I still remember everything about being enrolled in Mary’s Scapular. I was going on a mission trip with eighteen other college students to Rwanda, Africa and our priest leading the trip wanted to enroll us as a group before going to a foreign land. He did all the prayers in Latin and the best part, was hearing the words:
When you’re enrolled, you’re enrolled for life!
However, I am ashamed to say that a couple years after enrollment, I stopped wearing my “armor” and thought wearing the miraculous medal and praying many Rosaries, was enough. I’ll never forget the words of my friend, she had no idea I was not wearing the Scapular anymore; and I knew it was Our Lady giving me a demand through her. She said something along the lines of- I can’t believe some people claim to love Mary, yet they do not even wear Her Scapular. What a wake up call! I immediately put the Scapular back on and have not removed it since (except the shower, of course). I went from Mary’s little Scapular to Her large one She gave to Saint Simon Stock (the Carmelite). I am writing this; because the world must know that the Scapular is the best way we can show Mary we love Her and are consecrated to Her Immaculate Heart. I am so convinced of this, that I believe there is no higher way we can honor Mary.
I used to be all about the Rosary (and I still am), but Mary made it so clear when I entered Carmel- the Rosary leads to the Scapular. That is why the two are inseparable. Hence, why Our Lady at Fatima introduced Herself as the Lady of the Rosary and later appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel showing us how we can save our souls. My novice mistress made a bold statement. She said that she loves the Scapular, because it is a silent devotion. Immediately I pondered Mary’s interior…silent. Ah, what a wonder. All we have to do it put it on and Mary does everything else. It is the only devotion that promises Mary will not let you even see the flames of hell if it is around your neck when you die. I discerned so many orders before Carmel, searching for the truest most intense devotion to Mary. I was accepted into the Franciscan’s of the Immaculate and the Poor Clare’s of the Immaculate before Carmel. All orders claim to say “this is Mary’s order”, but a Carmelite priest contradicted that and said- Yes! But Carmel, really is Mary’s order. Why?
The other orders I mentioned took a fourth vow to Mary called the Marian Vow, this is what I am hoping to combine with a new Carmelite order. However, there was hardly any silence, believe it or not in those orders. It was a number of Rosaries and vocal prayers. I know we hear how Padre Pio would say fifty Rosaries a day, and I am sure his prayers did wonders, but my novice mistress said another striking statement- Our Lady’s life on earth would not have consisted of fifty Rosaries…but silence. Pondering in Her Heart as we hear so many times in scripture. She pondered all things in Her Heart- sorrow, controversy and even joy! Vocal prayer was a stepping stone for me and the very thing that lead me from Mary’s Hand, to Mary’s Heart. How profound. Carmel is nothing, but Her sweet interior, Her Womb! One of the prayers we recited everyday:
I have brought you to the land of Carmel, that you might eat of it’s choicest fruit.
It also hit me, that Mary has never appeared in any other order’s Holy Habit…except Carmel’s. That is why we celebrate on July 16th- Our Lady of Mount Carmel. At Fatima, She appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the Holy Habit holding out the Scapular begging mankind to wear it. I have heard it even called another kind of sacramental- Our Lady’s Sacrament. That is why Our Lady appeared to Saint Simon Stock with the large Scapular and Our Lord Himself appeared to Teresa of Jesus (Our Holy Mother) and showed her the design He wanted for the Carmelite veil. Carmel is the only order we can officially say had the Holy Habit designed by Jesus and Mary, Themselves! And here is the most profound words yet, spoken by the Queen, Herself:
In 1321, Saint Peter Thomas was told by Our Heavenly Mother that the order of Carmel is destined to exist until the end of the world.
When I said that the Rosary leads to the Scapular, I realized that praying the Rosary is essentially holding Mary’s Hand, wearing the Scapular is holding Her Heart. We must never put down the Rosary, but if we want to reach perfection, we must grasp the beauty of silence, which made up Our Lord and Our Lady’s day. The Carmelite rule so brilliantly says- “in hope and in silence shall your strength be”. A priest in Carmel told me that as Mary is my hope, let Saint Joseph be my silence…as he spoke not once in scripture. Never disregard the power of the Scapular. Yes, it might be itchy and we can show Mary our love in other ways, but I can think of no other devotion where She promises more, nor a devotion more worth it! Lastly, Mary appeared to a Carmelite surrounded with many other Saints from other orders hidden in Her Mantle. The Carmelite saw no Saints from her own order and said- Mary, where are Your Carmelites? Our Lady pulled back Her mantle and revealed Her Heart saying- here they are! As She pointed to the roses on Her Heart.