16 The Church celebrates on this day the feast of the Scapular of Mount Carmel.
The scapular, which derives its name from the Latin word scapulŠ, meaning shoulders,
is a dress which covers the shoulders. It is mentioned in the rule of Saint Benedict
as worn by monks over their other dress when they were at work, and it now forms
a regular part of the religious dress in the old Orders. But it is best known
among Catholics as the name of two little pieces of cloth worn out of devotion
to the Blessed Virgin over the shoulders, under the ordinary garb, and connected
by strings. The devotion of the scapular, now almost universal in the Catholic
Church, began with the Carmelites.
The history of its origin
is as follows: During the thirteenth century the Carmelite Order suffered great
persecution, and on 16 July 1251, while Saint Simon Stock, then general of the
Order, was at prayer, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him, holding in her hand
a scapular. Giving it to the saint, she said, "Receive, my dear son, this scapular
of thy Order, as the distinctive sign of my confraternity, and the mark of the
privilege which I have obtained for thee and the children of Carmel. It is a sign
of salvation, a safeguard in danger, and a special pledge of peace and protection
till the end of time. Whosoever dies wearing this shall be preserved from eternal
flames." It is much to be wished that people should everywhere join this confraternity,
for the honor of Mary and for the salvation of souls, by a life fitted to that
end. In order to have a share in the merits of the sodality every member must:
Shun sin, and, according to his state of life, live chastely. Say every day, if
possible, seven times, Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father. Strive
to serve God by venerating Mary, and imitating her virtues.
These rules, it is true, are not binding under penalty of sin, but the breach
of them deprives us of all merit; and is not this something to be taken into account?
"He who sowetb sparingly shall also reap sparingly." (II Corinthians 9:6) The
Introit of the Mass is as follows: "Let us all rejoice in the Lord, and celebrate
a festal-day in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on whose solemn feast the angels
rejoice, and give praise to the Son of God. My heart hath uttered a good word;
I speak of my workS for the King." Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and
to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world
without end. Amen. Prayer O God, Who hast honored the Order of Carmelites with
the particular title of the most blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, mercifully grant
that, protected by her prayers whose commemoration we this day celebrate with
a solemn office, we may deserve to arrive at joy everlasting.
livest, and reignest, for ever and ever. Amen. Epistle: Ecclesiasticus 24:28-81
As the vine, I have brought forth a pleasant odor, and my flowers are the fruit
of honor and riches. I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge,
and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth; in me is all
hope of life and of virtue. Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled
with my fruits. For my spirit is sweet above honey, and my inheritance above honey
and the honeycomb My memory is unto everlasting generations. They that eat me
shall yet hunger; and they that drink me, shall yet thirst. He that hearkeneth
to me shall not be confounded; and they that work by me shall not sin.
that explain me shall have life everlasting. Explanation The Church applies this
epistle to Mary, thereby encouraging us fervently to honor the blessed Mother
of God, in whom the Eternal Wisdom dwelt bodIly, and through whom He was given
to us, that by her intercession our understanding may be enlightened, our will
strengthened, and we be inspired with fresh zeal to practice ourselves, and to
prevail on others to practice also, whatever is chaste, becoming, and holy. Gospel:
Luke 11:27, 28 And it came to pass as He spoke these things, a certain woman from
the crowd lifting up her voice said to Him: Blessed is the womb that bore Thee,
and the paps that gave Thee suck. But He said: Yea rather, blessed are they who
hear the word of God, and keep it.
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