Around 1916, while addressing a group of seminarians, Pope Benedict XV stated: “Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: the language, the sentences of the Gospel; the common armor, the Scapular of the Virgin of Carmel, which you all ought to wear and which enjoys the singular privilege of protection even after death.”
Over the past week, we’ve contemplated the beauty of the gift of the Brown Scapular as we prepare for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16. Throughout these few days we reviewed the history of the Brown Scapular, considered the Blessed Mother’s promise of protection and discussed the unfathomable grace that accompanies Our Lady’s “Garment of Grace.” We have considered the manner in which Our Lady perpetually directs us toward her Divine Son, Jesus Christ; Who is our ultimate source of joy.
One of the most salient aspects of the devotion to the Brown Scapular is the protection against evil imparted to those who faithfully express their love of Christ by entrusting themselves to His beloved Mother through this powerful sacramental. Heaven has offered a myriad of signs and miracles attesting to the veracity of Our Lady’s promise and the validity of the hopes of those who entrust themselves to Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s providential care.
Among the many miraculous stories regarding the Brown Scapular, there are two that seem relevant tonight. First, two great founders of religious orders, Saint John Bosco of the Salesians and St. Alphonsus Liguori of the Redemptorists each nurtured a deep devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and faithfully wore the Brown Scapular. Both St. John Bosco and St. Alphonsus Liguori were buried wearing their priestly vestments and the Brown Scapular. Many years later when their bodies were exhumed and their graves opened, the vestments they were wearing at the time of burial and their bodies had completely turned to dust. However, for each man, the Brown Scapular they had been wearing was discovered completely intact. Today, St. Alphonsus Liguori’s scapular is on exhibit in his monastery in Rome. As Pope Benedict XV admonished his seminarians: the Brown Scapular carries with it grace that is evident even after death.
Venerable Francis de Yepes was the brother of the great Carmelite reformer St. John of the Cross. Venerable Francis was himself a Carmelite tertiary, and deeply dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and her Brown Scapular. He worked diligently to spread devotion to this vital channel of grace. One day as he was praying for the conversion of souls, Venerable Francis was assailed by angry, howling demons, who bemoaned the success of the scapular and ordered him to remove it. They said: “Take off that habit which snatches so many souls from us. All those clothed in it die piously and escape us.” However, Venerable Francis ignored them and continued his prayers.
Later, as he was performing an act of penance, his scapular slipped off. The demons again ordered him to keep the scapular off. He immediately put it back around his neck. As Francis replaced the Brown Scapular around his neck, the demons howled that three things particularly torment them: (1) the Holy Name of Jesus, (2) the blessed name of Mary, and lastly (3) the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Our Lord has bestowed tremendous grace upon those who show their devotion to Him, and honor His beloved Mother, through the Brown Scapular of Carmel. Countless documented miracles have been associated with devotion to the Scapular: houses spared fire, lives saved, incredible conversions, and abiding faith restored, just to name a few.
Our Brown Scapular is a tremendous treasure, the gift of a “Garment of Grace” from Our Lady. With gratitude, let us pray together the novena prayer for the sixth day in preparation for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16.
With loving provident care, O Mother Most Amiable, you covered us with your Scapular as a shield of defense against the Evil One.
Through your assistance, may we bravely struggle against the powers of evil, always open to your Son Jesus Christ.
(pause and mention petitions)
Say: Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.
May Our Lady of Mount Carmel wrap her Mantle around your shoulders and hold you close to the Sacred Heart of her Divine Infant Son, Jesus.
Ad Jesum per Mariam,