2st Annual Our Lady of Mount Carmel Feast Saturday, July 16 @ 9-12 talks – 12:05 Mass Enrollment & Investiture of Brown Scapular
What is the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel? A scapular consists of two pieces of cloth, one worn on the chest, and the other on the back, which are connected by straps or strings passing over the shoulders. Originally, the scapular was full length, chest-wide apron that draped down the front and back of a monk.
On July 16, 1251 the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Fr. Simon Stock, the Prior General of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, an Order that had migrated to Aylesford, England to escape Saracen persecution at Mount Carmel in Palestine.
Our Lady said to him, “Receive My Beloved son, the Scapular of thy Order. It is the special sign of my favor, which I have obtained for thee and for thy children of Mount Carmel. Whosoever dies wearing the scapular shall not suffer eternal fire. It is a sign of salvation, a sure safeguard in danger, and a pledge of peace and of my special protection until the end of the ages.”
Scripture based, Church approved.
In Luke 2:7 and 2:12, Mary is described as wrapping Jesus in “swaddling clothes.” From the moment of his birth the King of Kings humbly accepted to be clothed by Mary, whose clothes served as a sign to the shepherds, while providing comfort and protection to Jesus. We’re reminded of the power of this clothing in Mark 5:28, when the woman says, “If I but touch his clothes I shall be cured,” or the many sick who were healed by simply touching the fringe of his garment in Mark 6:56 “the laid the sick in the market places, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment; and as many as touched it were made well.” Soldiers at the cross in Matt. 27:35 found the cloak that Mary wove for Jesus so incredible, they cast lots for it.
Even the saints say that Mary clothed Jesus with her flesh at the Incarnation: from the womb to the tomb, she clothed him. 2000 years later, Mary’s garment still provides spiritual comfort and protection to many Christians who wear the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
In the New Testament, in Acts 19:11-12 we read, “So extraordinary were the mighty deeds God accomplished at the hands of Paul that when face clothes or aprons that touched his skin were applied to the sick, their diseases left them and evil spirits came out of them.” Even the Apostles understood the power of clothes when God willed something special.
Further back, in 2 Kings 2:9, “Elijah took off his mantle, rolled it up and struck the water (Jordan River), which divided and they both crossed.” Interestingly enough this is the prophet who defeated the false prophets at Mount Carmel, and we later read that Elisha, the successor of Elijah, also parted the water with this special mantle in 2 Kings 2:13.
As with Elijah, Jesus and the Apostles, Mary’s cloth has worked many miracles over the centuries. St. Alphonsus, Doctor of the Church, witnessed many miracles of the brown scapular. When this saint died his body decomposed but his scapular was found intact. For those who made fun of this devotion he would say, “Modern heretics make a mockery of wearing the Scapular. They decry it as so much trifling nonsense.” Yet we know that the scapular is an approved devotion of the Catholic Church.
Why wear one?
“The scapular devotion is a treasure for the whole Church,” wrote Pope John Paul II, who in 1981, after being shot, would not allow doctors to remove his brown scapular prior to surgery.
“The scapular becomes a sign of the COVENANT and reciprocal communion between Mary and the faithful,” he wrote to Carmelites in 2001. “Out of my love for our common heavenly Mother, whose protection I constantly experience, I hope that the devout faithful who venerate her with filial affection to grow in her love and radiate to the whole world the presence of this Woman of silence and prayer.”
Pope Pius XII wrote about the scapular in 1950, “May it be sign of CONSECRATION to the heart of Immaculate Virgin which in recent times we have so strongly recommended.” However, within the same document Pope Pius XII, warns us, “But not for this reason, however, may they who wear the Scapular think that they can gain eternal salvation while remaining slothful and negligent of spirit, for the apostle warns us, ‘In fear and trembling shall you work out your salvation.’”
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Coinciding with the feast of the Scapular and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, celebrated on Saturday, July 16, missionary priest Fr. Jesus Rodriguez and Deacon Guadalupe Rodriguez invite you to Saint Mary Cathedral for three talks on Our Lady of Mount Carmel from 9-12 noon, followed by a special Mass with our Rector, Very Rev. Albert Laforet at 12:05 pm, where the faithful will be enrolled and invested in the brown scapular.