Have you ever contemplated where the title “Our Lady of Mt Carmel” came from? Or why the saints connect the Scapular to the Rosary? Hopefully this list will help you address some of the questions concerning devotion to the Brown Scapular and bring you closer to Our Lady!
1. Who Is St. Simon Stock?
St. Simon Stock was born in England and was a Prior General of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel who have their origins in Palestine. While there are various controversies surrounding the vision of Our Lady that St. Simon had, one account goes as follows:
“St. Simon was an Englishman, a man of great holiness and devotion, who always in his prayers asked the Virgin to favor his Order with some singular privilege. The Virgin appeared to him holding the Scapular in her hand saying, ‘This is for you and yours a privilege; the one who dies in it will be saved.’”
The original context of this promise was for those who preserved in their vocation as Carmelites. In the 16th century, the Carmelites began distributing Brown Scapulars to the laity and it became a very popular sacramental.
2. Who is Our Lady of Mt. Carmel?
To put it simply: Our Lady of Mt Carmel is the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is the patroness of the Carmelite order and all those devoted to her. The first Carmelites lived on Mt Carmel in the Holy Land and were hermits in the 12th century. They built a chapel in honor of the Virgin and entitled it: “Our Lady of the Place.”
Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, OCD, an authority on Carmelite spirituality, wrote that devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel means:
“Our Lady wants us to resemble her not only in our outward vesture but, far more, in heart and spirit. If we gaze into Mary’s soul, we shall see that grace in her has flowered into a spiritual life of incalculable wealth: a life of recollection, prayer, uninterrupted oblation to God, continual contact, and intimate union with him… Those who want to live their devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to the full must follow Mary into the depths of her interior life. Carmel is the symbol of the contemplative life, the life wholly dedicated to the quest for God, wholly orientated towards intimacy with God; and the one who has best realized this highest of ideals is Our Lady herself, ‘Queen and Splendor of Carmel’.”
3. What Are The Promises?
On July 16, 1251 the Blessed Virgin made this promise to St. Simon Stock: “Take this Scapular, it shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger and a pledge of peace. Whosoever dies wearing this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.”
She continues, “Wear the Scapular devoutly and perseveringly. It is my garment. To be clothed in it means you are continually thinking of me, and I in turn, am always thinking of you and helping you to secure eternal life.”
This promise, also known as the Sabbatine Privilege, is found in a bull of Pope John XXII when the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and stated, “I, the Mother of Grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I shall find in purgatory I shall free so that I may lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting.”
The Blessed Virgin assigned certain conditions which must be fulfilled:
- Wear the Brown Scapular continuously
- Observe chastity according to one’s state in life (married/single)
- Recite daily the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin OR Observe the fasts of the Church together with abstaining from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays OR With permission of a priest, say five decades of Our Lady’s Most Holy Rosary OR With permission of a priest, substitute some other good work.
- How Is The Rosary Connected?
In order to obtain the graces and promises received from wearing the Scapular, one should wear it devoutly. In other words, under the usual conditions:
– Live in a state of grace (Go to Confession and Holy Eucharist regularly), – Be properly invested/enrolled by a Catholic priest,
– Pray either the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary or 5 decades of the Most Holy Rosary daily.
Novenas to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel are optional but highly recommended to show Mary that we have faith in Her most powerful protection and intercession.
5. What Do The Saints Say?
Pope Pius XII stated:“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.”
St. Dominic, known for his reception of the Most Holy Rosary from the Blessed Virgin is quoted saying, “One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world.”
For more information on the specifics of being enrolled and wearing the Brown Scapular, please view the Sisters of Carmel’s FAQ site.
Visit The Station of the Cross for more authentically Catholic media content and listen to this episode of Sermons for Everyday Living where the saving power of the Brown Scapular and the Holy Rosary are taught.
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us!