BEGINNING AND GROWTH OF THE CARMELITE ORDER
History reports that the great Prophet Elias, before the birth of Christ, ascended the holy mountain of Mount Carmel in Palestine and began a life of prayer and contemplation that was to inspire the beginning and growth of the Carmelite Order. Sometime after the Prophet Elias was taken up into Heaven as related in Scripture’s Book of Kings, several men, inspired by the prophet, took up residence in the caves of Mount Carmel to live as hermits. After the Incarnation, their successors erected on the Mount the first chapel ever dedicated to the Mother of God. Because of the invasion of infidels and due to the increase in vocations, many men ventured into Europe while some were being invited to do so. St. Louis IX, king of France, invited the hermits to settle in France. Because of these migrations, it became necessary to change some of the rules. The hermits were then forced to become mendicants who depended on the generosity of the people for their necessities. This presented serious difficulties for the religious Orders already established who resented the newcomers and their needs and responded with various types of harassment.
ST. SIMON STOCK APPEALS TO OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL
History then reports that St. Simon Stock, who had left England for the Holy Land, returned to his native land when the Muslims invaded. On his return to England, he joined the Carmelite Order and was eventually elected prior. He appealed to the patroness of the Order, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, on July 16, 1251, with this prayer that is still recited frequently by members of the Order:
Flower of Carmel,
Splendor of Heaven,
None like to thee,
Peerless and fair,
Thy children of Carmel,
Save by thy care,
Star of the Sea.
Suddenly a great flood of light filled his cell. In the company of many angels, the Blessed Virgin, with the Child Jesus, presented the brown scapular to him with this promise: “This shall be the privilege for you and for all Carmelites that whoever dies piously wearing this scapular, shall not suffer eternal flames.” The scapular had already been worn at times as a protective garment during work and consisted of two lengths of fabric joined at the shoulders so that the scapular lies front and back. With the recognition given by the Queen of Heaven, the scapular became a permanent and much respected addition to the Carmelite habit. After the apparition and after numerous appeals for protection against the Order’s antagonists, Pope Innocent IV on January 13, 1252, sent a letter of protection that secured the Order from the problems they encountered.
Some years later, when St. Peter Thomas (1305–1366) was engaged with important missions of the papal court, Our Lady of Mount Carmel again favored her Order. Concerned about the Order, he heard these words: “Have confidence, Peter, for the Carmelite Order will last until the end of the world. Elijah, its founder, obtained it a long time ago from my Son.” It was during this fourteenth century that many, attracted to the Carmelite Order and the many privileges it enjoys, became members of the Order by way of confraternities. They then participated in the graces, benefits and observances of the Order, and were properly enrolled in the Confraternity or Third Order.
THE SABBATINE PRIVILEGE
Another vision took place, this time to Pope John XXII on March 3, 1322. Now known as the Sabbatine Privilege, Our Lady revealed: “I, the Mother of Grace, shall descend into Purgatory on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I shall find in Purgatory I shall free.” St. Robert Bellarmine explains the promise to mean, “that anyone dying in Mary’s family will receive from Her, at the hour of death, either the grace of perseverance in the state of grace or the grace of final contrition.” On learning of this vision, Pope Benedict XV encouraged all to wear this “common armor … which enjoys the singular privilege of protection even after death.” Sixteen popes have given their approval to this Privilege, including Pope Paul V who issued a decree on its behalf. Many saints have also added their approval. The Carmelite Order, for various reasons, no longer speaks of it. Nevertheless, the faithful members may still believe in this extraordinary promise based on their faith in the mercy of our heavenly parents.
POPE PIUS XI SPEAKS FOR THE SABBATINE PRIVILEGE
Six hundred years after the vision of Pope John XXII in which the Sabbatine Privilege was revealed, Pope Pius XI observed the occasion by writing in 1922: It surely ought to be sufficient to merely exhort all the members of the confraternities and third orders to persevere in the holy exercises which have been prescribed for the gaining of the indulgences to which they are entitled and particularly for the gaining of the indulgence which is the principal and the greatest of them all, namely, that called the Sabbatine. Many saints have spoken highly of the scapular, including St. Alphonsus Liguori and St. Claude de la Colombière who announced: “I testify without a moment’s hesitation that the Scapular is the most favored of all.” It is regarded as the most indulgenced of all sacramentals.
BERNADETTE WORE THE SCAPULAR AS DID POPE JOHN PAUL II
It is claimed that Bernadette always wore the scapular and had one of her apparitions on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. At Fatima, too, Our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared during the spectacular miracle of the sun. Our Lady of Mount Carmel also appeared at Castelpetroso, Italy, during a vision that was witnessed by many. It is also of interest to realize that the scapulars of St. Alphonsus Liguori and St. John Bosco were found intact during their exhumations and are still preserved in reliquaries. Additionally, St.John Paul II joined the Discalced Third Order of Mount Carmel as a young man and always wore the scapular, even when in the hospital after the attempt on his life.
Here is a website where you can get a free Brown Scapular.If you can please help their cause with any size of donation because this is a very important worthy cause to clothe all Mary’s children with her garment of grace.This is a very powerful sign to the devil that we belong to her which is why he strives to keep her children from wearing it.It means that as long as we wear it he has lost the battle for our souls.