Treasure of Grace: Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Day 8

Blessed Pope John Paul the Great once stated:

Mary is the sure path to our meeting with Christ. Devotion to the Mother of the Lord, when it is genuine, is always an impetus to a life guided by the spirit and values of the Gospel.”

Photo of Bl.Pope John Paul II Statue © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 EA photographer Blessed Pope John Paul the Great, Please Pray for Us!

 

From a tender age, Karol Wojtyla nurtured a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother. As a youth, the boy who would one day become Pope John Paul II learned about Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and embraced the Carmelite Scapular. The Holy Father stated that he had worn the Brown Scapular since his childhood, and often requested the intercession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in matters of importance.

When Pope John Paul II was shot on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, 1981, the Holy Father was wearing his Brown Scapular. As he was rushed into surgery at the Gemelli Hospital, the Holy Father clearly instructed his treating physicians to leave the scapular on during surgery. The surgeons complied with Pope John Paul’s request, and refrained from removing his beloved sacramental.

To the amazement of all, the Holy Father made an astounding recovery from the assassination attempt. It was as if a loving hand had spared his life by gently guiding the bullet, which was a mere millimeters from vital organs and vessels. The Holy Father attributed his miraculous recovery to the intercession Our Lady of Fatima, and on a subsequent visit to Fatima, he placed within her crown, the bullet that had come so close to ending his life. It is interesting to note that in her final apparitions at both Fatima and Lourdes, the Blessed Virgin appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, holding the Brown Scapular within her maternal hands.

“I have worn on my heart for a long time, the Brown Scapular,” Blessed Pope John Paul II © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012 EA photo

2001 was the 750th anniversary of the Carmelite Order. In September of that year, while addressing a large group of Carmelite pilgrims, Pope John Paul stated:

“Dearly beloved, this happy event involves not only those devoted to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, but the whole Church, because the rich Marian heritage of Carmel has become in time, thanks to the spread of devotion connected with the Scapular, a treasure for the entire people of God. Draw constantly from this wonderful spiritual patrimony in order to become credible witnesses to Christ and His Gospel in Daily Life (quoted from Scapular Prayer Book, ed. Bart Tesoriero, 2007, p. 38).”

In appreciation for this “treasure for the entire people of God,” please join me in showing our affection for the Mother of God, and requesting her unparalleled intercession, by praying the eighth day of the Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Eighth Day
You give us hope, O Mother of Mercy, that through your Scapular promise we might quickly pass through the fires of purgatory to the Kingdom of your Son. Be our comfort and our hope.
Grant that our hope may not be in vain but that, ever faithful to your Son and to you, we may speedily enjoy after death the blessed company of Jesus and the saints.
(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.

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. J.M.J.

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Garment of Grace: Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Day 7

Garment of Grace © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Throughout the centuries many of the successors of St. Peter have worn the Brown Scapular and highly recommended commending one’s self to the Blessed Virgin’s maternal care through this powerful sacramental. In the late 19thcentury, Pope Leo XIII stated:

“The nobility of the origin of the Carmelite Scapular, its extraordinary spread among Christian peoples for many centuries, the spiritualizing effects produced by it and the outstanding miracles worked in virtue of it, render the Scapular of Mount Carmel commendable to a wondrous degree (quoted from Scapular Prayer Book, ed. Bart Tesoriero, 2007, p. 32).”

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Pray for Us! © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

For centuries, people have been turning to Our Lady, through a tradition of Carmelite Spirituality and prayer, invoking her powerful intercession and providential care. One who wears the Brown Scapular with devotion shares in the spiritual benefits imparted to faithful Carmelites; a gift from our Lord bestowed through His Beloved Mother. On July 16, 1251, Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, bearing the gift of the Carmelite Scapular, and promised:

 

 

 

 

“Receive beloved son, this scapular of thy order, as a badge of my confraternity and for thee and all the Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment shall not suffer everlasting fire. It is a sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant (quoted from Scapular Prayer Book, ed. Bart Tesoriero, 2007, p. 12).”

The Brown Scapular is a powerful sacramental; richly blessed and highly indulgenced. It is NOT a magical talisman. It is a sign, a visible symbol of one’s commitment to Christ through Mary. The Brown Scapular is an outward manifestation of a covenant relationship with Almighty God, a pledge of obedience to His Holy Will. One who wears the Brown Scapular promises fidelity to Christ, and chastity in accord with their state of life (either married or single).

The ability to wear the “Garment of Grace” and partake in the promise of Our Lady of Mount Carmel to St. Simon Stock, and all Carmelites, is an immense privilege. As with any privilege, there is a corollary responsibility. Were one to merely wear the Scapular without practicing the faith that goes along with it, it would be equivalent of reducing this beautiful sacramental to the status of a “good-luck” charm. The Brown Scapular is most certainly NOT a good luck charm. Thus, to receive the graces associated with it, one needs not only to wear the scapular continuously, but also to live their faith, practice chastity consistent with their state, and pray.

Ideally, one should be enrolled in the scapular by a priest or deacon. A devotion to Carmelite Spirituality is also encouraged, including:

(1) Regular participation in Holy Mass and the Eucharist

(2) Regular reading and meditation on Sacred Scripture

(3) Regular prayer of at least some part of the Liturgy of the Hours

(4) Devotion to and imitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(5) A commitment to live the virtues of faith, hope, charity, and chastity in accordance with God’s Holy Will and one’s vocation in life (married, single, religious, etc.)

Mother of Mercy © SalveMaterDei.com, 2012

Among the long line of devoted clients of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is Blessed Pope John Paul the Great, who on the occasion of the 750 anniversary year of the Carmelite Scapular wrote:

“The Scapular is essentially a habit which evokes the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary in this life and in the passage to the fullness of eternal glory. The Scapular also reminds us that the devotion to her must become a ‘uniform,’ that is, a Christian life-style, woven of prayer and interior life (quoted from Scapular Prayer Book, ed. Bart Tesoriero, 2007, p. 38).”

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 seventh day in preparation for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16.

Seventh Day
O Mary, Help of Christians, you assured us that wearing your Scapular worthily would keep us safe from harm. Protect us in both body and soul with your continual aid. May all that we do be pleasing to your Son and to you.
(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.

Blessings,

Ad Jesum per Mariam,

M.A. J.M.J.