First, I invite you to join with Catholics throughout our Archdiocese in praying the novena for purity that can be found as an insert in bulletins this weekend. There is a great need to rediscover this holy virtue in our lives and let it be expressed by our actions: through what we say and do (and what we do not say and do).
This Sunday, July 16, would normally be celebrated as the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This day is a good opportunity to remember the many graces of the Brown Scapular and the love of Our Lady of Mount Carmel for each of us!
First, about the Brown Scapular: One only needs to be enrolled in the Brown Scapular once. Thereafter, one only needs to wear the Brown Scapular with loving devotion to our Blessed Mother to receive the love and protection she has promised to those who wear her Brown Scapular. Thus, if you were enrolled many years ago, perhaps just after receiving 1st Holy Communion, and now do not wear a Brown Scapular, all you need to do is to begin wearing the Scapular. If you have never been enrolled you can ask any priest and we provide the short ceremony for you.
Devotion to the Brown Scapular and the Holy Rosary helps the soul to be open to great graces to glorify God! I assure you, the devil hates the Brown Scapular. I encourage anyone who has been enrolled to firmly remain committed to wearing one all the time. Of course, there are times when one may remove it for a time, but with the intention of putting it back on immediately when it is time. One such example may be when one goes swimming. At all other times, day and night, it should be worn, including during exercise! You might want a couple extra around to give the one you are using a ‘breather’ from time to time. When a Brown Scapular you have worn wears out and can longer be used, it must either be burned (respectfully, ie, not with garbage) or buried (in your back yard or near the foundation of your home is fine). Then you can simply put a new one and keep on enjoying the love and protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary! Remember, the Brown Scapular is a devotion that is a concrete sign of our love for Mary and Her love for us. Whenever you remove the Brown Scapular for any reason, I recommend that you give it a gentle kiss or offer a word of love and gratitude to our Blessed Mother. When you think of the graces that Jesus gives us through the intercession of Mary and how simple it is be under Mary’s protection through this little garment of grace, little gestures such as these say a great deal about the disposition of our hearts toward Jesus and Mary. I also recommend the same devotion when you put the Brown Scapular back on. It is appropriate to wear the Brown Scapular under one’s clothing. However, it can also be worn as an outer garment.
As a member of the Third Order (Secular) Discalced Carmelites, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a special day for me. I have a particular devotion to the Virgin Mary under this title and a love for Brown Scapular. I still remember the place and who enrolled me in the Brown Scapular. Sadly, as many of you may know, the practice of enrolling people in the Brown Scapular has greatly diminished. If you have not been enrolled, I encourage you to do so. It will greatly help not only your soul and those of your family, but will help many other people as your heart will be more and more open to special graces from the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
I leave you today with a little more about the Brown Scapular taken from www.ewtn.com: “A Scapular is a garment worn by religious over the shoulders (scapula), and hanging down in front and back, usually to about the bottom of the habit. It developed as a practical garment, protecting the habit during work, and was in time invested with spiritual significance, consecration or dedication to God. By analogy to the Scapulars of religious, there are small Scapulars that are derived from them which represent a particular devotion or spirituality, usually associated with a particular community. Such a Scapular is two pieces of cloth (generally about an inch square), connected by cords and worn over the head. It often has a picture or a particular color, depending on the spirituality it stands for.
The best known and most highly esteemed Scapular, and the one most favored by the Church, and by the Blessed Virgin in many of Her apparitions, is the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. It is adapted from the Scapular of the Carmelite Order and represents a special Consecration to Our Lady under the title of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Those who wear it practice it a special devotion to Mary. In the past this was the Little Office of Our Lady, but today this can be commuted by any priest to the Rosary. In addition, the person has a special entrustment of themselves to Mary for their salvation. This, in fact, has been promised to those who faithfully wear the Scapular: "Those who die wearing this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire." This must not be understood superstitiously or magically, but in light of Catholic teaching that perseverance in faith, hope and love are required for salvation. The Scapular is a powerful reminder of this Christian obligation and of Mary's promise to help those consecrated to Her obtain the grace of final perseverance.”
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, St. Joseph, and our patron St. Columbkill, may God bless you, your families and our parishes!
In Christ through Mary,
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