Marian Thought for the Day – 16 May “Mary’s Month!” – Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Eastertide and the Memorial of St Simon Stock (1165-1265)
The brown Scapular of the Carmelite Order has gained considerable popularity and use among those devoted to the Blessed Mother. The following prayer, addressed to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, prays for her continued protection and grace for those who wear the scapular:
Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel
O all-blessed, immaculate Virgin,
ornament and glory of Mount Carmel,
you who looks, with most gracious countenance,
on those who have been clothed,
with your venerable livery,
look kindly also on me
and take me under the mantle
of your maternal protection.
Strengthen my weakness with your might;
enlighten the darkness of my heart,
with your wisdom;
increase in me,
the virtues of faith, hope and charity.
So adorn my soul with graces
and virtue of our God,
by your prayers,
that it may always be dear
to your divine Son
and to you.
Assist me during life,
comfort me in death
with your most sweet presence
and present me as your child
and faithful servant,
to the most Holy Trinity,
that I may be enabled to praise
and extol you in heaven forever.
In 1322, Pope John XXII issued a document known as a Papal Bull in which he included a promise from Our Lady of Mount Carmel. In his document, the Pope revealed that he had received an apparition of Our Blessed Mother, during which she made a promise to all mankind.
Her “Sabbatine Privilege” was as follows:
“on the First Saturday after the death of one of the faithful, Our Blessed Mother would free from Purgatory her Scapular children who have fulfilled certain conditions. She stated to Pope John XXII: “I, the Mother of Graces, shall descend on the Saturday after their death, and as many as I find in Purgatory I shall free.”
The Church has since formalised the Sabbatine Privilege, based on this revelation. Containing three conditions, those who follow and practice true devotion, will be released from Purgatory by Our Lady’s intercession on the Saturday after their death. As set forth by the Church, the three conditions include:
1)Wear the brown scapular devoutly, once you’ve been enrolled in the Scapular Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel;
2) Observe chastity according to your state in life;
3) Recite daily the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (Given the length of this beautiful prayer, with permission of a priest you can substitute five decades of the rosary, abstinence from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays or another approved good work).
His Holiness, Pope Pius XII, wrote concerning the Sabbatine Privilege, “Certainly, this most gentle Mother will not delay to open as soon as possible, through Her intercession with God, the gates of Heaven for children expiating their faults in Purgatory.”
Once one has been enrolled in the Scapular Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel, one shares in the daily prayers and other spiritual benefits of the Carmelite Order. Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s scapular promise of salvation to Saint Simon Stock and the Carmelites applies to the enrollee as well! http://ocarm.org/en/content/ocarm/confraternities
The short form of the investiture is as follows:
Receive this Scapular, a sign of your special relationship with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, whom you pledge to imitate. May it be a reminder to you of your dignity as a Christian, in serving others and imitating Mary.
Wear it as a sign of her protection and of belonging to the Family of Carmel, voluntarily doing the will of God and devoting yourself to building a world true to His plan of community, justice and peace.
Many popes and other religious figures over the centuries have extolled the virtues of the brown scapular devotion. Pope Pius XII went so far as to say: “The Scapular is a practice of piety which by its very simplicity is suited to everyone, and has spread widely among the faithful of Christ to their spiritual profit.” More recently, Pope Paul VI said: “Let the faithful hold in high esteem the practices and devotions to the Blessed Virgin … the Rosary and the Scapular of Carmel.” Still, they caution that, although our Lady of Mount Carmel promised that the scapular would protect us from eternal fire, wearing it in itself doesn’t guarantee our salvation.
The scapular is not to be worn as a substitute for leading a devout life of love and obedience to our Lord. The Most Reveren. Kilian Lynch, former prior general of the Carmelite Order, warned that the scapular was not “endowed with some kind of supernatural power which will save us no matter what we do or how much we sin.” He said, “Fidelity to the commandments is required by those seeking ‘the special love and protection of Our Lady.”
The immeasurable benefits of the Scapular result from the fact that the wearing of “the armour of Mary” is not merely an external act of devotion– it is a sign of our internal consecration to the Immaculate Virgin. The scapular recommends us to her endless grace and generosity. At Fatima in 1917, the Mother of God encouraged all people to consecrate themselves to Her Immaculate Heart. And in the final Fatima vision on 13 October, the Blessed Virgin appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, wearing the robes of the Carmelite Order, holding aloft the Brown Scapular. On that occasion, Our Blessed Mother reminded us that the devoted living of the Brown Scapular consecration, paired with daily prayer of the Holy Rosary, is a necessary part of the amendment of life– the random of a sinful world– for which she so earnestly pleaded.
Pope Pius XII stressed this important truth: “May the Scapular be a sign to them (all who wear it) of their consecration to the Most Pure Heart of the Immaculate Virgin.” In wearing the brown scapular devoutly, in living in love and obedience to God, we join our hearts to Mary’s and thus, to her divine Son’s Sacred Heart as well!
You called St Simon Stock to serve You in the brotherhood of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Through his prayers, help us like him, to live in Your presence and to work for man’s salvation. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns
with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen