When I was a little girl, I loved dressing up in my aunt’s hats, heels, and scarves. I liked identifying with her. I liked the feeling of pretending to be her; practicing to walk in her steps; attempting to be grown up.
Decades later, after my mother died, I surprised myself--an adult--by wanting to wear my mother’s sweaters and jackets. I felt a special comfort and joy doing so, since wearing those articles of clothing made her feel near; made me feel embraced by her love.
Our Holy Father has just concluded a pilgrimage to Mexico, where he honored Our Lady of Guadalupe, and that got me thinking...Those experiences of mine inform the way I imagine St. Juan Diego likely felt when Our Lady, Mother of God and our Mother, assured him that he was in the hallow of her mantle, and in the crossing of her arms.
Imagine! Being so close to Mary as to feel protected by her, to feel the embrace of her mantle and love.
What if there were a way for us—for you and for me-- to feel embraced by Our Blessed Mother’s love in a way that we could see and touch? Would we gratefully accept it? Yes! I think we would run to accept it!
Here is the amazingly good news. There is such a way to feel lovingly embraced and protected by her. It is called Our Lady of Mt. Carmel’s “Brown Scapular,” and it comes with the Church’s approval and assurance that it is a legitimate sacramental.
It is not an article to be used superstitiously, like a good luck charm or a rabbit’s foot. No. God is not to be mocked. He has permitted His Mother to share with her children—His children!-- a way to feel and to see her closeness and to use that physical sign of her closeness to keep faithful; to obey her Son.
I invite you to learn about the “Brown Scapular” from the website of "The Open Door," a weekly Irish parish newsletter, which provides complete information about the Brown Scapular, including all the beautiful promises attached to its wearing by children who are faithful to Jesus. Not only is our Mother Mary offering us her scapular, but she is strongly recommending that we use it, as did one of her beloved priest-sons, Pope St. John Paul II.
Coming from an Irish heritage, as well as having been schooled by religious sisters founded by an Irish Blessed, I feel very privileged to share “The Open Door” link as a source for learning about and obtaining a scapular--or more than one scapular to share with others (as I have just done). At any time of the year, but especially with St. Patrick’s Day approaching, supporting the Irish parish newsletter is a concrete way to honor that great saint, to acknowledge my Irish heritage (Isn’t “everyone” Irish on St. Patrick’s day?), and more importantly, to participate in the universality of the Church, and to give back for all the catechesis I received from Irish priests and sisters.
Since charity and mercy begin at home, with ourselves, please let us consider inviting Mary, in a tangible way into our families, and then let us reach out to others in the larger family of God.
Please consider practicing and promoting this powerful devotion which has fallen out of popularity as our society becomes more sophisticated. Let us stay as humble, trusting children of the Mother of Mercy. Let us feel her closeness and protection, wearing a constant reminder of her unfailing help and guidance, as she lovingly leads us safely home to Jesus.
If you have a testimonial about wearing the Brown Scapular, please share your experiences in the Comment section or please share them with us in an article of your own.
May God bless you, and may Mary, under her many titles, such as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Our Mother of Mercy, comfort and protect you and those you love.
Amen! Thank you for taking time to read and to share your affirmation. In and out of this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we are exceedingly blessed by having Our Lord's Blessed Mother as our caring, loving Blessed Mother, who leads us to Him.