Thursday, December 27, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Scapulars (excepting those which are proper to the Third Orders) can also later be replaced by a religious medal called the "Scapular Medal", but if this is done, the new medal must be blessed. This medal must "show the image of Our Most Holy Redeemer, Jesus Christ, showing His Sacred Heart, and the obverse that of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary," according to a decree of Pope St. Pius X.
Ok, this post is about scapulars and their associated devotion in general. I have been unable to find an image of a black scapular of Mary's seven sorrows, otherwise known as the Servite Black scapular.
A scapular is a Catholic sacramental normally composed of two small pieces of wool cloth connected by string that is worn over the neck, under the clothing, such that one piece of cloth hangs over the chest, and the second piece of cloth hangs over the back ~ thus the name scapular as they hang between the scapulars, or shoulder blades. They derive from the scapulars which make up part of monastics' religious habits -- that ankle-length (front and back), shoulder-wide, apron-like part of the habit that basically consists of a long rectangular piece of material with a hole for the head. Some have hoods and some tie under the arms. Monastic scapulars came, over time, to be called jugum Christi (the yoke of Christ), and receiving the scapular (becoming "invested") took on solemn meaning.
In addition to regular monastics of the First Order (i.e., friars) and Second Order (cloistered nuns), laity attached themselves to various religious orders, too, in what are called "Third Orders." Some lay members of Third orders -- "tertiaries" -- are "Third Order Religious" who live in a monastic community and generally take vows; most others are "Third Order Secular" who live in the world and generally make solemn promises. In the beginning, many of these lay people were invested with the full habit; later, they came to wear only the very small scapulars under their clothing. In addition to these Third Orders, Confraternities of lay-people (married or single -- just "regular Catholics") developed. These were invested with Scapulars of Religious Orders to which they were attached. For example the Brown scapular of the Carmelites, the Black scapular of the Servites, etc. It is these scapulars for lay people belonging to a Confraternity or a Third Order that one generally thinks of when one hears the word "scapular."
Some scapulars have privileges and indulgences attached to wearing them, but like any sacramental, scapulars are not magic; their efficacy depends on the proper intentions and faith of the wearer. Only by following through on the promises one makes when becoming invested can the benefits associated with them be had. They act as reminders, too, of these things they signify and of the Saints who are parts of the religious community in question. They are reminders to live in purity and holiness.
Friendly reminder, to reverently kiss one's scapular is an indulgenced act.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Black Scapular Order of Friar Servants of Mary: (Servites)A.D. 1240
"The Black Scapular of the Seven Dolors of Mary," or "The Our Lady of Sorrows Scapular," has on its front a depiction of Our Lady of Sorrows. Our Lady appeared to seven rich and prominent citizens of Florence who decided to give up their worldly possessions and follow Christ, promising to honor His Mother in her sorrows. Thus began the Servite Order. Mary gave them the Servite habit and said that "these garments shall be to you a perpetual memory of the sufferings of my heart." This is the more common Black Scapular.The General of the Servite Order may grant the faculty of investment with this scapular to other priests." (source)
The black scapular of the Seven Sorrows of Mary: "After Pope Alexander IV’s formal establishment of the Servite Order in 1255, lay men and women formed a confraternity in honor of the seven sorrows of Mary. As a sign of membership, they wore a black scapular, usually with an image of our Mother of Sorrows on the front." (source)
Black Scapular: "Origin:1233 appearance of Mary to the founders of the Servite Order Purpose: Invoke the protection of Mary, Mother of SorrowsPractices: Wear the scapular with special devotion to Mary's Seven SorrowsSource: The Black Scapular is not widely distributed/promoted separately, but is part of the Five-fold Scapular" (source)
I know its not much. I've attempted to contact the Servite order with no respose regarding this scapular, I'll post next on their third order Servite apostolate which I think is less than thriving. I pray for a renewal of such an apostolate and devotion to Mary's sorrows in general. Stay tuned...
Monday, December 10, 2007
2. Real tree or artificial? Up to me? - prelit fake. But alas... my small effort to submit to the will of my husband means a real messy, real tree!
3. When do you put up the tree? The weekend after Thanksgiving. The kids decorate it - words cannot express how much I despise putting the lights on the tree!
4. When do you take the tree down? Just after New Years
5. Do you like eggnog? Love it but don't drink it much due to the extreme excess of calories contained therein! I could always be talked into a glass with rum though...
7. Do you have a Nativity scene? Yes two actually, one on the altar of our prayer room and a larger one in the living room in front of the fireplace.
13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, many times. If I get something I don't need or like, I'll keep it in the package and give to someone else. Did the same with wedding gifts. Except for clothes, those I return.
14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Green bean casserole. Yes I know that's strange.
15. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Multicolored and flashing enough to cause seizures.
16. Favorite Christmas song. Angels We Have Heard on High & The Wassail Song
19. Angel on the tree top or a star? No, we have a terrible time getting them to stay on a real tree. I find myself totally apathetic about tree toppers...
Friday, December 7, 2007
"The Virgin Mary did not speak at Pontmain. How should we interpret this apparition, the different expressions of the Virgin Mary and the message which unfurled at her feet ? Of course the revelations add nothing to the revelations of Christ, which are complete in themselves. They were not meant to teach us anything new, but rather to awaken our sleeping consciences.The Virgin Mary appeared at Pontmain to help us to understand Christ. Her message is centred on Christ. The first part of the message, “But pray my children” echoes Christ’s urgent exhortations to pray unceasingly, following the example of the Virgin Mary, of the centurion Corneille or the numerous blind or paralysed people we find in the Gospel. Jesus asks us to pray with insistence, faith and humility to fulfil God’s will and not our own.The next part of the message, “God will answer you very soon” is the continuation of this message. It reminds us that all prayers are sent to God, and God alone, who gives us everything. It also tells us that prayer is effective : Jesus repeated this message forcefully. The end of the message, “My son lets his heart be touched” is a reminder of Christ’s part in the divine plan. Mary shows Christ in all his humanity, by which “he should become in this way completely like his brothers” (Letter to the Hebrews 2, 17)."
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Participants are to post 8 random facts or habits about themselves on their blog. Have fun!
"The Lord’s question: "What have you done?", which Cain cannot escape, is addressed also to the people of today, to make them realize the extent and gravity of the attacks against life which continue to mark human history… Whoever attacks human life, in some way attacks God himself." —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Evangelim Vitae; n. 10
Consider this today's call to prayer of reparation.
Let us never forget to pray for priests. They are in desparate need of our prayers in this time of spiritual warfare. The prince of this world is striking at the head in order to scatter the flock of Christ's church. Do not fall asleep in this regard as it is our solemn duty to support our parishes with money and our priests with prayers.
We thank you for our for our faithful priests and bishops, whose spiritual fatherhood and example of fidelity, self-sacrifice, and devotion is so vital to the faith of your people.
May our spiritual fathers be guided by the examples of Saints Peter and Paul, all the Apostles and their saintly successors. Give them valiant faith in the face of confusion and conflict, hope in time of trouble and sorrow, and steadfast love for you, for their families, and for all your people throughout the world. May the light of your Truth shine through their lives and their good works.
Assist all spiritual fathers, that through your Grace they may steadily grow in holiness and in knowledge and understanding of your Truth. May they generously impart this knowledge to those who rely on them.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen+
We recommend following a prayer path, either individually or in a group. It will take the pilgrim from the parish church to the barn and then on to the basilica.Either visiting the Cross or following the Way of the Cross will lead to a spiritual change which opens us to the path of life : Christ is alive !
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
"But pray, my children. God will soon answer your prayer. My Son is willing to hear you."
The need for prayer was all around them and through the children's innocence to see Mary; the hopelessness gave way to prayer for hope. Hope that God would hear their prayers.
Then one of the Sisters led the group in the singing of the hymn, "Mother of Hope". Our Lady's reaction was immediate. Her smile broadened until the children cried out, "She is laughing!" and she raised her hands to beat time to the music. When the hymn ended, however, her expression became grave for the first time and in her hands there appeared a large crucifix. The cross itself was blood red, the corpus a darker shade. At the top was an extra crosspiece, of white, on which was printed in red letters the inscription, "Jesus Christ." During this part of the apparition, Our Lady's eyes sadly contemplated the cross, the symbol and the pledge of our salvation. With the singing of the hymn, "Ave Maris Stella," the cross disappeared, and Our Lady smiled again, though this time not without a touch of sadness. This tender expression remained on her face until, after the recitation of night prayers by the crowd, a white cloud veiled the Lady from view and the apparition was at an end. Before the news of the event at Pontmain had spread beyond the neighbourhood, Our Lady's promise came true. The very day after the apparition, the Prussians halted their advance and withdrew ten mils. Peace came to the devout clients of Mary in Western France.
The Bishop of Laval lost no time holding a thorough inquiry into the apparition. Careful questioning of the four children and many adult bystanders led him to pronounce that a true apparition of the Blessed Virgin had taken place at Pontmain and to authorize her "cultus" at the scene. Many years later Pope Pius XI, after an exhaustive examination of the evidence, confirmed the decisio0n of the Episcopal court and granted a Mass and Office proper to our Lady of Hope of Pontmain. The barn from which the children had first seen the strange vision in the sky was turned into a chapel and soon became a place of pilgrimage. After the death of the elderly pastor, Father Michael Guerin, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate were placed in charge of the shrine. They erected the great basilica of Our Lady of Hope, which was consecrated in 1900.
During the trying days of German occupation in the last war, devotion to Our Lady of Hope received a new impetus. Since the end of the war, tens of thousands of pilgrims have journeyed to Pontmain to pay their thanks to the Mother of Hope or to seek her further intercession. The Oblate Fathers and Brothers introduced the devotion to America in 1952.