Marian Devotion and the Scapular

The flowers are in bloom, we have witnessed the Resurrection of Christ and new life surrounds us. We are officially in the month of May, a month known and dedicated as the Month of Mary. May crownings take place and parishes schedule specific devotionals and prayers to honor Our Lady throughout this special month.

At the first thought of May, we tend to think of our own mothers as we prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day this coming weekend. Let our minds not stop there, for we have a Heavenly Mother ready to pour out graces into each of our lives. From the cross, Christ gave us His Mother when he spoke to St. John, His beloved disciple.

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. John 19:26-27

Mary has appeared across continents and throughout the centuries calling for the conversion of hearts and always pointing us to her Son. We know her under numerous titles and names. It was a humble girl who changed the course of human history with her simple fiat when the angel Gabriel appeared to her. True devotion to Mary will always lead us to Christ.

Saints throughout history have had a strong devotion and veneration to the Mother of God, from St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Kateri Tekakwitha to St. Padre Pio. St. John Paul II’s motto during his pontificate was Totus Tuus, meaning Totally Yours, expressing his consecration to Mary. Most recently Pope Francis consecrated Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In 1251 Our Lady appeared in England to St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite. It was there that she handed him the Brown Scapular and said, “This shall be a privilege for you and all Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall not suffer eternal fire. Whoever dies invested with this Scapular shall be preserved from the eternal flames. It is a sign of salvation, a sure safeguard in danger, a pledge of peace and of my special protection until the end of the ages.” Over time the Church extended this tremendous privilege to the laity who wear and are invested in the Brown Scapular.

Wearing the Scapular is one way to show devotion to Our Lady and one’s commitment to living a life devoted to Jesus through the intercession of Mary. It is a reminder to clothe ourselves in virtue and holiness. In St. John Paul II’s Message to the Carmelite Order referencing the Scapular, he mentions the constant protection of the Blessed Mother that it provides and the awareness that our own devotions and prayers must become a habit.

We often refer to Mary as the Queen of Heaven and during this month of May let us also crown her as the queen of our hearts, of our families and of the entire world. O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today, Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May. (Bring Flowers of the Rarest)

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  • Author Fr. Looney also includes excerpts from the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary as well as a host of exquisite prayers and litanies to Our Lady.
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Cassie Everts serves as Contributing Writer at Relevant Radio. She is a wife, mother, author and speaker. She is the co-author of Nursery of Heaven and blogs at Everyday Ann. She holds degrees in Theology and Communication Arts from Franciscan University of Steubenville.