Tag Archives: scapular

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

OLMCO most beautiful flower of Mt. Carmel, fruitful vine, splendour of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me you are my Mother. O Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart to succour me in this necessity (make request). There are none that can withstand your power. O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Sweet Mother I place this cause in your hands. Amen.

Intimately connected with Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the Brown Scapular. Why not read a brief article on the scapular, a rather influential sacramental.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

OL of Mt Carmel and Carmelites.jpg

I was asking myself why today’s feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a universal feast of the Church. But, why, then, is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary a widespread feast? Because of the popularity of the devotion is a good approximate answer. Go to Mary for help is a certain gesture of dependence.

The feast recalls a 1226 victory over enemies of the Church and the Carmelite friars, and it also recalls the reception of the scapular by Saint Simon Stock on this date in 1251.

By the 14th century the proposed feast received approval of the Roman Pontiffs Honorius III and later by Sixtus V; over the years it has been questioned by ecclesiastical figures and found to be appropriate for the Carmelite order with a proper vigil Mass and a privileged octave.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s feast is another feast of the Virgin Mary that focuses our eyes on the Lord. And, we can never have a enough of that.

You may be interested in reading this piece on scapulars.

Saint Simon Stock

St Simon receives scapular.jpg

Saint Simon was the English Carmelite Superior General of the Carmelite Order (†1265) who is most remembered for receiving from the Blessed Virgin the brown scapular with a promise that one is not lost at death if wearing the scapular. Stock was a hymn writer, a good leader and a man of sanctity, whom the Church recognized soon after his death. The liturgical offices were approved by the Church in the 15th century.

It is said that Simon heard the Mother of God say,

Hoc erit tibi et cunctis Carmelitis privilegium, in hoc habitu moriens salvabitur.

(This shall be the privilege for you and for all the Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall be saved.)

The bestowal of the scapular was given to the Carmelite friars alone but now any priest can bless and enroll someone in the scapular. The brown scapular is associated with the Carmelite friars with the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The brown scapular is one 18 approved scapulars worn in devotion.

There is a lot of pious legend about today’s saint, but there are some things that we are reasonably sure about. The Bollandists write the following of Saint Simon Stock:

Saint Simon Stock was born of one of the most illustrious Christian families of England, at the castle of Harford in 1164. Certain prodigies marked him, while an infant in the cradle, as a soul chosen by the Mother of God for Her own. Not yet one year old, he was heard to say the Angelic Salutation distinctly, before he had reached the age to learn it. As soon as he could read he began to recite the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, and he would never cease to do so daily. He read Holy Scripture on his knees at the age of six. He became the object of the jealous persecution of one of his brothers, and at the age of twelve determined to leave and go to live in a forest.

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Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Pietro Novelli Our Lady of Mount Carmel.jpg

May the venerable intercession of the glorious Virgin Mary come to our aid, we pray, O Lord, so that, fortified by her protection, we may reach the mountain which is Christ.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

The Blessed Virgin Mary never fails. She always kept her promise; always go to Mary. Saint Simon Stock the English Carmelite friar received this promise from the Virgin herself and he passed it on to the Church.

The Virgin Mary gave to Saint Simon the brown scapular, saying “Take this Scapular, it shall be a sign of salvation, protection in danger and a pledge of peace. Whosoever dies wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.” The soul wearing the scapular would be in heaven on the first Saturday of the month following death.

Thus, wearing the brown scapular is not required; it is a helpful sacramental to remind us that we are not alone and that God through Mary’s assistance keeps us close to the Mystery. Originally only worn by those of the Carmelite Order, it was soon adopted by the lay faithful. To this day, the brown scapular, is one of the most popular of all Catholic sacramentals.

The Brown Scapular: Mary’s promise

This past
Saturday was the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the liturgical
commemoration of Mary on which we automatically thought of the brown
scapular. Or, we did make an association with the BVM of Mount Carmel and the scapular. Our sensibilities have changed dramatically to the point that only the old people remember such devotions by-and-large.

Recently at the parish we were talking about selling rosaries,
bibles, catechisms nun-made fudge, and I introduced offering the brown
scapular. The person who is organizing this  very small “church store” looked at me
quizzically: what are scapulars? So much for Catholic culture and the Catholic
liturgical imagination! I explained that as a concept originally referred to a
form of clothing, a wide band of clothe put on the shoulders reaching down to the front and back of the legs, often to the ankles.  The scapular is worn by priests, nuns, and sisters like, but not limited to
the Dominicans; the scapular historically was worn as an apron that would
protect the tunic. Later the scapular was blessed taking it out of the realm of
a work outfit. But I am not talking about the scapular worn as part of the religious habit of the religious.

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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