Tomorrow, July 16, is the day that we honor the Blessed Mother under the title of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. This feast began in 1726, and it commemorates the apparition of Mary to St. Simon Stock on July 16, 1251. St. Simon was the first General of the Carmelite Order. The Blessed Virgin promised special graces and blessings to those who would wear the scapular or the blessed medal with the Sacred Heart and the Blessed Virgin of Carmel that can take its place. These special privileges are:
The grace to repent during the final moments of life.The sabbatine privilege which consists of our being released from Purgatory on the Saturday following our death.The scapular reminds us that we are under the watchful care of our Mother. She protects in life and at the moment of death. She helps us to overcome every temptation and difficulty. Wearing the scapular also signifies that we love her and are devoted to her. All the while we know that our devotion to her leads to her Son. She desires and aids us in doing his Divine Will because she loves Him and us.
At the wedding Feast of Cana, she said to the wine steward; "Do whatever He tells you." She says the same to us all the time. This means keeping all of his teachings -- keeping the Divine Law.
Blessed John Paul II said that the mission of Our Lady began with the scapular. He noted that he owed a great deal in his early youth to his devotion to the Carmelite scapular. Mary, by the symbol of a piece of cloth called the scapular, seeks to clothe us spiritually with the Grace of God and to help us keep our garments white. After urging young people to strive always to keep their souls clean, he said: "Be vigilant to correspond to your good Mother who is concerned about how you go about dressed, especially with respect to the garment of grace that her daughters and sons should always wear." (Address, Jan. 15, 1989)
The scapular is a reminder that Our Blessed Mother is always so close to us. We should never worry or be distressed because she obtains the very power of God for us, for our protection and salvation.