Seventh Sunday after Pentecost—19 July AD 2020
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[ Ordinary of the
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
Blessing of Scapulars
past Thursday was the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, but I decided
to postpone the blessing of Brown Scapulars until today, so that all of
you can take part. I'll say more about the Scapulars and the
Confraternity of the Scapular in a moment, but first I want to put Mount
Carmel and the Carmelites in perspective. Israel can be thought to have
two large inland seas--the Sea of Galilee (a.k.a. "Lake of Tiberias" in
the map above) in the north, connected by the Jordan River to the Dead
Sea in the south. Mount Carmel is on the Mediterranean coast, due West
of the northern Sea of Galilee. The modern city of Haifa is on the
slope of the mountain. The town of Nazareth, where the Holy Family
lived, lies between the two, a bit southwest of Galilee.
the ninth century before Christ, the prophet Elias was active in Galilee
(c.f. 3 & 4 Kings), and established a monastic community on Mount
Carmel, where the monks could live the spiritual life, removed from the
the Divine Office we read:
that many men who were
walking in the footsteps of the prophet Elias ... and had
been prepared for the coming of the Christ by the preaching
of John the Baptist, saw and acknowledged the truth, and at
once embraced the faith of the Gospel. These new Christians
were so happy to be able to enjoy the company of the Blessed
Virgin Mary, and venerated her with so special an affection,
that they, before all others, built a chapel to the purest
of Virgins on that very spot of Carmel where Elias of old
had seen the cloud, a remarkable type of the Virgin
ascending [into heaven].
monks of Mount Carmel, were joined by Crusaders from Europe and received
their holy Rule from Albert, the Patriarch of Jerusalem around AD
1210—approved by Pope Honorius III in 1226.
Some of the monks left around 1250 because of the Great Schism, and
remainder were forced to leave by the Moslems in1291. Many relocated to
Western Europe, and with a certain amount of difficulty, were
assimilated by the Western Church as friars.
the help of the Dominicans, the Rule of the Order was modified to better
fit mendicant Friars dwelling in cities, rather than in the Holy Land.
The new Rule was promulgated by Pope Innocent IV in his 1247 Bull
Quem honorem Conditoris.
Saint Simon Stock was elected Prior of the Order in Aylesford, England
and received the habit of the Order, the large (shoulders to the knees,
front and back) Brown Scapular from the Blessed Virgin Mary on July 16,
However, the Second Council of Lyon (1274) issued a decree suppressing
all religious orders founded after 1215 ! It is said that it took
another intercession of the Blessed Virgin to preserve her Order, and in
1286 Honorius IV re-confirmed the Rule. Boniface VIII officially
exempted the Order from the restriction imposed by Lyons II.
Lady promised a very important benefit to Saint Simon Stock for all
those clothed with the Scapular—essentially, that those who died would
be delivered from Purgatory on the Saturday after their death. The
authenticity of this “Sabbatine Privilege” was debated for several
centuries, but in 1613 Pope Paul V issued the following judgment:
It is permitted to the
Carmelite Fathers to preach that the Christian people may
piously believe in the help which the souls of brothers and
members, who have departed this life in charity, have worn
in life the scapular, have ever observed chastity, have
recited the Little Hours [of the Blessed Virgin], or, if
they cannot read, have observed the fast days of the Church,
and have abstained from flesh meat on Wednesdays and
Saturdays (except when Christmas falls on such days), may
derive after death — especially on Saturdays, the day
consecrated by the Church to the Blessed Virgin — through
the unceasing intercession of Mary, her pious petitions, her
merits, and her special protection.
mentioned a week or two ago, the sacramentals work by inspiring us to
live holy lives. There can be no greater inspiration to grace and
holiness than the Blessed Virgin. Those who associate themselves with
her through the Carmelite Order and the Brown Scapular, and live the
life outlined by Paul V, have the certainty of her intercession.
me add just two practical observations:
obligation to read the Little Hours and to abstain from flesh meat on
Wednesday and Saturday may on important grounds be changed for other
pious works; the faculty to sanction this change was granted to all
confessors by Leo XIII in the Decree of the Congregation of Indulgences
of 11 (14) June, 1901.
term “clothed with the Scapular” means being enrolled by a priest and
wearing It (even the tiny replica) as often as possible. Carmelites
don’t wear their habit when they bathe or go swimming, and one need not
fear damnation for taking it off to undergo a medical procedure!
closing, I reiterate: Those who associate themselves with the Blessed
Virgin Mary through the Carmelite Order and the Brown Scapular, and live
the life outlined by Paul V, have the
of her intercession.