Monday, July 8, 2013


St. John with Mary at the foot of the cross

From the cross Jesus gave His Mother Mary to John and also to us as our spiritual mother with the words: “Woman behold thy son; son behold thy mother.  From that moment the beloved disciple took Mary into his home.”  In the person of John are present all of humanity and you and me as her spiritual sons and daughters.

After preparing 33 days to consecrate our whole self to Jesus through Mary, we desire to make a concrete gesture of our consecration to Mary.   This is done by receiving and wearing faithfully the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

As soldiers wear uniforms, as athletes wear their specific garb, as priests wear habit or clergyman—all as an exterior sign of their identification to what they do and who they are--- so we who are consecrated to Jesus through Mary willingly accept the Scapular, wear it faithfully until the end and desire even to die with the Scapular close to our hearts.
Our Lady gives the Scapular to St. Simon Stock

ST. SIMON STOCK.   It was to St. Simon Stock that Our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared (1251) when the Carmelites were going through very difficult times.  Our Lady appeared surrounded by angels and in her hands presented to Simon the brown Scapular with the intention that he wear it over his shoulders as well as all of the Carmelites.  Humbly obeying the Mother of God, graces and blessings descended upon St. Simon as well as the whole of the Carmelite Order.

OTHER CARMELITES.   Following St. Simon Stock is an army of Carmelite saints who faithfully wore the Brown Scapular.  Here are a few: St. Teresa of Avila, St John of the Cross, St Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of the Andes, Elizabeth of the Trinity, and St. Benedicta of the Cross (Formerly Edith Stein).
Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Child Jesus

OUR LADY OF FATIMA.   In the last and most famous Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima on October 13, 1917, the Mother of God appeared dressed as Our Lady of Mount Carmel inviting the whole world to pray the most Holy Rosary and at the same time to wear the Brown Scapular of Carmel!

MEANING.  To wear the Scapular is not a superstition, talisman, or a good-luck charm! Quite the contrary is true!   By wearing the Scapular as an exterior sign we are making a clear statement: we want to belong to Jesus through the intercession of Mary.   Families have logos—or  emblem ; this is true. Well, we would like to manifest our belonging to the “Family of Mary” by wearing faithfully the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel!
The Brown Scapular and promise
LOVE AND PROTECTION.   By wearing the Scapular we are expressing our great love for Mary.  The word Scapular coming from Latin “Scapula” means shoulder, because it is placed over our shoulders. But even more important, in front, the Scapular rests over our heart. Meaning?  Mary is placing her arms around us and clasping us close to her Immaculate Heart.  Indeed devotion to the Scapular will lead us to seeking secure refuge in the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

WHO CAN WEAR IT?  Traditionally children receiving their First Communion would be blessed and enrolled in the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel the same day that they received Jesus the first time in Holy Communion.  However, any Catholic at any time in the course of his/her life can be enrolled and receive the Scapular. Also, once one is enrolled he is enrolled for life and need not renew his enrollment!
The army of Carmelite saints that loved Our Lady

PRIVILEGES: BELONGING TO A NEW FAMILY--- THE CARMELITES!!!   Once enrolled in the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel we receive the blessings and prayers of the Carmelite Orders throughout the world. Also the Carmelite saints in heaven become part of your family in a very special way.  Imagine St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St Therese and their joy of having you in their family and the power of their prayers from heaven!  The Beatles used to sing “Get a little help from my friends”. These are the friends we really want to receive to help us from heaven!

SAINTS AND POPES.  Many saints and Popes have highly recommended the wearing of the Scapular. Among many of these are the following: St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Alphonsus Liguori, Pope John XXII, Pope Pius XI, Pope Paul VI and Blessed Pope John Paul II.

The miraculous Scapular that St. Alphonsus wore
ST. ALPHONSUS.  On one occasion St. Alphonsus was shot. The bullet went through his outer garments and was embedded in his Brown Scapular and never even touched his body!  There could not be a clearer sign than this of the hand of Our Lady of Mount Carmel holding back the bullet from killing this devoted lover of Our Lady.  St Alphonsus asserted:  “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 as members of the family of the Mother of God.”
The shooting of Pope John Paul II

BLESSED POPE JOHN PAUL II.  Is it also a surprise that the attack and shooting of Pope John Paul II took place May 13, 1981--- the first Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima to the children.  The Blessed Pontiff attributed the saving of his life to the mysterious but powerful intercession of the Mother of God.  The following year on the same day, May 13, 1982, Pope John Paul II was in Fatima kneeling before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, thanking her for saving his life. Then a surprising gesture of profound significance occurred. The Pope rose and deposited in the crown of Our Lady of Fatima the large-sized bullet that was extracted from his intestines! Our Lady saved him!  He went on to live until April 2, 2005--- almost 24 more years as Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, due in large part to the intercession of the all-powerful Mother of God.
Our Lady alleviates the sufferings of Purgatory

SABBATINE PRIVILEGE. Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock and revealed this wonderful privilege, called the Sabbatine  Privilege.  The conditions are three:

1.    SCAPULAR.  To wear faithfully the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as a sign of one’s love and trust in her motherly protection.

2.    CHASTITY.   A promise to live chastity according to one’s state in life.

3.    PRAYER.  One must pray the “Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary”--- basically consists of Psalms.  This can be replaced by the daily recitation of the Most Holy Rosary.   If these three conditions are met then Our Lady promises that through her powerful intercession a quick liberation will be effected from the fires of Purgatory.  Let us listen to the words that Our Lady addressed to Saint Simon Stock:   “I, the Mother of grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I find in Purgatory, I shall free, so that I may lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting.”

Important note! Recently the "Sabbatine Privilege has been abrogated. Therefore, we invite you to read the Church's official teaching on this matter. (Click here)

Love and trust of Mary


1.    Love for Mary as Mother and I desire to love her in return. Love demands a generous response of love!

2.    TRUST.  A limitless trust in her power of intercession in my life. I trust that she will save me from physical dangers but especially the moral dangers that could imperil my soul.

3.    FAMILY.  An immense joy in knowing that I belong to the family of Mary. This of course means that I belong to the Family of God, the Blessed Trinity.  Mary is the Daughter of the Father, the Mother of the Son and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit.  So Mary will bring me into the Heart of the Blessed Trinity!
Vision of Lucy of Our Lady and the Trinity

4.    IMITATION.  Knowledge leads to love and love  following, and following, to imitation.  We will desire ardently to imitate Mary in her most sublime virtues.  St. Louis de Montfort enumerates ten:  her deep humility, lively faith, blind obedience, unceasing prayer, constant self-denial, surpassing purity, ardent love, heroic patience, angelic kindness, and heavenly wisdom. (True Devotion to Mary, St. Louis de Montfort, #108)

5.    BELONGING/ENTRUSTMENT.  We belong totally to Jesus through Mary.  We want to entrust our whole life, its destiny and end into the hands and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

St. Simon Stock and the giving of the Scapular

1.    SCAPULAR. Sew your own Scapular.  You can even sew within the two brown squares the Miraculous Medal and the medal of St. Benedict that God through Mary would miracles in your life and protect you all the more from the evil one.

2.    WEAR CONSTANTLY.  The Scapular is to be worn always; otherwise we are half children and half-orphans of Mary.

3.    KISS THE SCAPULAR. As soon as one awakes in the morning,  kiss the Scapular!  The kiss is a universal symbol of love. This kiss is saying to Mary that we love her.  Actually the Church offers a partial Indulgence for those who kiss reverently the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. (In the past it was 500 days Indulgence).

4.    MORNING OFFERING. Start off your day by consecrating your whole being to Jesus through Mary.  The following is a concise but very good Act of Consecration: “ O Mary, my Queen and my Mother, I give myself entirely to you, and to show my devotion to you, I consecrate my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, in other words, my whole being without reserve. Wherefore, good Mother, as I am your own, keep me and guard me as your property and possession. Amen.”

5.    BLESSING.  Then after the prayer of consecration, take the Scapular and bless your forehead, the blessing of the mind—for pure and holy thoughts, the eyes, so as to view only noble images and things, the mouth, so as to praise God in words, and the heart, so as to love God totally in imitation of Mary!


Let us conclude by quoting some of the Popes on the power of the Scapular.

Pope John Paul and Sister Lucia-- a Carmelite contemplative nun
“Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: the language, the words of the Gospel, the armor, the Scapular of the Virgin of Carmel… which enjoys the singular privilege of protection even after death.” (Pope Benedict XV)


“The Carmelite Scapular, because of its nobility of origin, its extraordinary spread among Christian peoples for many centuries, the spiritualizing effects produced by it and the outstanding miracles worked in virtue of it, render the Scapular of Carmel commendable to a wondrous degree. (Pope Leo XIII)

“Let us now make a novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and I shall be ready to die.” (Pope Leo XIII)

The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

“The Scapular is, in a true sense a “habit”. Those who receive it are, by their clothing, associated in a more or less intimate way with the Carmelite Order. Those who wear it profess to belong to Our Lady in the same way as the Knight of the Thirteenth Century, the century of the Scapular vision, felt that he was ever under the watchful eye of his Lady. He was valiant and sure in battle, and when wearing his “Colours”, would rather die a thousand times than allow them to be tarnished.” (Pope Pius XII)


“It becomes clearer every day that the way for men to return to God is assured by Mary, that Mary is the basis of our confidence, the guarantee of our security, the foundation of our hope.” (Pope John XXIII).

 Below is an excellent writing of Blessed Pope John Paul II on the importance of the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Read it!



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