go in! There on the barricade Our Lady appeared in such glory that Bernadette . . . who had before marveled at Our Lady's beauty . . . was filled with wonder. "She was more beautiful than ever," the little Saint said in a hushed voice.
This time, there were no words. It was heart to heart.
Bernadette had always worn the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. In this final, wordless vision at Lourdes we see the devotional aspect of that somewhat austere yet glorious title which is a call to holiness . . . a call to the heart.
On Mount Carmel did Elias hear any words when he was told that a foot shaped cloud was rising out of the sea . . . the final sign after his seven-times act of prayer in persevering faith? If so, none are recorded. None were needed. The cloud "spoke" by its symbolic shape and by the simple fact of what it was.
Mary has thus appeared, at Lourdes, in southern France.
Lourdes is the New Carmel where the cloud of a hidden Virgin takes form and the Immaculate declares Herself. This new Mount Carmel, of the West, symbolizes a Virgin whom God no longer chooses to keep hidden. Its spring of miraculous waters is a symbol of the might of Heaven's Queen, of the gentleness of a perfect human Mother, of the desire of God that She to be more known and more, from Lourdes to Fatima:
On the Silver Jubilee of "Our Lady of Lourdes," twenty-five years to the day after Mary's last appearance to Saint Bernadette, representatives from every part of the Catholic World gathered at the grotto in the Pyrenees to honor the Virgin who had appeared there to declare that She was the Immaculate Conception. The Bishop of Nimes, a learned and saintly man, was the preacher.Addressing that great concourse, inspired to the occasion, he said: "Lourdes is the new Carmel where Mary has deigned to appear. Mary Immaculate appeared to the prophet upon the lofty heights of Carmel, raising Herself from the midst of the waves under the image of a light cloud. But at Lourdes the cloud assumes color, it is transfigured, Mary is arranged in light and splendor. She speaks and reveals Her name, She designates Herself, She declares: 'I am the Immaculate Conception.' O! Sacred mountain of the Orient! great though thy glory, thou hast beheld but the shadow of what here today we possess in reality!"
3. OUR LADY OF FATIMA'S LAST APPEARANCE
If this could be said at Lourdes, where the only reference to Mount Carmel was that Our Lady chose this day for Her final and most glorious appearance, how much more it applies to the mountain of Fatima . . . where Our Lady actually showed Herself the final time as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, holding the Scapular down to the world after having performed what Father Pio Sciatizzi, S.J. called "the greatest, most colossal miracle in history?"
From Fatima it is clear that this title of Our Lady has a most special meaning to each of us, especially NOW.
Perhaps, even so, few will use the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in prayer. Some will find the title awesome, like the very miracle of fire on Mount Carmel followed by the slaughter of pagan "priests." Some will be comfortable in praying: "Dear Lady of Mount Carmel . . . Dear Lady conceived Immaculate, coming in power to deliver mankind from Satan's worship! Dear Lady, promising a miracle "so that all may believe!" . . . Dear Lady to whom "God [as Jacinta said] has entrusted the peace of the world!" Dear Lady, hope of the world on the verge of merited Divine chastisement! Dear Lady of Mount Carmel!"
A most beautiful prayer to her
was the one used by St. Simon Stock on July 16,
1251, when She answered his prayer by coming in glory, surrounded by
of Angels, and designated the humblest part of the Carmel habit . . .
its a service uniform: "Whosoever dies clothed in this shall never
The prayer of the Saint on that occasion about the Flower of Carmel (and of Heaven) has been called the most beautiful prayer: to Our Lady (especially in the original Latin) after the Hail Mary. To pray this beautiful oration, visit HERE.
"This most extraordinary gift of the Scapular-----from the Mother of God to Saint Simon Stock-----brings its great usefulness not only to the Carmelite Family of Mary but also to all the rest of the faithful who wish, affiliated to that Family, to follow Mary with a very special devotion." [La Vie de St. Simon Stock by Alfred Monbrun, 1888, Preface written by Pius IX.] --------PlUS IX
4. MEANING OF THE PROMISE
PRESENTING the Scapular to Saint Simon for the world, Our Lady makes but one condition to Her promise of Salvation: "Whosoever dies clothed in this Habit shall not suffer the fires of Hell." She promises that anyone who enters Her family of Carmel, and dies there, shall not be lost.
Seven centuries have passed over that promise and its exact meaning, which is anything but obscure, seems to have troubled hundreds of speakers and writers almost to the point of obsession. "Satan perceived what a great multitude of souls the Scapular was going to snatch from him," remarks a modern writer. "He groaned with rage and swore to avenge himself of this recent, other most terrible blow that the Immaculate had just given him. In his fury he declared war to the death on this sacred Habit, especially attacking the unusual privilege with which it is endowed, and hence one soon saw arising from all parts, even from the bosom of the Church, a cloud of specious objections against the remarkable promise attached to Mary's Scapular. Some denied its existence; others saw in it a direct contradiction to the Divine teaching; it was combatted, mal-interpreted, and even denatured." [T. Savaria, Le Scapulaire [Montreal, 1898], pg. 110. N. B.: This author, an honorary canon of the Cathedral of Montreal, was at once learned and spiritual. His book is prefaced by four Archbishops and eight Bishops.] So probably the first thing we will ask ourselves on hearing Mary's remarkable words is: "What did Our Lady mean?"
First, Mary does not mean by Her promise that anyone dying even in mortal sin will be saved. Death in mortal sin and damnation are one and the same thing. Mary's promise naturally rewords itself: "Whosoever dies clothed in this Habit shall not die in mortal sin." To make this clear, the Church often inserts the word "piously" into the promise: Quicumque in hoc "pie" moriens, aeternum non patietur incendium, i. e., "Whosoever is clothed in this, dying piously shall not suffer eternal fires." [Le Scapulaire, Les Chroniques du Carmel, IV, 105, 246, 4, 287, 421. N. B.: This book-length study dwells largely on the theology of the Scapular and is fully explanatory of the "pie" found in the Liturgy.]
Catholic theologians and authorities like Vermeersch,
Saint Robert Bellarmine, Beringer, Benedict XIV, etc., explain the promise
to mean that anyone dying in Mary's family will receive from Her, at the
hour of death, either the grace of perseverance in the state of grace or
the grace of final contrition.
To die in the membership of Mary's family is the one condition. Now, in order to so die, having been validly enrolled in the Confraternity by a Carmelite or a duly authorized priest, one must die clothed in the sign of membership. This Sign of membership may be the large Scapular of the religious Habit, the small Scapular, or the Scapular Medal; all have been recognized by the Sovereign Pontiffs as valid signs of that membership which the Mother of God rewards by an absolute assurance of final contrition and perseverance.
Hence the main requisite is valid enrollment. One must voluntarily join Mary's great confraternity
through the hands of an authorized priest. A priest obtains his faculties from the Carmelite Order or from the Holy See. When he enrolls anyone, unless he has the special privilege of enrolling without the obligation of inscribing the names, he must see that the name of the one whom he enrolls is duly inscribed in the confraternity register. If he does not, the one invested is deprived of many benefits of the Scapular. [P. S. Besalduch, O. Carm.: Enciclopedia del Escapulario del Carmen, nos. 241 to 253; Barcelona, 1931.]
There are a few instances when the names need not be entered on the register. Missionaries have the power, at times, to enroll many people at one time by the recitation of one single formula. In this case, technically known as magnus concursus fidelium, those enrolled are really members of the Confraternity without the inscription of the names because the Holy See has so willed. Pope Pius X granted to soldiers at war the unusual privilege of enrolling themselves. In such a case, however, the Scapular, or Scapular medal, must have been previously blessed and, while clothing himself, the soldier must recite some prayer to the Blessed Virgin, be it only three Hail Marys.
Many have not understood Mary's Promise exactly. On hearing the importance of enrollment and inscription of names, a doubt arises in their minds as to whether they may have been validly invested. Due to the bounty of the Popes, however, there need be no such worry. Pius X, on January the twentieth, nineteen hundred and fourteen, officially validated, with his Sovereign power, the admission of any of the faithful into the Confraternity that had been invalid for any cause whatsoever. Pius XI renewed that validation in 1924, 1928 and 1939. [Ibidem. nos. 281-286; Analecta, X, p. 217.] Anyone enrolled before April, 1939, is therefore sure that he is a member of Mary's family.
As the reader will understand more fully later, the whole meaning of the Scapular Promise derives from the fact that the wearing of the Scapular is a true devotion to Mary. Hence, that the Scapular-wearer have his name on the confraternity register is not enough to obtain the benefits of the Scapular. True devotion to Mary always has three notes: homage, confidence and love; and to be a sign of Salvation those three notes must be practiced perseveringly. When we invest ourselves in the Scapular we practice the homage of becoming members of the Queen's battalion, we profess confidence in Her promises, and we become Her special children of love. But in order to be assured of Salvation, we must persevere in those sentiments and it is only by wearing the Sign of membership until death that we can continually show the Mother of God that we venerate Her, believe in Her, and love Her. Hence it is not enough to be a member of Mary's family; we must profess our membership. Only he is sure of Mary's great promise who has validly entered the Society gathered 'neath Her mantle and dies actually clothed in the Sign of that membership.
Much discussion has arisen in recent years as to just what is validly a Sign of Membership in the Carmelite Confraternity. There are undoubtedly three valid signs; but just how must they be worn and when may one or the other be worn?
The large habit of the Carmelite Order offers no difficulty. The small habit, known commonly as the "Brown Scapular," is likewise clearly defined. It differs from the large habit only in size. After he is enrolled, therefore, a member of the Confraternity can renew his own Scapular even as a religious, once invested, can make his own habit. It must, however, be like the large one. It must be of woven wool, of a color somewhere between brown and black [preferably brown, of course], and of rectangular shape. It must be so made that it can hang over the shoulders and thus rest at once against the front and back of the body. New Scapulars need not be blessed once the wearer has been enrolled; they derive their excellence from the fact that they are a Sign of that membership which Mary rewards with an assurance of Salvation; they become such a sign the moment that a duly enrolled member of the Confraternity assumes them.
In 1910, Pope Pius X made an astounding legislation. He declared that the cloth Scapular, after the enrollment, could be replaced by a medal which bore on one side an image of the Sacred Heart and on the other an image of Our Lady. [S. Congregatio S. officii, Dec. 16th, 1910; cf. Analecta Carm., vol. II, pg. 3 and 4.] The missionaries in torrid zones had besought him to authoritatively make such a mutation of the Sign of membership because cloth Scapulars were so inconvenient for the natives. With no outer clothing to protect those two little pieces of cloth joined by strings, the Scapulars soon became ragged and knotted; due to the heat and frequent uncleanliness of the natives, they also became nesting places for vermin; smelly, curled and unsightly. Surely what Our Lady had made a Sign of membership in Europe was not appropriate in the tropics.
So the Vicar of Christ changed it, as Mary undoubtedly wished. And if ever an act was providential, it was this very legislation! Four years later the World War broke out and literally millions would have had to face death without Mary's assurance of Salvation had it not been for the Scapular Medal. Not only did it become difficult to obtain the cloth Scapulars in that terrible war but something more drastic happened. In the filth of the trenches the Scapulars, which the soldiers would never take off, became nests for vermin and soldiers were officially deprived of them! But the medal was then to be had.
It is apparent that the Holy Father did not change the Sign of Mary's Confraternity in order to truckle to the fashions of the day. During the several days in which His Holiness was deliberating about conceding the Scapular Medal, one of the Cardinals approached him with what he thought to be a very strong objection. "Your Holiness," he said, "to grant the Medal would seem an admission to objectors that the Blessed Virgin never appeared to Saint Simon Stock." [E. P. Magennis, O. Carm.: The Scapular Devotion, Dublin, 1923, pg. 86.]
Probably the Cardinal did not understand the real meaning of the Scapular Promise but the Pope simply turned and said brusquely: "But I believe in the Scapular Vision!" And, as the Vicar of Christ, in granting the Medal he said: "I desire most vehemently that the cloth Scapulars be worn as heretofore." [Cum sacra; quae vacant, scapularia ad fidelium devotionem fovendam sanctiorisque vitae proposita in eis excitanda maxi me conferre compertum sit, ut pius eis nomen dandi mos in dies magis invalescat, SSmus. D. N. Pius divina providentia PP. X, i vehementer exoptet ut eadem, quo hucusque modo consueverunt, fideles deferre prosequantur, plurium tamen ad Se delatis votis ex animo obsecundans, praehabito Emorum." cf. Enciclopedia, no. 287.]
Many did not see, or at least professed not to see, that the Sovereign Pontiff only willed the Medal to take the place of the Scapular in case of necessity or for very serious reasons. The Medal became widespread, not without some injury to the devotion. However, the actions of the successors of Pius X leave no doubt that we should not wear the Medal in place of the Scapular without sufficient reason, and since no official pronouncement has been made, one who does wear the Medal without sufficient reason runs the danger of not receiving the Promise. Mary cannot be pleased with one who changes Her gift out of vanity or fear to make open profession of his affiliation to Her. Moreover, the cloth Scapular has seven centuries of sacred tradition behind it. It has become redolent of the fragrance of Our Heavenly Mother. Not only was it by that Habit that She originally took unto Herself "special children of love," [Per sacrum Scapulare filios dilectionis assumpsit . . . In Missa Votiva of the Carmelites and for the Mass of July 16th. Missale Carmelitarum; Rome, 1935.] as the Church sings in the Preface of Her special Mass for July l6th, but it has been the vehicle of numerous miracles. Those two bits of cloth have extinguished tremendous fires and then have been taken intact from the glowing embers! They. have been found miraculously preserved in the tombs of Saints where everything else had turned to dust! Often people miraculously preserved from a watery grave have found their little habits perfectly dry, the added miraculous touch of a Mother who not only protects us but wants to show us that She does so, because She loves us as Her special children. The Medal has never seen any of these things; it is sure that, as a substitute for the Habit, it can mean as much as the cloth Scapular only to one who cannot wear the cloth Scapular.
But Pope Pius XI has made it possible for everyone to wear the cloth Scapular. By a decree of May 8, 1925, this great Pontiff approved what is known as the "protected Scapular". Instead of just the two pieces of brown cloth joined by string or cord, one may wear the two pieces of cloth joined by chains and enclosed in cases. [Enciclopedia, no. 268.]
There are, consequently, few remaining reasons for Americans or Europeans to be without the cloth Scapular. To prevent being conspicuous, one may sew or pin the Scapular to an undergarment so that it cannot rise and show about the neck. To prevent irritation of sensitive skin one may resort to some sort of covering over the Scapular, perhaps of oil silk or of cellophane. Moreover, as was stated previously, not only may the Scapular be encased but the strings may be white or blue, satin or cotton . . . of any color and of any material. Consequently it should certainly be no more difficult to wear the small Scapular than it is to wear any other undergarment.
The first successor of Pius X, His Holiness Pope Benedict XV, declared on July 8, 1916: "In order that one may see that it is Our desire that the Brown Scapular be worn, We concede to it a grace that the Scapular Medal shall not enjoy." And the Pontiff proceeded to grant an indulgence of five hundred days for each time the Scapular is kissed! [Ibidem, no. 302.]
After the Scapular Medal legislation, Cardinal Mercier wrote: "It is so popular among us to wear the Scapular that we should see with the greatest disgust that, without any foundation, so laudable a custom might be lost; let us use the medal only when we have some real inconvenience in wearing the Scapular." [Vic. Dioces. de Malinas; cf. Encicl., no. 299.] And Father Vermeersch, S. J., said: "I would prefer that, in order to honor the principal Scapular which is that of Carmel, the Brown Scapular be worn in the accustomed form and the medal only as a substitute for the other scapulars in order that one may not have to wear too many." [Analecta Ord. Carm., II, 65.]
Hence it would be wise never to use the Scapular Medal in place of the Brown Scapular but only together with the Brown Scapular as a substitute for the less important scapulars.
We have summarily analyzed, therefore, the meaning of those first words of the Promise: "Whosoever dies clothed in this Habit: Our Lady made a Promise of Salvation to all who die in Her Family of Carmel; so to die, one has to be validly enrolled in the Habit of that family and perseveringly wear it.
Now we turn to understand a little more fully the most astounding promise itself, viz., that those who die in Mary's family shall not suffer the fires of Hell.
As was said in the beginning of this chapter, Our Lady's Promise does not mean a removal of God's sanction of the moral law, i. e., that regardless of what we do we shall not be eternally punished. Saints and Pontiffs often warn us of the foolhardiness of abusing Mary's Promise. At the same time that he joyfully professed: "I learned to love the Scapular Virgin in the arms of my mother," Pope Pius XI warned all the faithful that "although it is very true that the Blessed Virgin loves all who love Her, nevertheless those who wish to have the Blessed Mother as a helper at the hour of death, must in life merit such a signal favor by abstaining from sin and laboring in Her honor." [Letter of His Holiness PP XI on the occasion of the Centenary of the Sabbatine Privilege, cf. P. E. Magen, The Sabbatine Privilege of the Scapular, New York, 1923. ] One can take it as certain that if he continually sins because of Mary's Scapular Promise, he shall not die in the Scapular. To lead a sinful life while trusting in the Scapular Promise is to commit a sin the horror of which borders on sacrilege; its punishment will not only be eternal but far worse than if one had led a sinful life without making the Mother of God an excuse for crucifying Her Son.
There are times when a person is tempted to some great sin, such as impurity or theft, that the suggestion comes: "Why not do it? You wear the Scapular and after this moment is passed you will still have no fear about your eternal Salvation." It is Satan using the Scapular Promise to draw a soul to sin, a worse sin than the objective act itself. Like all sin, it can become a habit. A typical and warningful example is found in a certain well-testified Scapular miracle. A man openly excused a wicked life by boasting that he wore the Scapular; he claimed surety of salvation while he disedified his neighbors by abominable excesses. In this presumptuous belief he persevered until death overtook him. Then those whom he had disedified became witnesses to an event that has not been uncommon in the years that men have sought to realize Mary's promise. As death approached, the poor wretch thought that the Scapular was the cause of his agony. He cried out painfully that it was burning him. In a last supreme effort, tearing it off, he flung it from him . . . and went to meet a Divine Judge. [P. Huguet: La Devotion a Marie en exemples, t. II, 62.]
Mary's promise is the masterpiece of Her motherly love. It was made to be a source of hope and confidence to us. In the supreme moment of our lives-----the moment when we feel this earth slipping away with all that it has meant to us while a strange life yawns at our feet into eternity, we need a mother. Probably it was at the foot of the Cross, the moment when Her Divine Son made Her our Mother in a gesture of death-parting, that Mary thought to assure us of a Mother's love at our dying moment. Soldiers cast lots over the earthly garments She had made for Her crucified Redeemer; She would make a Heavenly garment for Her Blood-purchased redeemed.
"Whosoever dies clothed in this Scapular shall not suffer the fires of Hell." Savaria remarks that it is these words, so very extraordinary, that comprehend the full value of the Brown Scapular. "One cannot descend too far into their depths," he says. "It is only by penetrating beyond the sensible that one comes to know the spiritual treasures which this Heavenly Garment conceals. Especially today, with the power of Satan threatening to shake the very foundations of the world, we need a rational knowledge of our devotions and above all of Her who crushes the head of the infernal serpent." [Savana, op. Cit. pg. XVIII.]
Yes, we need Mary today with Her Satan-crushing prayer. Her great promise must be understood because we also need the union that it has established. We need "Her family," both as corporate members of a militant Church against Satan and as individual warriors with a private battle. Pope Benedict XV, addressing the seminarians of Rome one July 16th, said: "Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: the language, the sentences of the Gospel; the common armor, the Scapular of the Virgin of Carmel, which you all ought to wear and which enjoys the singular privilege of protection even after death." [P. S. Besalduch, O. Carm.: Pulpito de la Virgen del Carmen, Vol. I, pg. 6; Barcelona, 1928.]
Hence it is only natural that we seek to have a rational knowledge of the Scapular Promise. And although the words of Our Lady's Promise are clear, how sure are we that She spoke them? And how can it be that for wearing two pieces of cloth, She saves us? What is the meaning of that denomination of the Scapular, which one hears so often, Mary's Sacrament? Is the wearing of Mary's Sign really a devotion? Is it really an armor that should be as common in the Church as the language of the Gospel? Does it really assure salvation and, then, aid us even after death?
These are a few apparent questions that probably flock to the reader's mind upon understanding the meaning of Mary's words and hearing that they have some very deep significance. And as he looks further at the Scapular, further questions will arise until he will, most probably, find himself mute before the overwhelming magnificence of Mary's gift.
"In admitting me into her Family of Carmel, Mary promises me three great favors. She will protect me in danger, She will help me to die well, and She will promptly aid me after death. It is She Herself who has assumed all these obligations in my regard. [R. P. Chaignon, S.J., Meditations (tr.) New York, 1916: sub festo 16 July.]
----------FR. CHAIGNON, S.J.
"We believe that all those who have the happiness of wearing the Scapular while dying, obtain Grace before God and are preserved from the fire of Hell, because we believe that Mary, to keep her promise, draws forth for them from the Divine treasures of which She is the depository, the graces necessary for their perseverance in justice or their sincere conversion. And thus fortified, and reconciled with God through the Sacraments of perfect contrition, the associates of the Scapular, dying in this Holy Habit, do not fall under the blows of an inexorable justice." [Die Ablasse (tr.) Paderborn, 1886. Sub festo.]
P. MAUREL, S. ].
THAT THE Mother of God appeared to Saint Simon Stock, promising that anyone who died in her Scapular would not suffer eternal fire, is as certain as the fact that George Washington defeated Cornwallis, in 1781, at Yorktown. There are documentary proofs; the Catholic Church has propagated the devotion for seven centuries; and more miracles have been worked through the Brown Scapular than through almost any other Sign this world has ever had. [BI. Claude de la Colombiere, in Serm. pour la Fete du Scap., among other holy authors.]
While one miracle-----one operation above the power of nature-----is God's word, innumerable miracles are decidedly a bit of Divine emphasis. Hence we might say that one has more ground for believing in the Scapular Promises than for believing in the defeat of Cornwallis or the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Besides documents, we have the word of the two greatest authorities in existence: God and His Church.
Since elsewhere the authority of God and of the Church will show itself in support of the Scapular Vision, the reader is invited to consider, here, the documented history. Nor is this invitation extended because the reader might not be sympathetic to miracles and to universal Catholic sentiment.
A short time ago, the Scapular was presented to a man who was at the point of death. Gazing at it in mingled pain and frustration, he sobbed: "Oh, if only I could believe in that!" [Enciclopedia de la Virgen del Carmen: pg. 335.] But he had not learned the facts of the Scapular in life. Faced with death, he could not believe even while his whole being cried out for the sweet, Marian assurance it brings.
Reading the documented history of the Vision to Saint Simon Stock, which lessens the demands on our faith, we cannot fail to acquire a greater reverence and a deeper appreciation of that historical descent of a Mother from Heaven to earth, where She lovingly folded Her children beneath Her mantle to assure their salvation.
It must be pointed out in the very beginning, however, that obviously a tremendous force has been at work to destroy historical monuments of the Scapular Vision and even to hide, under a cloud of controversy, those documents that have proved indestructible. The printing press was not invented until two hundred years after the Vision and therefore almost all the first-hand records of the Vision were unique documents. These documents were, so far as we know, archived in the Carmelite libraries at Bordeaux [where Saint Simon Stock died and where his body now lies], and at London. [Enciclopedia: no.143.] After the Black Plague, less than a hundred years after the Vision, the Bordeaux library was burned by city officials, to prevent the possible spread of contagion. In the beginnings of the Anglican schism, the heretical Henry VIII ordered the London library razed to the ground. Moreover, it seems never to have occurred to the Catholic World of those first four centuries after the Vision that seven centuries later we might like to see some documents. Most of the information we have is either indirect or left to us by chance. Perhaps, however, that is the explanation of its power.
After the Vision [July 16, 1251], the Scapular Devotion spread throughout the universal Church, being richly indulgenced by the Popes and being the vehicle of miracles, until the middle of the seventeenth century. At that time, a bitter enemy of the Holy See and especially of Religious Orders [the Gallican, Launoy], dipped his pen into the red ink of negative argument to smudge the Scapular. "It is a legend," he declared, "there is no documentary evidence of it until two hundred years after the alleged vision." [Cf. R. P. Magennis: Scapulare B. 17. M. de Monte Carmelo: Joannes Cheron et Fragmentum Petri Swaningtoni, pp. 184, Rome, 1915.] Unfortunately, where were the documents? No one had thought of such things and the London and Bordeaux libraries were gone . . . . .
The Church answered by putting Launoy's book on the Roman Index of Prohibited Books and by adding more indulgences to the Scapular. Others responded like the great Jesuit General, Father Aquaviva, who ordered his whole Order to propagate the devotion with fervor as one of its very missions. [R. P. Clarke, S.J.: "The Brown Scapular and the Catholic Dictionary" in The Month, 1886.] Father Papebroech, S. J ., when accused of siding with Launoy considered the accusation a calumny because "the Scapular is a devotion approved by the Sovereign Pontiffs and by celestial favors." [R. P. Papabroech: Responsiones, De Rev. Accusatio II, n. 28: "It would be wicked to deny that this devotion of the Scapular has been honored by graces and privileges granted by the Supreme Pontiffs and approved by celestial favors: N. B.: Father Papebroech was the greatest hagiologist of his day and probably of all time. cf. P. E. Magennis: "The Scapular and Some Critics," pg. 139.]
Benedict XIV, one of the most learned theologians of all time, not only argued against Launoy but expressed the opinion that only a contemner of religion could deny the authenticity of the Scapular Vision. [De festis Domini Nostri Jesu Christi et Beatae Mariae Virginis, lib. II, c. V, n. 1-10; Prati, 1831.]
But Launoy's book, although placed on the Roman Index and banned as utterly unCatholic, continued to be quoted. The negative arguments against the Scapular persisted and, to our amazement, solid documentary evidence offered in refutation was belittled, its whole force gradually smothered in a cloud of doubt stirred from disputes over one document that was probably spurious. [8 Launoy was answered by Father John Oteron, O. Carm.. with a letter which the latter claimed to have been written by Swanington, the secretary of Saint Simon Stock. This letter (Fragmentum Vitae S. Simonis Stockii) was taken to be the foundation for the historicity of the Vision, or at least the corner stone. When it was called into question at the turn of the present century, repercussions were felt in the mightiest volumes of the day: the Encyclopedias. The two greatest figures in the modern debate were the R. P. Benedict Zimmerman, O.D.C., and the R. P. Elias P. Magennis, O. Carm. Both died within a month of each other in 1937. Most writers of historical note are now agreed that it is best to completely ignore the Swanington fragment, regardless of its possibilities, together with all doubtful documentation.] It was not until recently that the historicity of the Scapular has been undeniably established not only on circumstantial evidence but even on a documentary basis.
The scattered ashes of perished documents could hardly be resurrected, but the record of the vision in one book written, by a man of unquestionable character who was sure of his facts, in the century after the vision-----is authentic.
How the Promise is Kept
THE AUTHOR vividly remembers the day that he heard the parting word of an old priest who had just spent several hours going over the theological background of the Scapular Promise. It was in the semi-darkness of a seminary room that was atmosphered by piles of often consulted books in a background of more dusty tomes. The old Doctor, who had been teaching Theology in a large diocesan seminary for more than a quarter of a century, slowly rose to his feet. "Young man," he said earnestly, "what I have outlined to you in these few hours is a formulation that took me forty-two years . . ."
What he had outlined has, in its clarity, opened new vistas of thought and shed abundant light upon most vital truths. And in the comprehension of those truths lies a comprehension of the Scapular Promise and why it is kept . . .Almost everyone has heard that all Grace comes to man through Mary. How many know the explanation of it? Acquainted with the picture on the miraculous medal, of the Blessed Virgin with rays of light streaming from Her hands in representation of the flow of Grace, are there some who think that this is how grace flows through Mary, through Her hands? To really understand the answer, the reader is invited to see (1) what Grace is, (2) how it comes to man at all and, then, (3) how Mary is positioned in its flow.
6. THE DIVINE PLAN
To understand what Grace is we might consider the difference between man's power of moving a corpse and God's power.
Man can lift a corpse and move its arms; he cannot make it lift itself and move its own arms. However, God, Who controls the inward springs of life, can so touch the dead body that what was a corpse begins to move itself and becomes a living thing.
Now, Grace is the life of the soul. It is that awakening touch of the Divinity upon inward springs which gives to the soul the power of spiritually moving itself, of responding to the love of its God. When the soul is in mortal sin and grace is gone, the soul is dead. Only God can give it life again because He alone is the Source of Grace.
All Grace comes, therefore, from the Holy Trinity. The Triune God-father, Son and Holy Ghost-----is the One Source of Grace. from this Triune Source, Grace is communicated to man through the Man-God, Christ: He descended from the Trinity, through Mary, to make us participators in the Divine Nature. He brought our souls to life. Scripture says that while He was on earth "Grace went out from Him." If He touched a man, grace flowed through His human nature from His Trinity with the Father and the Holy Ghost. But, since before He ascended into Heaven He established the seven Sacraments, we still receive Grace through Him. Those Sacraments are like physical extensions of Himself, the hands of His mystical Body in the dispensation of Grace from His Trinity with the Holy Ghost and the Father.
The Divine Plan can thus be summarized: Grace, the spiritual life of the soul, flows to man, from the Trinity, through Christ.
Mary in the Divine Plan
But do not the Saints and Doctors of the Church say that all Grace comes through Mary? The Divine Plan seems quite complete without Her: God is the only Efficient Cause of Grace and Christ is its Channel . . .
Well, if someone asks another to perform a certain action, the one who asks is by his request or persuasion the indirect cause of the thing which is then accomplished at his bidding. Thus if the reader were asked by a friend to close this book and he did so, his friend would be the indirect and secondary cause of the book being closed. So, in the Divine Plan just outlined above, although the direct and efficient cause of Grace is God, Mary, in Her way, is the indirect cause.
She asks Her Divine Son to dispense the life and the impulse of Grace, and it is at Her bidding that He chooses to do so. Hence we say that all Grace flows through Mary because, in His exaltation of His holy Mother, God has deigned to make Her prayer an indirect cause of Grace.
Material examples of deeply spiritual truths cannot but be jarring on our appreciation of their sublimity. However, an example is but a means of rising to the simplicity of the abstract. To show how all Grace flows through Mary, we might liken the human nature of Our Lord to a conduit of Divine Life in which a spring-fitted valve has to be continually held open to allow the continued flow of that life. Mary is that valve and it is Her prayer which must take place to allow the flow of Grace. Thus does She continually cooperate with Her Divine Son in His eternal mission. In this Office She is called "Mediatrix of All Graces."
But we must not forget that Mary is totally dependent on Her Divine Son. From Him She receives all that She possesses. If Her prayers are a necessary condition for the flow of Grace, it is only because He has so willed it. Hence there can be no question of who is more merciful, Jesus or Mary. Mary is nothing without Him and Her mercy is but a sweet manifestation of His mercy; He not only died to save us but even gave us this most perfect, most lovable, and most glorious Mother.
On the other hand, although Mary would be nothing without Jesus, Jesus has made Her by participation [i. e., by the Grace of which Mary is "full"] what He is by nature [somewhat as a reflector can be made as bright as the light which it reflects].
Hence Mary is, in a dependent way, all-powerful. No one can think of any non-contradictory possibility which Her prayers cannot resolve. Neither can anyone measure the depth of Her heart ; Her maternal love is beyond the cognitive power of human intellects.
We see, then, that the Blessed Virgin is different from all other inhabitants of Heaven. Rising above Saints and Angels, as the Immaculate Mother of God and of Eve's redeemed children, She enters into the very plan of God's relation to His creatures. Pope Leo XIII described Her mediation in our regard as a function Divinely assigned to Her, like the natural duty of mothers toward their children. As Mother of God, from Her exalted position in union with Her Divine Son, She beholds the souls of each and everyone of us; in Her place as Mother of mankind, seeing each and every one of our needs, She asks Her Divine Son to give us Grace. Her prayer is an infallible power that continually pours grace at the doors of our souls, where we may accept or reject it.
Now, let us especially notice that Mary is not in the Divine Plan to draw souls to Herself. She is there to draw them to Her Divine Son, the Source of Eternal Life. In this function of Mary we recognize a great truth: Not only is Mary the way by which God has come to us but She is also the way by which He wills us to come to Him. This is why Pope Pius X expostulated: "Can anyone fail to see that there is no more direct or surer way [than Mary] to unite all mankind in Christ and to obtain through Him the perfect adoption of sons that we may be holy and immaculate in the eyes of God?" [Encyclical on the Jubilee of the Immaculate Conception.]
Hence we see the tremendous significance of the fact that this Blessed Virgin, this Mediatrix of All Graces, has promised salvation to anyone who wears Her Sign of Alliance. It is with awe that we picture to ourselves Her descent to Saint Simon Stock, surrounded by the pomp of Her Heavenly Court, to clothe us in Her garment, to proclaim Her Motherhood even as at Lourdes She has proclaimed Her Immaculate Conception. Moreover, we see the explanation of the Scapular.
In considering Mary from any angle we are struck with particular force by two prerogatives: Her power and Her love-----the one omnipotent [with God], the other fathomless. It is because of Her love that She made the Scapular Promise and it is by Her prayer-power that She keeps it.
Theology of the Scapular
It is everything but a dogma of our Catholic Faith that anyone who practices true devotion to Mary perseveringly will infallibly be saved. Moreover, not only is true devotion to Mary, perseveringly practiced, a Sign of Predestination, remarks a certain theologian, but "even sinners can have true devotion to Her." [R. P. Petitalot: The Virgin Mother according to Theology; London, 1889, pp. 409-429.]
True devotion to Mary consists in only three things: homage, confidence, and love. Anyone who comes to death with the surety that he has faithfully praised, trusted and loved Mary, can be also sure that he will not be eternally lost. Such is the doctrine of the Church because, says Saint Alphonsus, one who is thus a true devotee of Mary is protected at death by Her over whom Satan has never had empire and who vanquishes and crushes him by Her presence. [S. Alphonsus Liguori: Glorie di Maria [Rome, 1932], t. I, pg. 317, 349.] Quoting and explaining Saint Bernard, Saint Alphonsus says further: "If we follow Mary we shall never err from the paths of Salvation. Imploring Her thou wilt not despair [St. Bernard]. Each time that we invoke Her aid, we shall be inspired with perfect confidence. If She supports thee thou canst not fall; if She protects thee thou hast nothing to fear, for thou canst not be lost: with Her for thy guide, thou wilt not be weary: for thy salvation will be worked with ease." [Ibid., t. II, pg. 374.]
Now, when we take the Scapular, says Saint Alphonsus, we render homage to the Mother of God: "Just as men take pride in having others wear their livery, so the most holy Mary is pleased when Her servants wear Her Scapular as a mark that they have dedicated themselves to Her service and are members of the family of the Mother of God."Moreover, we show that we believe in Her power to save us and in Her promises; that is confidence. Finally, in making ourselves in a special way Her children, thus rendering to Her the homage of membership in Her family and confiding in Her power and affection, we show that we love Her that we desire to have Her for a Mother.
Containing the three elements of a true Marian devotion, the wearing of the Scapular is by its very nature a Sign of Salvation.
It might seem, as a consequence, that our Heavenly Mother has not really done anything very remarkable in making the Scapular Promise. However, what is more remarkable than a true devotion to Her that is by its nature perpetual? What is more wonderful than an absolute assurance at death that we have always loved the Blessed Virgin, always had confidence in Her, had always rendered homage at Her shrine of devotion? And yet, such an assurance is the Scapular. Indeed, there is no sweeter nor more complete assurance at the death of "every man" than the presence upon him of this Sign of true devotion to Heaven's Queen.
The reader has probably begun to recognize the Scapular Devotion not only as a true devotion to Mary but as the best one. In no other devotion has Mary unconditionally promised Salvation, or made us special children "brought forth by Her and nourished at Her breasts" [Greg. XIII], or given such a Sign of perpetual homage that it even makes us members of Her first and most dear family. It is little wonder that Blessed Claude de la Colombiere said:
"I would reproach myself were I to weaken your confidence in those other practices of devotion to Mary which are approved by the Church. They are all salutary and cannot fail to touch H er maternal heart. But if She graciously accords Her favor to those who avail themselves of those devotions, how much more propitious will She not be to all who clothe themselves in Her holy livery?" [ Serm. pour la Fete, Oeuvres [Lyons, 1702], t. III.]
Now, let us notice a unique and glorious character of this childlike, simple devotion: that it is wordless. The wearing of the Scapular gives rise to a mystical union between the soul and Mary where not a word is spoken. "I am the City of Refuge," says Saint John Damascene in Mary's name, "for all who fly to me."
And Saint Alphonsus comments: "It is sufficient to have recourse to Her, for whoever has the good fortune to enter this city need not speak to be saved. Assemble yourselves and let us enter the fenced city and let us be silent there [Jeremias VIII, 14] , to speak in the words of Jeremias . . . It will suffice to enter this city and be silent because Mary will speak and ask all that we require. For this reason a devout author [Bl. Fernandez] exhorts all sinners to take refuge under the Mantle of Mary, exclaiming: 'Fly, O Adam and Eve and all you their children who have outraged God; fly and take refuge in the bosom of this good Mother; know you not that She is our only city of refuge?' " [B. Fernandez: In Gen. c. 3, a. 22.]
By way of parenthesis, let us remark that Saint
Alphonsus says: "It will suffice to keep silent;" he wishes to indicate
that it is profitable to do more than fly under Mary's mantle, viz., not
only to show our confidence, homage and love by just being there. . . but
to practice that fourth and perfecting element of Marian devotion: imitation.
By rendering homage to Mary we give Her our minds; by confidence we give
our wills; by love we give our hearts. Such is true but not perfect devotion.
To be perfect we must sell all and follow Mary; we must give Her our whole
selves by imitation.
[R. P. Tanquerey: The Spiritual Life
[Phila., 1930], pg. 86. N. B.: Reader will profit by starting at pg. 80
and reading through to pg. 95, in this connection.] Later the reader
will see how the Scapular renders this perfection of devotion to Our Lady
very easy; he is now concerned with what is sufficient and we return to
the consideration of Mary's Promise only in so far as it is a means of
"I made that in the Heavens there should rise light that never faileth" [Ecclus, 24, 6], says Scripture, and Cardinal Hugo comments in Mary's name: "I have caused as many lights to shine eternally in Heaven as I have clients." Now, if we wonder how Mary does this, we have the explanation again from Saint Alphonsus: "By Her powerful intercession She led them thither." [Glorie, t. I, pg. 310.] When heeding the cry of her children, voiced in the infancy of the Church by Saint Ephrem: "O most holy Virgin, receive us under thy protection if thou wilt see us saved for we have no hope of salvation but through thy means," the Blessed Virgin came down and actually spread a mantle over us. In thus making us Her clients and promising to cause us to shine in Heaven, She made the Scapular the Sign of Her intercession.
Thus the Scapular, a visible sign of Mary's invisible mediation, has come to be called Her sacrament in the dispensation of grace to special devotees. This arises from the fact that the Scapular unites us to Mary, where we cannot be lost. In giving us the Scapular, Our Lady does not force us to come under Her Mantle; She merely spreads it out and invites us to come within its folds where, as a member of Her family and as a privileged son, each one of us shall be saved. Hence the alliance is two-sided: Mary on Her part offers to be our Mother, we offer to be Her children; moral union is the result. Anyone who actually thinks of Mary with love, confidence and homage, is morally united to Her and, by the Scapular, this union is continual. Probably the greatest excellence of the Scapular derives just from this unbroken union effected between us and Mary, between the redeemed and the universal Mediatrix. It is the Sign of a bi-lateral contract and, on Her side, Mary assures us of Her intercession.
When we say that Mary is continually present to Her Scapular wearers by what is called "moral union," we simply mean that She is united to them by intention. When I think of someone whom I love while he thinks of me, he and I are united by common intention. If I wear the Scapular, Mary is continually thinking of me and loving me as Her special child and I, in turn, am thinking of Her and loving Her as my dearest Mother. I may not be actually thinking of Her, at the moment, but the Scapular proclaims that I think of Her and love Her at least by intention.
An understanding of the nature of a virtual intention is all-important to an understanding of the continual moral union with Mary that results from the Scapular Devotion. It is the virtual intention, of which the Scapular we wear gives testimony, that renders a perpetual moral union possible.
To understand the force of the virtual intention, let us take the example [though the reality would be most undesirable] of a priest who puts on the vestments in order to Baptize a child and, as he is about to leave the vestry, receives such very distressing news that he enters the baptistry to perform the ceremony totally distracted, even to the point of not adverting to the fact that he is administering the Sacrament. Is the child validly baptized? Yes, because although the priest had not at the moment an actual intention, nevertheless he did nothing to exclude the actual intention which he had when putting on the vestments. Thus he may be said to have had, throughout the ceremony, a virtual intention. In vesting himself he made the actual intention of administering Baptism, and the very vestments he wore during the ceremony showed that the Baptism was willed by him. So, too, the Scapular shows that we will to be united to Mary even when we do not advert to its presence. Consequently, Mary is always present to Scapular wearers in a special way: protecting, guiding, adorning, lavishing a Mother's love.
Hence the Scapular is a bond of union between Mary and the soul. The one who wears the Scapular enjoys Mary's presence by Her contract and his. The Scapular is but the symbol of that contract. And since Satan can do nothing against Mary, the Immaculate Conception, he can do nothing against us when She protects us. That is why one who practices true devotion to Her, and more particularly one who wears the Scapular, cannot be lost.
As a sort of consequence of all this, do we not see that Mary's Scapular alliance-----contracted by a Promise on the one hand, and an acceptance on the other-----has the power of drawing all mankind to union under Mary's mantle? Two things united to a third are united to each other. In entering the Scapular Confraternity we enter into union not only with Mary but with everyone similarly united to Her. Thus, here on earth, a tremendous Marian force is latent in the Scapular Confraternity wherein millions and millions of souls are each, to some degree at least, united to the Blessed Virgin.
It is indeed true that we cannot sound the depths of the Scapular Promise. We see it constituting a true Marian devotion. We see it spreading Mary's Mantle over the earth, under which we can enter and be allied in a special way to the invincible Queen of Heaven. We see it creating a great spiritual force among millions of souls, in a Confraternity of Mary which it will suffice to enter and be silent, "for Mary will speak and ask all that we require:"
"The faithful so unanimously agree that devotion to the Mother of God is a mark of predestination that, independently of the reasons upon which this opinion is based, I think a concordance so general should cause it to be regarded as a truth of our holy religion . . . And because all the forms of our love for the Blessed Virgin, all its various modes of expression cannot be equally agreeable to Her and therefore do not assist us in the same degree to Heaven, I aver without a moment's hesitation that the Scapular is the most favored of all."
------BL. CLAUDE DE LA COLOMBIBRE, S. J.
"We must not look on the Scapular as a talisman operating by some magic virtue of its own, but rather as a manifestation of devotion which derives all its benevolence from the Blessed Virgin and is the HOMAGE of respectful AFFECTION, of FILIAL CONFIDENCE, and CONTINUAL supplication."------A.J. VERMEERSCH, S. J.
7. THE PROMISE EXTENDED INTO PURGATORY
UNTIL IT is explained, the Scapular Promise seems unbelievable. Ever since Our Lady appeared to Saint Simon Stock on July 16, 1251, many-----yes, thousands-----have found it almost impossible to believe that for so little a practice as belonging to Her Confraternity, one could be rewarded with salvation.
It seems that Our Lady returned to Heaven and considered, as it were, the great favor She had conferred. She saw the amazement of thousands at so small an action as wearing two pieces of cloth being favored by Her with so tremendous a Promise. So She returned again to earth, and this time to make a Promise still more astounding!
In the year after Saint Peter Thomas was informed by Her that "the Order of Carmel is destined to exist until the end of the world," the Queen of Heaven conferred a favor through the habit of Her family which has caused the great Pope Benedict XV to exclaim: "Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: the language, the sentences of the Gospel; the armor, the Scapular of Mary which all ought to wear and which enjoys the singular privilege of protection even after death."
For, on March 3rd, 1322, Pope John XXII had issued the following Bull: [See P. E. Magennis: The Sabbatine Privilege [New York 1923] for a demonstration of the authenticity of this script.]
<>"John, Bishop and servant of the servants of God, to the faithful of Christ, collectively and individually: As though in the most sacred heights of paradise, the so sweet and charming harmony of the Angels is heard while the sense of sight is also delighted and Jesus is seen adorned with the glory of His Father. For He saith: I and the Father are one . . . He who seeth Me, seeth also the Father . . . and the choir of the Angels ceaseth not to say: Holy, Holy, Holy. Even so, the Assembly ceaseth not to pour forth praise to the Virgin on high, O Virgin, Virgin, Virgin, be thou our mirror alike and example . . . For she is adorned with the gift of Grace, as holy Church singeth . . . Mary, full of Grace and Mother of Mercy . . . So that hill which is reputed of the Order of Carmel, praising with song and extolling and telling of this Mother of Grace . . . Hail, Queen of Mercy and our hope . . . So, as I prayed with bended knees, the Virgin of Carmel seemed to speak to me these words: O John, Vicar of my well-beloved Son, I shall snatch thee, as it were, from thy foe. Thee who art Pope, I make my Vicar for the solemn gift which I sought from My Son and have obtained by my prayers. So, it behooveth thee to grant a favor and confirmation to my holy and devout Order of Carmel, which took its rise with Elias and Eliseus on the mountain of that name. Whoso maketh profession, whoso observeth the Rule drawn up by my servant Albert the Patriarch, whoso unfailingly sheweth obedience thereunto and to that which has been approved by my dear son Innocent, so that thou mayest accept through the Vicar of my Son on earth what my Son hath ordained in Heaven: that he who shall have persevered in holy obedience, poverty and chastity, or shall enter the Holy Order, shall be saved. And if others for the sake of devotion shall enter holy religion, hearing the sign of the Sacred Habit and calling themselves associates of either sex of my aforesaid Order, they shall be freed and absolved from a third part of their sins on what day they enter. . . So let the professed members of the said Order be freed from punishment and from guilt on what day they go from this world," so that with hastened step they shall pass over Purgatory, I, THE MOTHER OF GRACE, SHALL DESCEND INTO PURGATORY ON THE SATURDAY AFTER THEIR DEATH AND WHOMSOEVER I SHALL FIND IN PURGATORY I SHALL FREE, so that I may lead them unto the holy mountain of life everlasting. 'Tis true that you brothers and sisters are bound to recite the Canonical Hours, as it behooveth according to the Rule given by Albert. Those who are ignorant must lead a life of fasting on those days on which Holy Church doth so ordain. Moreover, unless through some necessity they be involved in some difficulty, they must abstain from flesh meat on Wednesday and Saturday, except on the Birthday of my Son. Now, when these words had been uttered, the sacred vision departed . . ."
Purgatory! Eye has not seen nor ear heard the tremendous suffering that word implies. Some theologians are of the opinion that the worst pain we could possibly suffer on earth-----utter moral abandonment while the body be tortured by the most diabolical cruelties-----cannot be compared to the least of the Purgatorial pains. Saint Mary Magdalen de Pazzi tells us that "the pains suffered by all the Martyrs are as a pleasant garden in comparison with the sufferings of the Souls in Purgatory." [ Cf. Savaria, pg. 222.] Saint Cyril said: that, as for himself, he would rather suffer all the pains that have beset man from the time of Adam together with all that will beset him until the end of the world, rather than spend one day in Purgatory. For since nothing impure can enter Heaven, one must go to Purgatory and, there, only tremendous suffering can satisfy the temporal punishment due offenses against an Infinite Goodness. Saint Bridget beheld a Soul in Purgatory tortured inexplicably for having been vain and having thought more of frivolous diversion than of things spiritual. [Revelations (Rome, 1628) , Bk. V, ch. liii.] Saint Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, reports that a Saintly religious was detained sixteen days in Purgatory for three trifling faults and that she would have been there longer had it not been that she had been very faithful to her rule. A certain layman, although he was a good Christian, was fifty-nine years in Purgatory because of his love of comfort; another, thirty-five years for the same reason; a third, who was too fond of gambling, was in Purgatory for sixty-four years. And Saint Augustine says that the torments of Purgatory surpass all that a man can suffer on earth. [Treatise on Psalm xxxvii; cf Savaria, op. cit. 231.] But Mary, who through Her intercession has complete dominion over Purgatory, [St. Bernardine: Serm. 3, de Nom. Mar. a. 2, c. 3.] has come to Her special children to assure them that She will not suffer them to remain in its fires more than a week-----in fact, not beyond the day consecrated to Her Honor by the Church. With Saint Bonaventure, we hear Her saying in the words of Scripture: "I have penetrated the depths of the abyss, that is, the depths of Purgatory, to help those holy Souls." [Glorie, viii, pg. 305. N. B.: Novarinus says, in Cit, Exs. 86, "Crediderim omnibus qui in flammis purgantur, Mariae meritis non solum leviores fuisse redditas illas poenas, sed et breviores, adeo ut cruciatum tempus contractum Virginis ope illius sit." Such is the meaning of the Sabbatine Privilege.] Saint Bernardine said that the Blessed Virgin always liberates Her special devotees from the torments of Purgatory and Saint Denis the Carthusian and Saint Peter Damian had written that on the feasts of the Assumption, Christmas and Easter: "Our Lady descends into Purgatory and takes many souls from it." [St. Dionysius, Cart. Serm. 2, de Ass. N. B. : Note that the Saint says that Mary descends and that on a certain day: Beatissima Virgo singulis annis in festivitate nativitatis Christi ad purgatorii loca cum multitudine angelorum descendit."] But Our Lady has declared that She will not wait for the great Feasts to liberate Her devotees of the Scapular. Regardless of the punishment merited, provided they have observed chastity and practiced an act of piety regulated by their confessors, She will obtain for them the complete remission of their debt and their complete purification by the very first Saturday after their death and, on that day, escort them to eternal bliss.
When Saint Teresa was astonished at seeing a certain
Carmelite carried straight to Heaven without even going to Purgatory, she
was given to understand that he had been faithful to his rule and avoided
Purgatory because of Bulls granted to the Carmelite order. [Autobiography,
ch. xxxviii [near the end]: "I was amazed that he had not gone to Purgatory.
I understood that, having become a friar and carefully kept the rule, the
Bulls of the Order had been of use to him, so that he did not pass into
(N. B.: Fr. Zimmerman opines that this does not refer to the Sabbatine Bull and to the Bulls that confirm it; but since he gives no grounds for his opinion and since he had very "queer" ideas about the Sabbatine Privilege itself, readers of his edition of St. Theresa's autobiography might discredit his opinion. Saint John of the Cross rejoiced to die on Saturday because of this "Sabbatine" Privilege. "Everyone should strive for it," said Pope Pius XI. But there are many who miss this great Privilege. "Although many wear my Scapular," Our Lady complained to the Ven. Dominic of Jesus and Mary, "only a few fulfill the conditions for the Sabbatine Privilege." [R. P. Bauss, Das Fegfeuer (Mainz, 1883) ; cf. Scapulier-Biichlein (Graz, 1892), pg. 34.] Similarly, at her death the saintly Carmelite, Frances of the Blessed Sacrament, exclaimed:
"There are only a few who receive the Privilege because only a few fulfill the conditions." "Is it true that wearers of the Scapular are actually freed from Purgatory on the Saturday after their deaths?" was one of the questions put to her father by Sister Seraphina in the celebrated communications with his suffering soul which caused international comment. "Yes," was the answer, "'when they have truly fulfilled all the obligations."
And yet the privilege is very easily obtained. One must observe chastity according to his state in life. But this must be done, privilege or no privilege, and if one should have the misfortune of falling into grievous sin, it is the opinion of authorities that as soon as he repents and resolves never to sin again, his right to the privilege begins anew. The other condition for obtaining the Sabbatine Indulgence often varies. Our Lady required the daily recitation of the Office, or, if recitation of it should be impossible, the keeping of the fasts of the Church together with abstinence from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays. However, if one cannot observe even this condition, then any other work may be substituted by a confessor, either inside or outside the confessional. (It is to be noted, however, that only a confessor with the special faculty . . . which faculty is often obtained together with the faculty of enrolling in the Scapular but which does not follow from the latter . . . can commute the saying of the Little Office to Abstinence from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It is only this latter condition which can be commuted by all confessors. Hence, were the reader told by a confessor with the proper faculties that all he had to do in order to enjoy the Sabbatine Privilege was to fervently kiss his Scapular every day [besides wearing the Scapular and observing chastity according to his state], upon doing so with the right intention the reader would have the assurance of being freed from Purgatory on the Saturday after his death.
It is a semi-triumph for Satan to cause Souls to suffer in Purgatory as the result of unrequited sin. Mary sees them, Her children, in unspeakable suffering in the Heart of Her Son, which longs to give bliss to these predestined ones whom He has ransomed at the price of His Blood, is deterred for a time from being finally united to them. Hence Satan celebrates a victory. How crushing it must be to him, an incarnation of pride, to be vanquished by so simple a Marian devotion as the Scapular! And where the promise of Salvation rendered him powerless against Souls who died in the Scapular, now a further promise almost completely curtails his power. To keep Souls in Purgatory which do not enjoy the Sabbatine Privilege he can use his wiles to prevent suffrages from being offered for them, but, before Mary's new Scapular Promise, he is impotent. How true it is that the Immaculate crushes his head, the seat of pride, with her heel! We are again forcibly reminded of the cloud that appeared to Elias over Mount Carmel, the prophetic vision that gave rise to the title of the Scapular Queen, "Our Lady of Mount Carmel."
For even as that little foot-shaped cloud brought material salvation and cooled the burning earth, so does Mary, through Her humble garment of Carmel, bring spiritual salvation and cool the fires of Purgatory.
Naturally Satan did not allow the Sabbatine Privilege to spread in the Church without a great struggle. In the opposition that has met it from every quarter it is not difficult to discern his forces at work. A privilege that is authoritatively confirmed by the Holy See, for which Popes have almost begged us to enter the Scapular Confraternity, should be utterly beyond question. A Pope granted it and Popes have ratified it: John XXII, Alexander V, Nicholas V, Sixtus, IV, Clement VII, Paul Ill, Saint Pius V, Clement VIII, Leo XI, Paul V, Urban VIII, Alexander VII, Benedict XIV, Pius VI, Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI. [Of the nine Popes who have sanctioned the Sabbatine Privilege, note these words of St. Pius V (Superna dispositione . . . Feb. 8, 1565): "With apostolic authority and by tenor of the present, we approve each of the privileges [of the Carmelite Order] and also the Sabbatine."] But even though everyone knows that the indulgence comes through the Church, it has been mysteriously clouded by a discussion as to the authenticity of our present copy of the original bull! As in the case of the Scapular Vision we see a document being attacked and defended again and again, as though with the fall of that document the Sabbatine Privilege would cease to exist. The easiest way to dispel such a cloud is to point out to the querulous that if the Blessed Virgin did not grant the indulgence, what they refuse to attribute to Her they cannot refuse to attribute to the Popes.
Now, it seems that there is more in the Sabbatine Privilege than first appears. In what is probably the greatest of all Marian books, the author of which has been declared a Doctor of the Universal Church, the unusual opinion is voiced that if a Scapular wearer does a little more than Mary requires as conditional for obtaining the Sabbatine Privilege, he will never go to Purgatory at all.
The book is The Glories of Mary by Saint
After the death of St. Alphonsus, there was a clamor for his canonization. When his body was solemnly exhumed, upon removal of the inner coffin covering his remains, a most remarkable sight met the eyes of the examiners: there, in the coffin, where the body and episcopal robes had decomposed, the Scapular lay incorrupt. Was it Mary's testimony to that most unusual statement, in Saint Alphonsus' famous book, concerning the Sabbatine Privilege of Her Scapular?
It is noteworthy that many devotees of the Scapular Queen hope and pray for the grace of dying on Saturday, and receive their request. An edifying incident occurred some "years ago when, despite the opinion of her doctor that she should die on Wednesday, a certain lady earnestly protested that ever since she had sought the Sabbatine Privilege she had begged Mary not to let her die until Saturday, and she felt certain that she would not die until that day. To the doctor's surprise, she did not. Saint John of the Cross died in 1591 saying: "The Mother of God and of Carmel hastens to Purgatory with grace, on Saturday, and delivers those Souls who have worn Her Scapular. Blessed be such a Lady who wills that, on this day of Saturday, I shall depart from this life!" Saint Alphonsus asks: "Can we not hope for the same grace if we also do a little more than Mary asked?" Saint Alphonsus himself did more, and with the result that the Mother of God came to his death bed personally to bear his beloved Soul straight to Her Divine Son.
As was said, although all else perished in his tomb, Mary's Scapular remained incorrupt. The Virgin of the Scapular is so full of love for Her children, so unspeakably good and completely condescending, that She is not content with being at their side in death, but She aids them after death. It is little wonder that Pope Leo XIII, as he saw death approaching, called his familiars to his bed and said: "Let us make a novena to Our Lady of the Scapular and I shall be ready to die!"
"Mary's love is limitless and Her mercy extends to all. Nevertheless, She has Her favorites. There is no one in the world for whom She prays more readily than the religious of Mount Carmel and all who are affiliated to them, because She has a particular tenderness for them. The reason is that the religious of Carmel were the first to consecrate themselves to Her. They are Her eldest. And the protection which Mary accords to them does not stop at the end of this life but follows on into the next life. She causes them to avoid the torments of Hell and, if they are in Purgatory, She obtains speedy deliverance for them!"
-----R. P. LEJEUNE
"For the gate of the inner court which looks to the east shall be shut for six days, but on the Sabbath it shall be opened."-----Offertory of the Mass on the Scapular Feast.
FATHER MILLERIOT, of the Society of Jesus, used often to recount a certain incident that is illustrative of the meaning of Mary's Promise to a missionary.
A certain woman, who had received some favors from the celebrated Jesuit, violated the principles of honor. When, out of dread and shame, she determined upon taking her life, she made known her terrible intention to Father Milleriot. The Jesuit used every argument to dissuade her. Utterly blinded by shame and fear, however, the woman was so possessed by the temptation that the missioner's words had no effect. Finally, he administered his reserved coup.
"At least," he said in a lowered voice, "at least you will do one little thing for me. Let me give you the Scapular and then promise me that you will not take it off."
For a moment, the sinner hesitated. Then she replied: "I will promise you, Father. I could not refuse one who has been so kind to me."
As she left, wearing the livery of Our Lady, Father Milleriot smiled inwardly and said: "My friend, I have you now. Try as you may to take your life, you shall not succeed." [Enciclopedia, pg. 227; Carm. Rev., III, pg. 323.]
Haunted by the temptation, the poor woman actually did go to the Seine and throw herself into its waters. She was rescued. The next day, she tried again. Again someone saw her fall into the water and again she was unwillingly dragged from the river. This time a severe illness followed. As she lay between life and death, still wearing that miraculous Scapular, grace touched her soul and she realized the horror of what she had been about to do. Father Milleriot found, after her recovery, that in the place of an abandoned sinner was a repentant Saint. He signified this great victory over Satan by simply stating the case: "She remained a devout and fervent client of the Blessed Virgin throughout the rest of her life." [Carm. Rev. III, pg. 323.]
What glory Mary gives to Her priests by Her universal assurance of Salvation! It is the assurance of the Queen of Souls that anyone who dies, clothed in a certain sign, shall not die in mortal sin. An elderly pastor in Vienna recently wrote: "So steadfastly do I believe in the fulfillment of the Promise that in every parish that I erected the Scapular Confraternity I always told the faithful: If your pastor knew that all his parishioners wore the Scapular and died in it, he would be certain that you would meet again in Heaven, without a single exception." [R. P. Hardt, O. Carm., Das hl. Skapulier, Wien, 1936.] Another exemplary pastor says: "Since I have given myself to propagate and spread the Scapular in my parish, I have observed that no one dies without the Sacraments." Mary has made it possible for priests to repeat at death those very words which proclaimed Her Divine Son the Perfect Pastor:
"Those whom Thou gavest me have I kept, and none of them is lost" [John vii, 12]. Moreover, this missionary value of the Scapular does not accrue solely to priests!
The greatest work one can accomplish on this earth is the salvation of souls. Nothing is more precious, nothing more dear to the heart of God, than a human soul. One might become the president of his country, the hero of nations, and it would be as nothing in comparison with the glory of procuring the salvation of a single soul.
During the World War, there was a curve in a certain trench of the Allies into which the enemy could fire. The forces of the central powers had a machine gun positioned so that the bullets struck right into the curve; with steady spurts they kept the trench continually divided by a wall of death. When Father William Doyle, the famous war chaplain, heard that a wounded soldier was dying at the other end of the trench, he was working his way through the trench with the Blessed Sacrament when he came to the death spot. Machine-gun bullets were licking the wall in front of him. He stopped. The hot thought coursed through his brain that a man was dying somewhere farther on and possibly was in need of absolution. Possibly the soul of a soldier was at stake. Hesitating not another moment, to be sure of that soul Father Doyle plunged forward through what seemed a certain death.
Such is the value of a human soul and, here, the Scapular enables the ordinary every-day man, whose unconsecrated hands are neither priestly nor pastoral, infallibly to assure the salvation of numerous fellow men simply by inducing them to the easiest religious practice imaginable!
The following facts, which appeared some years ago in The Irish Catholic, although treating of a young priest might have been your experience or mine. They are illustrative of this power at our disposal in the Scapular.
"Doctor Francis Zaldiia, former President of the Republic of Colombia, was an eminent lawyer very much opposed to the Catholic Church. He always belonged to the liberal party, which in that country, as in most countries, is hostile to the Church. To him, partly, the expulsion of the Jesuits has to be ascribed. Nevertheless, he had a son who was educated very carefully and finished his studies at the American College at Rome. The young Colombian studied for the priesthood and was particularly devoted to the most holy Virgin. Although he prayed to Our Lady incessantly for the conversion of his father, all his efforts seemed in vain.
"After the young cleric had been ordained a priest, he returned to his native country. A few years after his son's return, the old ex-President became hopelessly sick, but gave no indication that he wished to die as a Christian; on the contrary he awaited death unconcernedly. This almost exasperated the priestly son who stood near the dying father's bed. Making a final effort, the young priest said painfully: 'Dear Father, what human skill could do has been done. Do you not want any spiritual assistance whatever? Please, take this Scapular!' The dying president, accepting the offered Scapular, soon made his confession and declared that he wished to die a son of Mother Church!" [Cf. Carm. Rev., V, pg. 184.]
The Scapular is easy to take and yet spiritually transforming after it is taken. That is how we discover Mary in its Promise. She is so easily loved and, by the very fact that She is loved, She unites us to God!
Just as Mary's Motherhood is not limited only to Catholics but is extended to all men; so the missionary value of the Scapular extends not only to Catholics. Many miracles of conversion have been wrought in favor of good non-Catholics who, living according to their proper moral code, have been induced to practice the Scapular devotion out of reverence for God's Mother. What is the Scapular Promise but a corroboration of that truth which the Catholic Church has taught for centuries, that a soul dying with devotion to the Mother of God cannot possibly die in mortal sin?
The flowing hours of our lives might be likened to an escalator, upon which God has placed us. The eyes of our souls may be turned straight up to God, or partially to God, partially to the side, or down. God is at the top and the degree to which we keep ourselves turned to Him is the degree to which we render Him glory; if we reach the end facing Him directly, we immediately see Him face to face for all eternity; if we reach there facing Him but partially, we fall into Purgatory until we are acclimated to behold His infinite Beauty directly; and if we come to the end with our backs to God, having deliberately refused to look at Him during life, we stay that way forever; we have died in mortal sin and have thereby damned ourselves.
But a person who dies with devotion to the Mother of God could not have his back completely turned to Her Son; such a thing is incompatible. Nor is this merely true for those Baptized in the Church. Anyone who dies with sentiments of homage, confidence, and love for the Blessed Virgin, must die with at least some like sentiments of confidence and love towards God of whom Mary is a reflection. Hence, we can lead non-Catholics to God through the Scapular just as we can lead Catholics to Him, if we can persuade non-Catholics to be thus devout to the Blessed Virgin. Thus we may be able to get a non-Catholic to wear the Scapular who desires to possess the faith but cannot as yet bow to certain dogmas; it will assure him of Mary's intercession. Perhaps others can be enticed by the lovableness of so sweet a Mother to practice devotion to Her, and at very least so simple a devotion as that of wearing the Scapular. God revealed to Saint Gertrude that He has made Mary so lovable that She may be a Divine enticement to souls. A non-Catholic, faced with miracles wrought through the Scapular and the very logic of so sweet a practice, may be led to it and thus be assured of dying in the state of Grace [and known how only to Him, united to His Holy Church].
There are many examples of the Scapular Promise working its wonders in the souls of non-Catholics. A very recent one occurred at the Bellevue Hospital in New York. The prior of the house of studies of a religious Order, a very close friend of the present author, solemnly testifies to an incident which inaugurated his administration of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction there. He had just come back from Rome and was at once appointed to duty at the Bellevue. The morning came when, for the first time, the older priest left him alone to take care of any sick-calls. He was hoping against hope there would not be any. But one came. Nervously he prepared for it and was then led into a certain ward to the bed of a patient who, he believed, had called for a priest. Approaching the bed he asked the dying man if he wished to make his confession. "I am not a Catholic," came the surprising reply. Confused, the young priest went to the nurse and said, "Nurse, there must be some mistake; this man says that he is not a Catholic." Well, he is wearing the Scapular, Father," the nurse rejoined.
The priest returned to the bed. "If you are not a Catholic," he inquired, "why are you wearing the Scapular?"
"Because some Catholic sisters, who begged alms near our factory, asked me to wear it," came the slow answer.
"Well, would you like to be a Catholic?" asked the priest.
"Father," came the unusual answer, "there is nothing I would like better!" And he died, newly Baptized, a few days later.
The Venerable Francis Yepes, the brother of Saint John of the Cross, used to practice his lay-apostolate by getting many to wear the Scapular. He not only made that Sign of Mary a means of bringing himself closer to his Mother but he used it to give Her souls to save.
"One night," Father Velasco-----his biographer-----tells us, "while he was praying for the conversion of sinners, infernal spirits came to assail him with the most frightful temptations. Finally, seeing the uselessness of their efforts they cried to him in rage: 'What have we done to you that you torment us so cruelly? Why do you persuade so many persons to wear and to venerate the Scapular of Carmel? Wait until you fall into our power! You shall pay dearly for it!' But the venerable tertiary did not allow himself to be intimidated and quietly finished his prayer. Then he took the discipline. Now, while he was flagellating himself, his Scapular was flicked off and he had no sooner hastened to pick it up and replace it than he heard a fury of demons, as though they felt cheated, crying: 'Take it off! Take off that Habit which snatches so many souls from us! All those clothed in it die piously and escape us!' They then cried that three things particularly torment them: the first is the name of Jesus; the second the name of Mary; the third, the Scapular of Carmel." [ Cf. Savaria, pg. 179.]
Hence the Scapular is a sword in the hands of the lay apostles as well as in the hands of priests, and it is at once a means of victory and an assurance of success.
In the foreign missions, this value of the Scapular in procuring and assuring the salvation of souls seems to have been more evident and more appreciated than here at home where we think less often of the value of saving souls at all. Missionaries seem to have sensed this value of Mary's Promise and they have carried that Sign of Salvation to the four corners of the earth.
The Scapular Medal was first given because of a missionary's explanation to the Holy Father of the unsightliness and inconvenience of the cloth Scapulars as worn by natives in tropical zones. Often have missionaries been the witnesses of most unusual miracles wrought through the Scapular and it is largely to them that one can ascribe the "catholicity" of this, Mary's greatest devotion. Saint Peter Claver, in his unsurpassed labors for the conquest of souls, used the Scapular as an instrument of Divine Providence. In an apotheosis he is pictured at the moment of his death with the Crucifix in his hand and the Scapular on his breast, and around his bed are many Negroes with the Scapular hanging about their necks, kissing the feet and hands of the Sainted missionary.
In pioneer days when American Indians had been somewhat Christianized by missionaries while more selfish white men came to be their hated enemies, a most unusual sight greeted investigators at the battle site after Custer's celebrated stand. Strewn with massacred soldiers, the field presented a most harrowing scene of butchery. But among the lifeless, bloody forms, one body had been signally respected. It was that of Colonel Keogh, an Irishman of deep Catholic faith, which was propped against a tree. The garments over the Colonel's breast had been torn open ; there, carefully and neatly disposed by savage hands, was the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
The American correspondent of L'Univers commented that "without doubt the Sacred Badge awakened recollections of the teachings of some devoted missionary; one could see that several of the savages had assisted in bearing the body of an enemy, only a few moments before an object of detestation, to a sheltered spot; there placing it in a reclining position, the head leaning against a tree, they had carefully arranged the Badge, so loved by the deceased, upon his breast." [Carm. Rev., IV, pg. 70; Chroniques du Carmel, July, 1892.]
Universal, Marian, this little vehicle of a great Promise has been realized to have a tremendous value in the greatest of all human-Divine works: the salvation of souls.
God made His Mother the great missionary at the foot of the Cross on Calvary. To understand the wherefore of Her Scapular's being an instrument of Divine Providence in the salvation of souls, we have to go back to that terrible mount. It is there that we learn the meaning of the human soul and the meaning of Mary's universal motherhood.
To grasp the whole significance of the Passion, however, we need only pause at the tenth station: Jesus is stripped of His garments. For that station was the moment of supreme sacrifice. The Son of God was about to lay down his life. Oh! what a horrible sight met the gaze of His Mother as the soldiers roughly tore off His vestment: a body mangled from head to foot! That vestment, made by Her hands, became a summation of the complete Passion: the soldiers removed the crown of thorns to get it off, and then replaced it; having hardened in the scourge-wounds as the cloth was roughly pulled away it cruelly tore those wounds open anew; once fresh from Mary's hands, it was now dust-covered and its shoulders worn and blood-soaked from the painful carrying of the Cross; He was being stripped to be crucified. This was a most terrible moment. Anyone can appreciate that fact who has experienced those crowded seconds that prelude some great sacrifice or suffering.
Jesus did not suffer this anguish alone. His Mother, She who had so lovingly clothed Him in that cloak made by Her own hands, felt all those ghastly wounds opened in Her Immaculate Heart. We are told by the Saints how Our Lord, due to the perfection of His Body, suffered unspeakably more pain from each wound than we, whose sensibility to pain has been dulled, can ever realize. But Mary knew. To one who knows of the love of Mary for Jesus, is it not enough to say that "Mary stood beneath the Cross, and Mary knew!"?
But look at that bloody garment over which the soldiers are fulfilling a prophecy as they roll their dice. Does it mean anything to us? It means that we are saved! It means that for us the Son of God has mounted the Cross! He has taken off His garment to go into the Valley of Death. Nay, it means more than our Salvation; it means that the Son of God, Whose Sacred Heart is about to be opened with a spear, loves us so much that He unnecessarily suffered a cruel scourging, a thorn-crowning, a stripping, all to prove to us that He loves us more than our self-interested hearts can comprehend. Do we not see those clots of Precious Blood upon the seamless robe His Mother made?
But what is Our Lord saying from the Cross? Even those tossing the dice pause to look up. The Crucified turns His tormented head to gaze down at the Woman [ah! who can describe Her as She stands and gazes at Him!] and He says to Her: "Woman, behold thy son; son, behold thy Mother."
What strange words are these! Is not He, the Crucified God, Mary's only Son? Is it not She who made that seamless garment which, as it lies on the ground, speaks so eloquently of a Bloody confirmation of Love? Surely this nailed Christ is Her only Son, possessing Her whole heart! But then, suddenly we hear the heart-rending cry: "I thirst!" We understand. One is standing there who is achieving the mission of co-Redemptrix and receiving that of Universal Mediatrix. "Mother, all the souls so dearly purchased at the price of this suffering are the object of My desire. You love Me so dearly that I commission you to bring them to Me that thus My pierced Heart may receive them. Satan has no dominion over you; I make them your children; save them by your prayers ! Mother! I thirst for souls!"
When Mary ascended into Heaven, how She must have longed to have men turn to Her that She might thus save them! How She must have longed to see men realize that they needed but to turn to Her, and Her prayers would vanquish Satan! By means of a family brought forth in a prophecy and finally nourished in all the mysteries of its fulfillment, She stooped from Heaven and gathered us into it-----beneath Her Mantle and next to Her Most Pure Heart. "Receive, my beloved son, this Scapular of my family. Whosoever dies therein shall not suffer eternal fire!"
Like the hand of an invincible missionary, Our Lady's Scapular reaches through the world, vanquishing Satan everywhere. What a glory" it is for us, Her children, to be enabled by it to become partners with Her in satisfying the thirst of Her Divine Son, assuring the Salvation of many souls by simply getting them to wear the Scapular which She has given us! Is it any wonder that Saint Conrad, canonized by Pope Pius XI, should have distributed the Scapular to as many visitors as possible, during his forty years as porter of a Capuchin monastery? Or that laymen, such as Venerable Francis Yepes, should seize the Scapular as an instrument placed in their hands by Mary to achieve the greatest work on earth-----the work Christ was about when He taught in Palestine and died on a Cross? Or that priests, such as several of the author's acquaintance, should always carry the Scapular with them in case of sick-calls? Or that pastors should preach the Scapular until reasonably sure that all the souls entrusted to them shall die under Mary's Promise? The garment Mary made for the Redeemer became a symbol of Salvation and the garment She has made for the redeemed has become an assurance of Salvation, through Her Promise. It seems that thus the Mediatrix of all Graces comes from the foot of the Cross to give us, Her children, participation in the very mission which She received there beneath the Cross of Her Son. He said: "Mother, behold thy son!" She has said: "My beloved children, receive this Scapular of our family; WHOSOEVER dies clothed in this SHALL NOT SUFFER THE FIRES OF HELL."
"One purpose for which the Blessed Virgin was created Mother of God is that She may obtain the salvation of many who, on account of weakness and wickedness, could not be saved according to the rigor of Divine justice but might be so with the help of this merciful Mother's powerful intercession."
-----ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
"As amongst all the blessed spirits there is not one that loves God more than Mary, so we neither have nor can have anyone who, after God, loves us as much as this loving M other; and if we concentrate all the love that mothers bear their children, husbands and wives one another, all the love of Angels and Saints for their clients, it does not equal the love of Mary towards a single soul."
-----ST. ALPHONSUS LIGOURI
"As the devil goes about seeking whom he may devour, so, on the other hand, Mary goes about seeking whom She may save and to whom She may give life."
"Let us enkindle in ourselves a holy zeal for propagating, and causing to be observed with all possible perfection, this devotion which is so dear to Mary and so salutary for man. Through the Scapular, let us give Our Lady of Mount Carmel some new children, and to Heaven, therefore, some new citizens who will express their acknowledgment for all eternity."-----RAPHAEL OF ST. JOSEPH, O.D.C.
9. A HEAVENLY GARMENTPrayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel
THE READER has probably come to a certain conclusion about the Scapular. He probably feels that the number of values in these two pieces of cloth bewilders him and that there must be an explanation for them deeper than the simple fact that the wearing of the Scapular is a true devotion to Mary. This conclusion is both logical and accurate. There is indeed more in the wearing of the cloth Scapular than the practice of a true devotion. Mary is there.
In presenting to us Her Scapular, Mary gave us Herself. In the Preface of a special Mass, the Church sings on the Scapular Feast: "Through the Holy Scapular She has taken to Herself sons of choice:" Per sacrum Scapulare filios dilectionis assumpsit. And a mother belongs to Her children. When she gives them birth she becomes their mother, when she becomes their mother she becomes their nurse and protector, and thus she belongs to them. Thus, too, in the very act of taking us under Her mantle to pledge our salvation we see Mary giving Herself, opening Her arms out for us.
The whole meaning of the Scapular derives from this, Mary's gift of Herself to us in the words of its promise. When She descends, surrounded by the pomp of Heaven, to say that whosoever dies under Her mantle shall be saved, does She not clearly mean that while She has brought us all forth to Divine Life in the pains of Her Son's Crucifixion She has come down mystically to retake us into Her womb that She may bring us forth at death to an eternal life?
The deep significance of being special children of Mary is something which every Marian book since the dawn of our Christian era would like to describe. But since all the books about Mary that have ever been written are professedly not adequate to express the value of having the Queen of Heaven for a nursing mother, of being united to Her by bonds that are stronger than death and as permanent as Her own promises, how could this book possibly set about to describe it? Should one insert Saint Alphonsus' Glories of Mary-----the library which its quotations indicate, together with the eleven large volumes of Jourdain's Somme des Grandeurs de Marie? No, for although the books on Mary are today so numerous that they form an actual literature, all of them are inadequate to discover Mary to us.
However, though an exposition of its excellence is beyond us, we can at least state the fact: Mary has made Herself a Mother to Her Scapular-children to such an extent that they cannot be lost. Once She appeared to Blessed Angela de Arena, clothed in the Carmelite Habit and surrounded by Saints who were particularly devoted to Her during life. There were no Carmelites there. "Dear Mother, where are your Carmelites?" exclaimed Blessed Angela. And Mary, quickly pulling back the edges of the white cloak which hung over Her breast, showed her a bunch of roses saying: "Here are my Carmelites." [Pulpito de la Virgen del Carmen, Vol. I, pg. 38.]
Hence, in the whole exposition of the Scapular Promise-----its origin, its meaning and historicity, its donor-----Mary-----in the Divine Plan, how it unites us to Mary, how it gives rise to "Her Sacrament", the Sabbatine Privilege, mystical prayer, union-----the reader beholds an exposition of Mary giving Herself to us by means of that Promise. Probably by now he is almost astounded at never having realized what a real Mother Our Lord gave us on Calvary or that there could be such greatness in a devotion to which he rarely gave a thought. He is probably totally unprepared for more. However, in an appendix to his Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, Sylveira reminds us that "In the holy Scapular, the supreme Queen of Carmel administers to us a Heavenly Garment, gives us a Sign of Victory over our enemies, and leads us to the Blessed Eucharist!" These three aspects of the Scapular Devotion still remain to command our wonder.
A few years ago, two pilgrims conversing with Brother Andre, the miracle-man of Montreal, snipped off the tassels of his cincture and carried them away as prized treasures. We all prize relics, especially if they are those of currently popular Saints or ones to whom we have a special devotion. And it is probably in recognition of this devotion which we have to relics of those in the other world which impels the Mother of God to give Her children, as it were, a relic of Herself.
Authoritative writers and Saints speak of the Scapular as "Mary's garment." Now, they do not mean by this that it is Mary's garment solely because it is the sign of Her Promise. They mean that ordinary cloth, when assumed by us as the vehicle of Her Promise, can be said to be Her garb, because it has come to us from Her sacred hands and is hallowed by its intimate association with Her.
Objects that have been associated with Saints become sacred in that they seem to make a Saint more real to us and to give us a special claim to his intercession. We use them at prayer and touch them to the sick with assurance. Those relics which are the vehicles of most miracles and favors are the most desired and most cherished. Thus, the relics of the "Little Flower of Carmel" are today venerated throughout the whole Church and highly prized.
A relic given by the Queen of Heaven has naturally been the vehicle of more miracles than any other relic the world has ever possessed. It is a relic so unique that each and every one of Mary's children can possess it, and it has been hallowed by seven centuries of continuous wonders in every part of the world. Miracles similar to those worked by Our Lord in His public life, Our Lady has wrought in the Scapular. And besides such wonders-----the raising of the dead, the restoring of lost senses, delivering from demoniacal possession, etc.-----there are wonders proper to the Scapular itself, such as remaining intact after being flung into a raging fire or remaining incorrupt in the decay of tombs. In a work that drew forth high praise from the Sovereign Pontiff, M. D'Arville, an apostolic prothonotary, sketched some of the great Scapular miracles that were worked solely before large crowds of people and then exclaimed: "What a host of prodigies present themselves to my gaze! Not miracles attested by one or two persons, whose testimony might be held in doubt, but by many witnesses, by whole nations who cannot be suspected of having acted in concert to impose on the whole world . . . " And at the risk of poor form, we call upon the full pen-picture of the power in Mary's Garment as copied, from more ancient writers, in the rough and heavy lines of this Frenchman's vigorous style. In its achievement, the picture is classical.
"One beholds all Provence ravaged by a terrible pestilence," he begins, "and Marseilles, alone, putting its trust in the Scapular is saved. Then it consecrates the memory of that signal favor by a monument worthy of the greatness of Mary and the piety of its inhabitants.
"In Spain, the heavens are closed up, as in the days of Elias; there is a dearth as in the days of Joseph. Mary is appealed to, Her Habit is carried in procession. The sky, before of brass, melts into water, and the people find granaries more abundant than those of Egypt.
"At the siege of the island of Malta, in 1565, and at that of the city of Gueldres, in 1597, nations were seen armed against nations, breathing naught but blood and carnage. Mary is invoked, the Scapular is borne in procession. At sight of that new standard the people are disarmed, the torch of war is extinguished, and the charms of peace appear once more.
" All nature, all the elements, seem to respect the virtue of that Holy Habit. Maladies before unknown, defying the skill of the physicians, depopulate the cities and towns of the province of Anjou. The Scapular appears; the mortality ceases. The powers of the air have formed a frightful tempest, which threatens to devastate, far and wide, the plains of Savoy and Sardinia. By virtue of that celestial Habit, the unchained winds, the hail, the lightning and thunder are instantly dispelled. The sea dares to cross the boundaries that the finger of God has marked out for it. The Scapular is the dyke opposed to it. The pride of the waves is instantly broken, and they retire within their usual limits.
"But if from the miracles operated by virtue of the Holy Scapular; in favor of cities, provinces, and entire kingdoms, we pass to the marvels wrought in favor of individuals, it would require all the tongues that Saint Jerome wished to possess that he might celebrate the virtues of Mary. In truth, the earth, is but one vast stage upon which Heaven seems to delight in manifesting the power of this Habit of the Mother of God. Conflagrations extinguished! shipwrecks avoided! bullets flattened out! swords blunted! blind restored to sight! cripples and paralytics cured! dead brought back to life!"
When Elias ascended into Heaven, he let fall his mantle. Overflowing with gratitude, Saint Eliseus hastened to pick it up; it was a relic of his master, the founder of Mary's Carmel. And that action seems to have almost been prophetical of Mary, the true foundress of Carmel, who was to come later, when Her family needed Her, and let fall Her mantle of Salvation.
With Elias' cloak, Eliseus struck the waters of the Jordan and they divided to make way for him. Mary's mantle has been raised against every kind of obstruction from fire and storm to the attacks of dumb animals, from physical attacks to those of temptation, and all have melted before it.
From the time of the miraculously empowered mantle of Elias, several garments are famous in sacred history. Who does not know the story of St. Martin's mantle? Or of the garment made out of palm leaves by Saint Paul, the first hermit, which was inherited by the great Saint Anthony and worn during the days of Pasch and Pentecost? One might also recall the example of Saint Francis de Paul's mantle which served him as a bark for crossing the sea, of the veil of Saint Agatha which was so powerful in stopping fires, or of the miraculous tunic of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino. Indeed, there are but few illustrious Saints in the Church whose garments have not been the instruments of brilliant and numerous miracles. Now, could one compare any of these garments to the garment of Our Lady of Mount Carmel? "It is no wonder," says a writer in Jourdain's Summa, "that the Scapular has been the instrument of miracles a thousand times more numerous." [ R. P. Bayrhamer, Sommes des Grandeurs de Marie, t. V, pg. 422.]
In 1656 a noteworthy miracle occurred at St. Aulaye, in France, at the occasion of a mission there. It came to be recorded because the missionary fathers related it to the celebrated Father Lejeune. It was their testimony that at ten o'clock, one evening during the mission, a house was discovered to be in flames. Each moment added new fuel to the fury of the flames. A missionary recalled that a similar fire that had raged at Periqueux, about twenty years before, was subdued when the Scapular was tossed into it, and he resolved to invoke the aid of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Quickly, he called a boy whose faith and piety could not fail to be pleasing to the Queen of Heaven, and said: "Take your Scapular, cast it into the fire, and we will see that the fire will be extinguished through Our Lady's power as evinced by Her Garment." The young man felt so secure of the missioner's word that he immediately dashed off and, rushing through the crowd which parted to make way for him, he shouted lustily: "Pray to the Blessed Virgin! I am going to put out the fire!" Running near the soaring conflagration, he tossed his little scapular into it. At that instant, the whole crowd saw the fire rise like a whirlwind in an immense brazier, then slowly, slowly fall, to finally die away. The next day the Scapular was found in the debris perfectly intact and uninjured, though the pungent odor of smoke remained upon it. [Carm. Refl., II, 190. N. B. : This type of miracle is not uncommon. It was duplicated at Ballon, in 1789, and was then formally documented at /the chancery , signed and sealed by the Bishop himself. See R. P. Brocard: Instructions sur le Scapulaire, pg. 262; Savaria: Le Scapulaire, pg. 185.]
In Holland, Our Lady's garb was used to halt a flood. In the sight of the whole town of Roveredo, in 1647, the Prior of the Carmelite Convent cast a Scapular on the surging waters that had already destroyed the cattle and tolled several lives, and at the touch of Mary's Habit, the water receded. [Rev. Dom Joseph A. Keller, D.D., Maria Sanctissima, (London, 1930), ch. II.]
One of the most remarkable incidents to bring out the miraculous quality of the Scapular, not as a condition for gaining a Promise but merely as Our Lady's Habit, is the calming of a raging sea by the almost unseen action of a cabin-boy who tossed his Scapular into the seething waters. It was publicized in 1902 in an American Review and the author of the account had gone to great pains to verify it. [Carm. Refl., Vol. V, pg. 338. The author actually inter viewed Mr. James Fisher, two hundred miles from Sydney.]
In the year 1845, the King of the Ocean left the London docks with a full complement of passengers for the far-off land of South Australia. Amongst the passengers was a devout English Protestant clergyman, the Reverend James Fisher, and his wife and their two children, James and Amelia, aged respectively about nine and seven.
The weather was good until the ship arrived some five hundred miles west of Cape Agulhas, where the trade winds generally keep revel with the fierce undercurrents in that part of the Indian Ocean. The sun had scarcely sunk beneath the western waters when a wild tornado swept the ocean from the northwest. The waves were lashed into fury, the sails torn, and all the wooden structures on deck were only as reeds before the angry winds and waves on that memorable night. The passengers were sent below; the captain and crew, who had lashed themselves to the deck rigging, were unable to act. Moans of despair and cries for mercy, mingled with prayers, were heard alike from passengers and crew. Wave on wave washed over the apparently doomed boat, and nothing, short of the intervention of Divine Providence, could save her from a watery grave.
The Reverend Mr. Fisher, with his family and others, struggled to deck and asked all to join in prayer for mercy and forgiveness, as their doom seemed inevitable; but the prayers and cries for help seemed only to be mocked by the hissing and moaliing of the infuriated elements.
Among the crew was a young Irish sailor, a native of County Louth, named John McAuliffe, who opened his vest and took from his neck a pair of Scapulars. He waved them in the form of a cross and then threw them into the ocean.
Soon the waters abated their fury. The howling tempest calmed, as it were to a zephyr, but a wavelet washed over the side of the boat and cast near the sailor boy, the Scapulars he had thrown into the seething foam some minutes before!
All was now calm. Captain and sailors set about re-rigging their boat and steered her safely into Botany harbor. The only ones who happened to notice the sailor boy's action, and the return of the Scapular to the drenched deck, were the Fishers. They now approached the boy with deep reverence, and begged him to let them know what those simple pieces of brown braid and cloth, marked B. V. M., might signify. When told, they then and there promised to join the Faith which has for its protectress and powerful advocate the Virgin of Carmel. When they landed at Sydney, they repaired to the little wooden chapel of St. Mary, on the site of which now stands a magnificent church, and were duly received into the Church by the then Father Paulding, afterwards Archbishop.
A friend of the present author, in Vienna, is contemplating the publication of some thousand Scapular miracles; the author himself has gathered a variety great enough to produce a book: "Mary in Her Scapular Miracles." Hence, this short chapter cannot essay to do more than give the reader an indication, a general awareness of the Scapular as a sort of Marian "relic."
However, we cannot refrain from citing a final example which is so pointedly indicative of Mary's Scapular as a "Heavenly Garment". Saint John don Bosco was buried in the Scapular in 1888 and in 1929 the Scapular was found under the rotted garments and remains of that great apostle and incomparable educator of youth, in perfect preservation. [Monte Carmelo, XXI, Fasc. vii, pg. 147.]
"No devotion has been confirmed with so many authentic miracles as the Scapular," says Blessed Claude de la Colombiere. One need not consider himself unfortunate if he cannot go to Lourdes for its waters, nor to La Salette and other distant shrines for their Heavenly power and favors. Mary has given us a relic of Herself that is more powerful than all these, now hallowed by seven centuries of wonders in every comer of the earth. It is a tiny garment we can all wear, from God's Mother.
As Saint Basil of Seleucia remarks: if God granted to some who were only His servants such power that their shadows healed the sick, placed in the public streets for this very purpose, how much greater must be the power that He has granted to Her who was not only His handmaid but His Mother."
"For us who wear the Scapular, of what noble personage is it the livery! It is the livery of Mary, the Queen of the Universe, the Sovereign of more than the World. What an honor to belong to the Scapular Confraternity! It is so great an honor that we should be able to wear this Heavenly Sign openly, on our breasts, and not only under our garments. The Scapular is honored in the other life also, where the goods and glory of this world are nothing."
-------R. P. MESCHLER, S. J.
St. Teresa of Avila spoke to Our Lord of the Blessed Virgin as: ". .. Thy most holy Mother, whose merits we share and whose Habit we wear, unworthy though we be by reason of our sins."
"I will lead you into my Family of Carmel where you will wear MY HABIT."
-----Our Lady to Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew.
Thou who, with special mercy, look upon those clothed in thy beloved Habit, cast a glance of pity upon me. Fortify my weakness with thy strength; enlighten the darkness of my mind with thy wisdom; increase my faith, hope and charity. Assist me during life, console me by thy presence at my death, and present me to the August trinity as thy devoted child, that I may bless thee for all eternity in Paradise. Amen.
This is the prayer of St. Simon Stock, to whom the Scapular devotion with its promise
was given. It has for seven centuries been called a prayer to the Blessed Mother
which has never been known to fail in obtaining her powerful help.
O beautiful Flower of Carmel, most fruitful Vine,
Splendor of Heaven, holy and singular, who
brought forth the Son of God, still ever remaining
a Pure Virgin, assist me in this necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help and protect me!
Show me that thou art my Mother.
O Mary, Conceived without sin,Mother and Ornament of Carmel, Pray for us!
Pray for us who have recourse to thee!
Virgin, Flower of Carmel, Pray for us!
Patroness of all who wear the Scapular, Pray for us!
Hope of all who die wearing the Scapular, Pray for us!
St. Joseph, Friend of the Sacred Heart, Pray for us!
St. Joseph, Chaste Spouse of Mary, Pray for us!
St. Joseph, Our Patron, Pray for us!
O sweet Heart of Mary, be my Salvation!
Chaplet of Our Lady, Star of the Sea
For Special Needs
Our Lady Star of the Sea, Stella Maris, is the Patroness of the men who sail the seas. Saint Bonaventure reminds us that she also "guides to a landfall in Heaven those who navigate the sea of this world in the ship of innocence or penance." Ships at sea might be guided by the North Star. Our Lady, Star of the Sea, aids not only the sailors aboard those ships, she also aids all those who sail the stormy seas of life.
The Medal Prayer:
A Prayer to the Blessed Virgin
Most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel, Fruitful Vine, Splendor of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me herein you are my Mother.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth, I humbly beseech thee from the bottom of my heart, to succor me in this necessity; there are none that can withstand thy power.
First Three Beads:
On each of the 12 Beads, which represent the 12 Stars of Our Lady's Crown, Pray:
One Hail Mary on each bead and the following invocations:
Our Lady, Star of the Sea, Help and Protect us!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in thy hands.
+Imprimatur: Bishop Warren L. Boudreaux, Bishop of Houma, Thibodaux
The Confraternity of Our Lady Star of the Sea in Morgan City, Louisiana was established by Bishop Warren L. Boudreaux on August 22, 1979. Those wishing to obtain further information concerning
membership may write:
The Confraternity of Our Lady Star of the Sea
P.O. Box , 609
Morgan City, LA 70381
SOURCE: MY TREASURY OF CHAPLETS, Patricia Quintiliani
7th Enlarged Edition, Ravengate Press.
Prayer with Invocations to Our Lady of Mount Carmel
From The Raccolta
O Queen, who art the beauty of Carmel, pray for us.
Regina decor Carmeli, ora pro nobis.
This invocation once carried an indulgence of 300 days (S. P. Ap., Nov. 8,1921).
We Fly to Thy Patronage
Sub tuum praesidium
We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities,
but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and Blessed Virgin.
This invocation carries a partial indulgence.
Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel from the Raccolta
O blessed Virgin, full of grace, Queen of all Saints, how sweet it is for me to venerate thee under the title of our Lady of Mount Carmel. It takes me back to the days of the prophet Elias, when thou wast prefigured on Mount Carmel under the form of the little cloud, from which, as it increased, there fell a kindly rain, symbolic of the sanctifying graces that come to us from thee. Even from the days of the Apostles, thou hast been honored under this mystic title; and today I am filled with joy at the thought that we are united with those first clients of thine, and in union with them we salute thee, saying: O beauty of Carmel, glory of Libanus, thou purest of lilies, mystic rose in the flowering garden of the Church. Meanwhile, O Virgin of virgins, be mindful of me in my misery, and show thyself my Mother. Shed upon me ever more and more the living light of that faith which made thee blessed; inflame me with that Heavenly love wherewith thou didst love thy dear Son, Jesus Christ. I am filled with miseries both spiritual and temporal. I am straitened by many sorrows in body and soul, and I take refuge, like a child, in the shadow of thy motherly protection. Do thou, Mother of God, who hast such power and might, obtain for me from blessed Jesus, the Heavenly gifts of humility, chastity, and meekness, which were the fairest ornaments of thine Immaculate soul. Do thou grant me to be strong in the midst of the temptations and bitterness, which so often overwhelm my spirit. And when the days of my earthly pilgrimage are accomplished according to God's holy will, grant that my soul may obtain the glory of Paradise, through the merits of Christ and thine intercession. Amen.
This invocation once carried an indulgence of 500 days (Apostolic Brief, April 12, 1927; S. P. Ap., April 29, 1935).
Both the first invocation and the above prayer may not carry an indulgence at the present time but they are most efficacious for sinners who are sincerely repentant or desirous of conversion and bestow great honor to the Mother of God.
The Carmelite nuns in Allentown, Pennsylvania have an exact replica of the Icon. The artist sees Our lady of Fatima as appearing this way in her last appearance as Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Upon being presented with it, they wrote the following poem for the artist, also from Pennyslvania:
Mary, Mother of GodBlessed be the mind, the heart, the hand,
That drew this icon fair,
Of beauty unsurpassable, yet sweet,
God's Mother, rapt in prayer.
All pure her face, her hands, her heart unseen,
Chaste, white rapture, as morning glow:
She ponders deep. Her sorrow shows,
She bears the weight of souls on earth below!
Awesone, yet so love-filled and so warm!
Immaculate! her praise shall never cease,
In hearts that love and cherish her; God's Mother!
Totus tuus! Mary's littlest ones,
in the valley of Saint Therese.
Act of Consecration to Our Lady of Mount Carmel
O Mary, Queen of all Saints, who art the beauty of Carmel,
how sweet it is for me to venerate thee under the title of
Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Even from the days of the Apostles,
thou hast been honored under this mystic title; I am
filled with joy as I consecrate myself to thee, O holy Mary,
most unworthy though I am to be thy servant, yet touched
by thy motherly care for me and longing to serve thee, in
the presence of my Guardian Angel and the court of Heaven,
I choose thee this day to be my Queen, my Advocate, and
my Mother, and I firmly purpose to serve thee ever more and
to do what I can that all may render faithful service to thee.
Therefore, most devoted Mother, through the Precious Blood
thy Son poured out for me, and through the promises of thee as
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, I beg thee, deign to take me among
thy clients and receive me as thy servant forever.
O beauty of Carmel, glory of Libanus, thou purest of lilies,
mystic rose in the garden of the Church, I salute thee!
O Virgin of virgins, be mindful of me in my misery, and show
thyself my Mother. Shed upon me ever more and more the
living light of that faith which made thee blessed; inflame with that
Heavenly love wherewith thou didst love thy dear Son, jesus Christ.
Do thou, Mother of God, who hast such power and might, obtainHoly Virgin of Mount Carmel, Our Lady of the Scapular, pray for us!
for me from blessed Jesus, the Heavenly gifts of humility, chastity,
and meekness, which were the fairest ornaments of thine
Immaculate soul. Do thou grant me to be strong in the midst
of the temptations and bitterness which so often overwhelm my spirit.
Aid me in every action, and beg for me the grace, never, by word or
deed or thought, to be displeasing in thy sight and that of thy most
holy Son. Think of me my dearest Mother, and desert me not at
the hour of death. Amen. [Kiss your scapular.]
Litanies of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
LITANY OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL 1
For private recitation.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the World,
have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
have mercy on us.
pray for us.
BEFORE EACH OF THE FOLLOWING SALUTATIONS SAY:
"Our Lady of Mount Carmel,"
AND AFTERWARDS: "Pray for us Sinners."
Queen of Heaven,
Victorious over Satan,
Most Obedient Daughter,
Most Pure Virgin,
Mother Most Tender,
Model of Perfect Virtue,
Sure Anchor of Hope,
Refuge in Sorrow,
Dispensatrix of the Gifts of God,
Bastion Against Our Enemies,
Our Aid in Danger,
The Way Leading to Jesus,
Our Light in Darkness,
Our Consolation at the Hour of Death,
Advocate of the Most Abandoned Sinners,
For the Hardened in Vice,
For Those who Offend Thy Divine Son,
For Those Who Neglect to Pray,
For Those Who are in Agony,
For Those Who Defer Their Conversion,
For Those Suffering in Purgatory,
For Those Who Do Not Know Thee.
Let Us Pray.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, glorious Queen of Angels, channel of God's tenderest mercy to man,
refuge and advocate of sinners, with confidence I prostrate myself before thee, beseeching thee to obtain for me [Mention request silently]. In return I solemnly promise to have recourse to thee in all my trials, sufferings and temptations, and I shall do all in my power to induce others to love and reverence thee
and to invoke thee in all their needs. I thank thee for the numberless blessings which I have received from thy mercy and powerful intercession. Continue to be my shield in danger, my guide in life, and my consolation at the hour of death. Amen.
INTERCESSORY LITANY OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL
FOR THE CONVERSION OF SINNERS
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
Have mercy on us.
pray for us sinners.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Queen of Heaven,
pray for us sinners.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, vanquisher of Satan, etc.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, most dutiful Daughter,
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, most pure Virgin,
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, most devoted Spouse,
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, most tender Mother,
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, perfect model of virtue,
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, sure anchor of hope,
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, refuge in affliction,
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, dispenser of God's gifts,
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, tower of strength against our foes,
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, our aid in danger,
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, road leading to Jesus,
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, our light in darkness,
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, our consolation at the hour of death,
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, advocate of the most abandoned sinners,
For those hardened in vice,
With confidence we come to thee,
O Lady of Mount Carmel.
For those who grieve thy Son,
With confidence we come to thee,
O Lady of Mount Carmel.
For those who neglect to pray, etc.
For those who are in their agony,
For those who delay their conversion,
For those suffering in Purgatory,
For those who know thee not,
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.
V. Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Hope of the Despairing,
R. Intercede for us with thy Divine Son.
Let Us Pray.
Recite the Prayer Above.
THE LITANY OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL 3
For Private Use
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Virgin of virgins, etc.
Holy Mary, Mother of Christ,
Holy Mary, Mother of beautiful love,
Holy Mary, Mother of mercy,
Holy Mary, dwelling-place of God,
Holy Mary, seat of wisdom,
Holy Mary, temple of the Holy Ghost,
Holy Mary, sun never setting,
Holy Mary, moon never waning,
Holy Mary, morning-star,
Holy Mary, tabernacle of God among men,
Holy Mary, lily among thorns,
Holy Mary, gate of Heaven,
Holy Mary, flawless mirror,
Holy Mary, garden enclosed,
Holy Mary, fountain of living waters,
Holy Mary, promised to the Patriarchs,
Holy Mary, foretold by the Prophets,
Holy Mary, envisioned by the upright,
Holy Mary, consolation of Adam through the crushing of the infernal serpent's head,
Holy Mary, symbolized by the appearance of the cloud to the Prophet Elias on Mount Carmel,
Holy Mary, spouse of the upright Joseph,
Holy Mary, unique glory of the Order of Carmel,
Holy Mary, who hast bestowed the peerless garment. the holy Scapular, upon St. Simon Stock,
Holy Mary, everlasting strength and mercy because of thy efficacious intercession,
(Holy Mary, who dost succor with motherly affection thy children who observe the rules of thy confraternity,)
Holy Mary, unequaled Sister of those who daily honor thee in the Order of Carmel with praise and
(Holy Mary, protectress of all who serve thee worthily in this confraternity,)
(Holy Mary, helper unto sanctity of those who wear thy garment piously,)
(Holy Mary, advocate of the members of the confraternity, who esteem thy holy scapular ,)
(Holy Mary, consolation of those who die clothed in thy holy scapular,)
(Holy Mary, speedy redemptrix from the pains of Purgatory for all who have properly served thee in this confraternity,)
Holy Mary, health of the sick,
Holy Mary, refuge of sinners,
Holy Mary, help of Christians,
Holy Mary, ornament of Carmel,
Holy Mary, fruitful Mother of the Order of Carmel,
Holy Mary, friend of those who live according to the evangelical counsels,
Holy Mary, Queen of those who observe the teachings of the Apostles,
Holy Mary, Queen of Angels,
Holy Mary, Patroness and hope of all Carmelites,
V. Have mercy on us, O Blessed Lady.
R. Have mercy on us, O Holy Mother.
Through thy powerful intercession, Deliver us, O Holy Mother of God.
From all evil, Deliver us, O Holy Mother of God.
From all sin, etc.
From pestilence, war and famine,
From a sudden and unforeseen death,
From everlasting death,
Holy Mary, through thine Immaculate Conception, Protect us, O Holy Mother of God.
Holy Mary, through thy joyful birth, Protect us, O Holy Mother of God.
Holy Mary, through thy seven joys, etc.
Holy Mary, through thine observance of the evangelical counsels,
Holy Mary, through thy practice of the ten virtues prescribed in the Gospel,
Holy Mary, through the Annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel at Nazareth,
Holy Mary, through the birth of thine only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord,
Holy Mary, through the adoration by the three Magi from the East,
Holy Mary, through the glorious Resurrection of thy Son, our Divine Saviour,
Holy Mary, through His splendid Ascension into Heaven,
Holy Mary, through the Descent of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter,
Holy Mary, through thy wondrous Assumption into Heaven,
Holy Mary, through thy sublime Coronation by the Most Holy Trinity,
(Holy Mary, through thine unspeakable love and tenderness for those who wear the holy scapular in thy confraternity,)
Beseech thee to hear us.
That thou guide and protect the Order and Confraternity of Carmel, dedicated to thy special devotion,
we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou preserve and assist all here present and the entire Christian people, we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou promote and protect all devotion to the service of God and thyself, etc.
That through thy holy intercession and particular assistance thou ward off eternal damnation from our souls (and the souls of our fellow members and benefactors),
That thou come to the speedy assistance in Purgatory of all deceased members of the Christian Faith (and of our confraternity) and obtain for them eternal rest,
That thou preserve and assist us,
That thou hearken to our petitions, Chosen Bride of God,
Mother and Daughter of the everlasting King, Virgin of Carmel, our Mother, Sister, and Queen,
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
Omighty advocate in vicissitudes and anxieties, Come to our aid.
V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let Us Pray.
Almighty and eternal God, Who hast honored the Order of Mount Carmel with the glorious title of the most renowned Virgin and Mother of Thy Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray Thee that through her intercession we may be spared all misfortune of soul and body, and may attain to everlasting bliss, Who livest and reignest with the same Christ Our Lord and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. R.
The invocations in parentheses are particularly intended for use by Carmelites. Carmelite Tertiaries, and members of the Confraternity of the Scapular.