The Rosary & BrownScapular

      While a scapular is worn around the neck, and sometimes a rosary as well, and while both are religious objects of devotion, there's more to associate them than these things.
     During the famous apparitions of Fatima in 1917, the Blessed Virgin asked for the daily recitation of the rosary.  Thirty-three years later, in 1950, a Carmelite priest was able to interview one of the children who saw the Blessed Virgin at Fatima, then Sister Lucia.  It was August 15th, the Feast of the Assumption.  
     Sister Lucia explained to the Very Rev. Howard Rafferty, O. Carm., how during the miracle of the sun, the mysteries of the Rosary were shown in tableau form, and during one, Mary appeared as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, holding out the scapular to the world.   While Lucia alone saw her as such, the miracle of the sun was seen by thousands of spectators.  The sun made strange movements and plunged earthward before returning to its place in the heavens  There was a display of different colors.
     Father Rafferty asked her why she thought Mary appeared in that vision with the scapular.  Sister told him Mary meant that all Catholics should wear it "as part of the Fatima message."  Asked whether it was as important as the rosary in fulfilling the message, Sister Lucia responded, "The scapular and the rosary are inseparable."
     In 1858 at Lourdes, France, when the Blessed Virgin appeared to Bernadette in a series of 18 visions, Mary had a beautiful Rosary, and recited the Glorias with Bernadette.  The last of these visions was on July 16th, the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.  It seems to me that by choosing this date, Mary was associating the two devotions.

     There's a prophecy referring to both of these devotions in an ancient history written in medieval Latin by a person called Ventimiglia.  According to the account, there was a meeting on a street corner in Rome of Saints Dominic, Francis of Assisi and Angelus, a Carmelite preacher.  Angelus foretold the stigmata of Francis. Dominic prophesized that one day the Blessed Virgin Mary would give the Carmelites "a devotion to be known as the brown scapular", and to Dominic's order, "a devotion to be known as the rosary. And one day, through the rosary and scapular, she will save the world." (see photos below)

      The Fatima message includes the desire of God for devotion to Mary's Immaculate Heart, and Our Lady said those who embrace it "will be loved by God like flowers placed by me to adorn His throne." The Brown Scapular helps fulfill the Divine desire for such devotion, and is a sign of consecration to her Immaculate Heart. The wish for it to be such a sign, was enunciated by Pope Pius XII in a letter commemorating seven centuries of the scapular.

     It happened that this Pontiff was consecrated bishop in Rome on the very day of first apparition at Fatima, May 13th, 1917, and did much to spread the message of Fatima, a message of warning and hope, and of peace. The Pope's last name, Pacelli, begins with pace which in Italian means peace.

     On this same date in 1917, many miles away in Moscow, Russia, there was an attack on a Catholic church, where horsemen rode down the aisle, leapt over the communion rail, hacked the altar, destroyed statues in the side aisles, and turned on the children there having catechism, killing several. It's been described as the first in a series of violent acts eventually ending in Communism's triumph in that country.  

     Two months after that, during the third apparition on July 13th, Mary first spoke of Russia. She said she would come to ask its consecration to her Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays (She came in 1925 and 1929). She said that if her requests were heeded Russia would be converted and there'd be peace. If not Russia would spread her errors through the world, promoting war and persecution of the Church. She said the good would be martyred, the Holy Father would suffer much, and various nations would be annihilated. "In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and it will be converted, and an era of peace will be granted to the world."
      One may wonder whether the Carmel vision of Fatima was being tethered to the prophesized consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart, her scapular being the sign of such consecration.   And could it also be that this consecration will prevent a very great catastrophe by a special grace changing hearts?   Remember that the Mary was seen with the scapular during the miracle of the sun which included the sun plunging earthward.
      Today the world's in danger of nuclear destruction rocketed in and falling from the sky.  Perhaps such a peril was signified by the falling sun at Fatima, and perhaps the world's being saved was signified by its return to its place in the sky.  The fulfillment of Dominic's prophecy may be near. 
      It's interesting to note that the atomic age dawned on the July 16th, 1945, in a New Mexico desert, an event that might also be linked to the falling sun and the scapular.  Curiously, on this same date in 1918, that the Czar of Russia was murdered and disappeared from the Russian scene.

     Her rosary beads and the scapular are small, but their importance is not measured by their size, but by the power of God behind it. A grain of sand or an atom are small, but behind their existence is the power of God. God made the world from nothing, and He can bring peace from something small if He so desires, and through whom He desires. Is it possible that He wants to teach men a lesson in humility, using the beads and the scapular, whose small pieces of cloth are humble, the opposite of pride.

      We live under the blue of the sky surrounding us, which may remind us of Mary's mantle and her motherhood. The brown of the scapular may remind us that we are also the children of the earth, even as she is.  Lest we stumble on the stones, we can take her hand to guide us on the path of life, and lead us home.

                                                                                 John Riedell

    The following pictures were taken before and during a procession to in Orange Walk Town, Belize, when the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue was taken there in 1985.  This was immediately after the statue was taken to the Philippines by its escort Louis Kaczmarek. The first-person wording on the banner "I will save..." is the way it was quoted, facing the title page of The Secret of the Rosary by St. Louis Mary de Montfort.

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