Montreal: Printed at the Vindicator Office, for T. Maguire, 1835 A.D.
Table of Contents
Chapter I.   A Compedious Narration of the Origin and Progress of the Holy Order of Carmelites; in which the Confraternity of the Scapular is erected.
Chapter II.   Why the Successors of the Prophets are called Brothers of the blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, and of the propagation of their Order under the Gospel.
Chapter III.   How the immaculate Virgin Mary hath ever showed herself the singular Patroness and Advocate of the holy Order of Mount Carmel, and how she gave the holy Scapular to St. Simon Stock.
Chapter IV.   Of divers sorts of Persons that appertain unto the Confraternity of the blessed Virgin.
Chapter V.   The First Privilege of the Confraternity of the Holy Scapular.
Chapter VI.   The Second Privilege of this Confraternity.
Chapter VII.   The Third Privilege of the Confraternity.
Chapter VIII.   The Fourth Privilege of this Confraternity.
Chapter IX.   Instructions how the Scapular is to be Received, and Worn; and what is required to gain the Privileges annexed to it.
Chapter X.   A Relation of some notable Miracles, &c.
A Compedious Narration of the Origin and Progress of the Holy Order of Carmelites; in which the Confraternity of the Scapular is erected.
The ancient and most famous Order of the most blessed Virgin was begun, and founded on this Mountain of Carmel, about nine hundred and thirty years before the coming of our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, for which cause the professors of the Order are commonly called Carmelites; taking their denomination (as it hath happened to other Orders) from the place where their institute was first founded.
The institutor of it was the great prophet Elias, who three times made fire come down from heaven to punish the Idolaters; who, by his prayers, hindered rain from the space of three years; who was carried away in a fiery chariot, and is to this day preserved alive, to come to preach before the Day of Judgment, the faith of Jesus Christ, against Anti-Christ, and his adherents.
The holy prophet praying on Mount Carmel, (as it is related, 4 Kings, 18) saw a little cloud rise from the sea, which he knew from a prophetical notion, to signify the glorious Virgin Mary, who was to spring forth out of the infected and bitter sea of our corrupt nature, without any corruption, and like an auspicious cloud, being resolved from the force of the Holy Ghost's descent on her, she was to water this barren world with the heavenly dew of the expected Messias. Wherefore, by express command of Almighty God, he presently began to institute a religious congregation which was to be dedicated to the honour, service, and imitation of this sacred Virgin, as it is at large related by John the 44th Patriarch of Jerusalem, de ortu Monachorum, cap. 32. And for as much we affirm Elias to have been the author of Monastic Discipline; it is asserted by many holy Fathers, St. Athanasius in vita St. Antonii; St. Hierom Epist. Ad Paulinum; which is, De Institutione Monachi, Cassianus, lib. S. De Origin, &c. Instit. Monach. cap. 2. Isidorus Hispol, lib. 2. De Origine, cap. 15, and others.
The disciples and successors of Elias are named in the Holy Scriptures sons of the Prophets; and they so much multiplied in a short time that their glorious founder, before his translation (it is thought) into the terrestrial Paradise, had the consolation to see convents erected in Bethel, Jerico, Gilgan, an Samaria, as may be seen in 4 Kings, 2. chap.
Elias being taken away by a whirlwind, Eliseus succeeded him, not only in the double spirit of prophesy and miracles, but also in the government of the Prophetical Order, as is sufficiently expressed in the 2nd chapter of the 4th Book of Kings; which he much augmented by his authority. In 4 Kings, chap. 4, special mention is made of miracles that he did in favour of those that lived in Galgala, and in the sixth chapter of the same book, we read how he went to erect a new house near the River Jordan, the Order being grown so numerous, that their former houses could not satisfy to lodge them conveniently.
After the death of Eliseus, Jonas the prophet is affirmed by many to have had the general government of the Order. This Jonas was the son to the Widow of Sarepta in Sidon, whom St. Elias restored to life, and afterwards he was his follower, and individual companion. But, according to others, Elias left the command to Jonadab the son of Rechab; and this is the cause that the sons of the Prophets are some times called in scripture Rechabites, of whom you may see honourable mention made, Jeremy, chap. 35. But whoever governed, this is certain, that the succesors of St. Elias remained on Mount Carmel until the coming of Christ, and even to this very day they persevere in God's Church, in the persons of the religious Carmelites who, by an hereditary never interrupted succession descended from them, as most grave Authors that have written in all ages do affirm. I will content myself to produce only two or three Testaments, for the defense of this Truth. Several Popes, namely, Sixtus IV, Julius II., Gegory XIII, and Clement VIII. in their Bulls granted to the Order of Carmelites, by these following words: "The sacred Order of the blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, (which now flourisheth in God's Church,) and the professors of it are the lawful successors of the holy Prophets, Elias and Eliseus."
In the year 1282, certain prelates of the East, being informed that the antiquity of the Order of Carmelties was called in doubt, they wrote a letter to the Pope, dated 23rd of September, in the city of Acon, which is related by Waldensis, de Sacramentalibus, tit. 9., cap. 89. In this letter the Bishop of Hebron, the Bishop of Tiberiade, and other prelates, do attest that the Order flourished on Mount Carmel, and other places of the east, from time immemorial.
Many other testimonies may easily be produced, for verifying this assertion; but I remit the reader to greater volumes, which have been published concerning the same matter; and I will conclude in showing what was formerly the opinion of our famous University of Cambridge concerning this point.
In the year 1374, a great dispute was excited here in England, about the antiquity and title of the Carmelites, who, as we shall show hereafter are called Brothers and Sisters of the blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. For the deciding of this controversy, the University of Cambridge deputed several Doctors, both of Divinity and of the Canonical and civil law, amongst whom was John Donewick, chancellor of the University, and many other eminent and learned persons. After a long and serious examination of whatever could be alleged on both sides, this learned and honourable assembly, published the following decree in our favour: "We have heard the reasons and allegations, and moreover having seen, read, heard and examined the privileges, chronicles, and ancient writings of the said Order (of the blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel,) we pronounce, determine and declare, (as is manifest to us by the said histories, and other ancient writings) that the Brothers of this Order are really the imitators and successors of the holy prophets Elias and Eliseus." Given at Cambridge, the 23rd of Feb. 1374.
These sons of the prophets, (for as much as concerns their life and conversation,) were so alienated from the world, so assiduous in prayer, so rigorous in their mortifications, and so exemplary and laudable in their actions, that from the sanctity of their lives, they were in process of time named Esseni, as Philo writes in his book quod omnes probi sint, and St. John Chrysost. hom. 45 in Acta Apost. by these words: Esseni, id est sancti dicuntur, hoc enim vult nomen Essenorum, a vitae honestate. Others call them Assidui, and under this title mention is made of them, 1 Maccab. 2, which name took its rise from their assiduousness, and constancy in God's service according to the opinion of Lyranus, who says, Assidui dicti sunt, ab assiduitate cultus divini. Joseph, the famous Historian of the Jews, lib. 6, Antiquitat. cap. 13, says, that they observed rigorous poverty, and had all things in common. He makes mention of their chastity, obedience, and silence. Plinius, in his fifth book of his Natural History, says the same; and speaking of their chastity, relates it as a wonder, that they should persevere so many years without marriage or generation; and also the prophet Jeremy, chap. 35 hath much in praise of the Rechabites for their poverty, obedience and abstinence. Now, that the Rechabites did appertain to the Order and Institute of Elias, it is learnedly proved by Lezana, tom. 1, Annala ad annum mundi, 3189. Finally, Joseph, the Jew, affirms that these Esseni, (as he calls them,) were in so great a veneration among the people, for their admirable virtues, piety, and perfection of life, that they were commonly esteemed to have something above human nature. And Herod himself, who was grown to that height of impiety, that he seemed to contemn all other things, how holy soever; nevertheless, he had these sacred persons in a great deal of honour and veneration; and this is the cause, (as I suppose,) that when the rest of the Jews were led captives to Babylon, in the time of Nebuchodonozer, those devout successors of Elias were permitted to retain the ancient habitation of Mount Carmel, where they happily and religiously persevered till that time wherein God chose to redeem the World by the Incarnation and Death of his beloved Son, whose Virgin Mother, living at Nazareth, three miles distant only from Mount Carmel, she did often visit those religious hermits, and honour them by her friendship and familiar conversation, as the chapter following will relate.
Why the Successors of the Prophets are called Brothers of the blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, and of the propagation of their Order under the Gospel.
The plenitude of time approaching in Almighty God, moved with compassion towards mankind, had decreed to blot out the sins of the world, by the most precious blood of his only begotten Son, and our divine Saviour. This joyful news of our approaching Redemption was by divine Revelation made known to some of the religious followers of Elias and Eliseus, then living in the solitude of Mount Carmel, who, above all others, did most earnestly desire, and expect the nativity of that sacred Virgin, which was to be the mother of the Messias, as they had been instructed by the holy patriarch Elias; and it was kept as a certain tradition amongst them, that their Order was founded in honour and imitation of the most pure and immaculate Virgin, who was to be the sovereign princess, advocate, and protectress of it; so that they had great reason to aspire after the time of her birth. These happy tidings of Christ's approach, were, by the sons of the prophets, communicated to Emorentiona, mother of St. Anne, and they gave her also an assurance from heaven, that of her race should be born the Virgin who was to be mother of the Messias. This motive induced her to embrace the state of marriage, which before she had rejected, and God Almighty was pleased, in verification of what he had revealed to her by the religious of Mount Carmel, to bless her marriage with two daughters, Sobe and Ann; which Sobe was the mother of St. Elizabeth, of whom was begot St. John Baptist; and St. Anne was the mother of the most sacred Virgin Mary, mother of God. St. Cyril Palianidorus, Carthagena, and others cited by Lezana, to. 1, Annal.
St. Anne had her house at Nazareth, which is distant only three miles from that part of Mount Carmel, where the sons of the prophets, (named Esseni or Assidui,) had their habitation; wherefore the most blessed Virgin, together with her mother, was wont often times to return thither; and, by reason of their virtue and sanctity, she took a particular delight in conversing and discoursing familiarly with them. She instructed them in many things that concerned our Saviour; she comforted them in their adversities; she exhorted them to perseverance, and assured them of her assistance, protection and prayers. On the other side, those hermetical fathers knowing assuredly that this was the Virgin whom the holy patriarch and prophet Elias had foreseen above nine hundred years before she was born, under the figure of a little cloud rising out of the sea, in form of a man's footstep, and whom he had assigned them for the advocate and protectress of their holy Order. They dedicated themselves wholly lo her, as their perpetual servants,
children and devotees, considering her as the only refuge, advocate, and mother of the congregation. Trithemus de laudibun arm. cap. 7, Carthagena, and others.
A little after the birth of our Saviour, St. Elizabeth, fearing the tyranny of Herod, who had slain many thousands of infants, she fled with her son to St. John Baptist, into the desert, where he joined himself to the successors of Elias, and embraced their Institute, as St. Ambrose expressly says, Epist. ad Vercel, cap. 14. From whom they being more fully instructed of the dignity and excellency of the blessed Virgin mother of God, they much augmented their love and devotion towards her, and were the first of all mortals that built a chapel or temple to her honour, while she was yet alive, about the year of our Lord 38, and that on Mount Carmel, near the place where their father, St. Elias, had seen the cloud mount up out of the sea, by which she was represented; and in this chapel they daily met, and there offered up their sacrifices, prayers, and petitions to the divine Majesty, in honour, and under the invocation of the blessed Virgin, their mother, singing continually her praises, and wholly addicting themselves to her devotion; whereupon they were called Brothers of the blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, which honourable title the sacred Queen of angels has approved of, by miraculous demonstrations, as shall be related in the chapter following. Also the sovereign bishops of Rome have confirmed it by their briefs, and adorned with indulgences. Lastly, the quiet and peaceful possession of this title, during so many ages, hath made the Carmelites lawful possessors of it; so that, as during the time of the Old Law, they were named sons of the Prophets, from Elias and Eliseus; Essens, from their sanctity; Assidui, because of their assiduousness in the divine service. In the same manner during the time of the Gospel, they are now called Carmelites from Mount Carmel, where their institute first began; and they are named Brothers and Sisters of the blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, not only because of the chapel, which they first dedicated to Almighty God, under the invocation of her sacred name, but also because of the great familiarity that they had with her when she lived upon the earth, and for the singular affection and devotion that they have ever since retained towards this incomparable lady. "Whatever we have said, is briefly contained in the lessons of the Office of the blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, which is wont to be celebrated by the Order on the 16th of July. The same
is affirmed by Joseph. Antioch. in speculo militiae, cap. 12. John the 44th Patriarch of Jerusalem, de Institutione Monach, cap, 37; Bapt. Mantuan lib. 3; Pathen, Joan. Bacon, in compendia historiarum and others.
By the familiar conversation of the most blessed Virgin and the preaching of St. John Baptist, many of the disciples of the holy prophet Elias were induced to embrace the Faith of Christ. Nevertheless a general conversation happened not among them before the Feast of Pentecost, when the Gospel was solemnly promulgated by a visible Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the disciples. Wastelius tom. 1. Annal apparatu, proves out of St. John Chrysostom, Theophylact, and others, that it is to be understood of the successors of St. Elias, what St. Luke says, Acts 25. "There were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, religious men of every nation that is under heaven." The occasion of their being then in Jerusalem was, that they had there two Convents, the one on that part of Mount Sion which was called Millo, not far distant from the place where our blessed Saviour instituted the blessed Sacrament. The other was on the Golden Port, which is that place where Joachim and Anne, father and mother of the blessed Virgin first met, and consented to their future marriage. To these two houses the sons of the prophets that lived at Mount Carmel, and in other places of Palestine, were wont to resort at certain times of the year, that they might, according to the Law of Moses, observe the solemn Feasts of the Jews, and there they were on the day of Pentecost, when that happened which is related Acts 2, Wald, de Sacrament, tit. 9, cap. 84, n. 2. After their conversion, they were so zealous for the Christian religion, that they joined themselves to the Apostles, and were their assistants in the propagation of the Faith and Doctrine of Christ, as many Authors attest: Joannes Jerosel, cap. 88. Thomas Waldensis.
This holy Order persevered always upon Mount Carmel from the time of their first institution by St. Elias, until the year 1237, though they had endured and suffered great persecution by Cosroe, King of Persia, Hamar, King of Arabia, and by several other Saracens. So that the number of those that shed their blood for the Faith of Jesus Christ, is so great that a principal writer saith, "count the stars of heaven, and you may count the saints of the Order of Mount Carmel." -- Trithemius cap. 12, de laudibus Carmelitarum.
About the year 1237, when the Saracens, by reason of the discord amongst the Christians, did waste the Holy Land, which Godfred had taken out of their hands in the year 1099, the persecutions were so bloody and cruel, that there were no more hopes that they could dwell any longer in that country; whereupon they agreed, by common consent, that some religious should be sent into Europe, to make foundations, that so by this means, they might secure and multiply the Order. Many came into England, others went into Cyprus, others into Marseilles, in France, and others into other provinces. Some time after, St. Lewis, King, returning from the Holy Land, brought with him into France six religious men more of Mount Carmel, and caused a Cloister to be built for them in Paris, from whence, some while after, several religious went into the Low-Countries, and so this celestial vine, planted by the great prophet Elias, and watered by Eliseus, and by the blood of many thousand martyrs, being plucked up out of Mount Carmel, began to spread its branches throughout all Christendom, under the favourable protection of the most glorious Virgin Mary, who has ever been careful to defend and preserve it, as the following chapter will demonstrate.
How the immaculate Virgin Mary hath ever showed herself the singular Patroness and Advocate of the holy Order of Mount Carmel, and how she gave the holy Scapular to St. Simon Stock.
The devil not being able to suffer the increase of this holy Order, resolved to try all his strength and machinations, in order to procure its utter ruin, and to that end he stirred up many persons against it, who in various manners did molest the religious, and oppressed them with many intolerable grievances. For the Order being as yet a stranger and unknown in Europe, they thought easily to execute their designs,: which was totally to abolish and extinguish it. But the grand devouts of the blessed Virgin, had ever recourse to Almighty God, through the intercession of the sacred Advocate, and Patroness; and this mother of mercy never failed to assist them in their most urgent necessities, as the following examples will sufficiency make manifest.
In the year 1216, Honorius III. being Pope, and St. Cyril of Constantinople, general of the Order, a persecution was raised against it under pretext that the rule of the Order was not confirmed, and consequently the Order was not to be tolerated, according to me decrees of the Lateran Council, celebrated the year before, 1215, under Innocent III. On the other side, these emuleus of the Order, did maliciously endeavour by all means to hinder the confirmation of it. But the aforesaid Pope Honorius, to prevent all dangers and to put a stop to these malicious proceedings, committed the examen of the business to two of his court, who being of them that had little affection for the Order, did expressly prolong and delay the determination of things. Then the glorious Queen of angels, to make known to the world the singular care she had of her Carmelite Order, appeared to Pope Honorius in his sleep, environed by celestial splendour and accompanied by many angels, having a severe and most majestic countenance, she strictly commanded him to take her devoted Order into his protection, and to confirm the Rule that was observed in it. Also to insinuate how efficaciously, and powerfully she had decreed to protect Mount Carmel, she adds these words: "It is not to be contradicted what I command, nor are things to be dissembled, when I am resolved to promote them." She moreover told him, "that these two of his court, who so maliciously deferred to conclude the business should in punishment of their wickedness, both die miserably that night." The Pope awaking out of his sleep, found that his two courtiers were dead, as the sacred Virgin had foretold him. Wherefore, with all diligence and care he sent for the Carmelites, and assembling the consistory of the Cardinals, he punctually related what had happened to him; he highly commended the holy Religion of the Carmelites. He extolled the devotion and protection of their glorious princess, the ever blessed Virgin; and he did most amply, by his Bulls, confirm the rule of the Order, which he also enriched with many privileges, as may be seen in Carthagena, tom. 4, lib. 4, Lezama in Annal; and in his book de Patronatu Mariae, where he cites many others.
But the ever blessed Virgin never favoured more her Carmelite Order, than when she gave them her holy Livery or Habit of the Scapular, by which she declared them her domestics and favourites. The thing happened as followeth: In the year 1245, St. Simon Stock was chosen general of the Order of the blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. This holy man was born in the county of Kent, in the year 1165. When he was twelve years of age, he withdrew himself into a wood, where he lived for the space of twenty years in great austerity, and in the perpetual exercise of celestial meditations, having for his house the trunk of a hollow oak, from whence he was named Stock, and for his food, roots, herbs, and sometimes bread, which a dog did bring him in his mouth, especially on the festival days.
In this solitude Simon received many supernatural graces from Almighty God, and especially he enjoyed the familiar conversation of the most blessed Virgin, who, one day appearing to him, told him that shortly some religious men, who were under her protection, were to come from Palestine into England, and that he should embrace their institute.
This prediction of the sacred Virgin was verified in the year 1212, when Sir Richard Grey and Sir John Veschy, returning from Palestine with the English fleet, that had been sent thither to succour the Christians against the Saracens, they brought with them from Mount Carmel, two religious men, Rodolphus and Yno, who admitted Simon into their Order, where he so well employed his time, that Anno Domino, 1245, he was chosen general of the whole congregation, which he governed with a great deal of prudence and sanctity, until the year 1265, when visiting the Convents of his Order in France, he ended his happy days in the city of Bourdeaux, where he lies buried in the cloister of the Carmelites' Convent.
Of this holy man, Molanus, in his Martyrology, hath these words "In the city of Bourdeaux, the nativity of the blessed St. Simon Stock, Carmelite, who was singularly dedicated to the service of the glorious Virgin Mary, whose life doth give a great lustre to the church of God, by the multitude of his miracles. His life was written by Monaldus, Ronaldus, Bouchier and Nicholas Harlom, the most renowned persons of his time, and his Feast is celebrated by the Order on the 16th of May."
During the time that St. Simon was general, many persecutions were raised against our holy Order, some opposing the privileges, others disliking that honourable title which they enjoyed, to be called Brothers and Sisters of the blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, and St. Simon suffered much for the defence of his Order, all which nevertheless, be at last overcame by the particular assistance and favour of the most sacred Virgin, to whom he had ever recourse in all his necessities, and she, as a pious mother, never frustrated him of his expectations. But at last, seeing himself decline by old age, and considering on the other, side that the enemies of the Order did daily increase, he ceased not with continual tears, to beseech the sovereign Empress of Mount Carmel, that she would not forsake her beloved religion, but that she would vouchsafe to take it under her singular protection, and adorn it with her favours, being it was her Order, which she had already honoured with her sacred name, and was confiimed by several Popes, Honorius III., Innocent IV., Gregory IX., Alexander V., and others. He composed many prayers and anthems in honour of the glorious mother of God, which pronouncing very often with great fervour towards heaven, he deserved to be gratified with the precious pledge which he left to his posterity, the holy Scapular of the blessed Virgin, received from her own hands in the manner following. As he was upon his knees in the oratory, the most glorious Virgin, environed with celestial splendour, in company of many thousands of angels, appeared to him, and holding the sacred Scapular in
her hand, she said to him these words: "Receive, most beloved son, the Scapular of thy Order, a sign of my Confraternity, a privilege both to thee and to all Carmelites, in which he that dieth shall not suffer eternal fire; behold the sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, the covenant of peace, and everlasting alliance." Having said these words, she left the sacred habit in his hands, and vanished. This happened on the 16th day of July, Anno Domini
1251, in the Carmelite Convent of Cambridge, which like that of London, went by the name of "White-Friars," so called, because of the white upper garment that those religious do ordinarily wear. But of this more shall be said in the chapter following.
The same year, 1251, another persecution was excited against our religious, by the pastors and curates of parish Churches, who would fain have hindered them from saying the divine office, and from burying their Brothers and Sisters in their own houses. Our general had recourse to his ordinary refuge, the Immaculate Virgin Mary, and commanded public prayers to be made to her throughout the whole congregation. The sacred Virgin appeared to him as before, and commanded him to send two religious men to Rome, to Innocent IV., who then sat in the Chair of St. Peter, whom she promised should take the defence and protection of the Order against these impugnators. St. Simon executed punctually this heavenly order, and obtained the aid and assistance of the See-Apostolic, by four ample briefs, which the said Innocent IV. granted to the Order, as the blessed Virgin had promised our general. Arnoldus, Bostius de Patronatu Mariae, cap. 6. Trithemius, lib. 1, de laudibus Carmelit. cap. 9, and others.
Anno Domini, 1316, the sacred Empress of Mount Carmel confirmed the truth of the vision made to St. Simon Stock, concerning the sacred Scapular, and adorned her religion with new and admirable privileges, in the manner following.
Clement V. being dead, the sacred College of Cardinals met together, first at Carpentea, then at Lyons, in France, in order to the election of a successor. But things were prolonged more than two years, partly by the dissension that was raised amongst the cardinals, partly by the wars in Germany, England, France and Italy, which was the cause of a great schism in the church; whereupon one of the cardinals, named James Arnauld, a Frenchman, of the province of Aquitain, and a great devout of the most blessed Virgin Mary, had recourse to this mother of mercies, beseeching her,
that she would by her intercession obtain from her Son a worthy pastor for the church, and such a one as would be necessary to remedy these disorders. The blessed Virgin appeared to him, and promised to place himself in the Chair of St. Peter, and also to assist and deliver him from all his enemies, on this condition, that being made sovereign Prelate of the Church, he should be favourable to her religious, the successors of Elias, and that he should publish and confirm on earth, what Christ Jesus her beloved Son, at her request, had confirmed in heaven; viz., that those who should make themselves religious of her Order of Mount Carmel, or should, out of devotion, enter into the Confraternity of the blessed Virgin, and wear her habit, they should be absolved from the third part of their sins; and if, after their death they should go to Purgatory, that the most sacred Virgin would deliver them thence on the first Saturday after their decease; supposing that during their life time they had fulfilled certain conditions which shall be set down in the ninth chapter.
This promise and prediction of the mother of God was fulfilled, first, when. Anno Domini 1316, he was made Pope, under the name of John XXII. and secondly, when in the year following he was delivered from a conspiration of some Cardinals against him, and from being poisoned. Thirdly, Anno Domini, 1320, when the anti-pope Corburius abjured his schism. Wherefore the Pope, to accomplish on his behalf what the blessed Virgin had required of him, he caused a Bull to be expedited, which we call Balla Sabbattina, dated the 3rd of March, 1322, in which he relates the apparition the blessed Virgin made to him whilst he was yet a cardinal, and consequently he confirms the said indulgence, and very much magnifies the protection of the Immaculate Virgin over the Order of Mount Carmel, to which he ever after remained much affected as his favours to us abundantly testify.
Anno Domini 1374, happened that which is related by Francis Potel, in his book De Origine, & Antiquitate Ordinis Carmel, and by Lezana, de Patronatu Mariaey; the sum of the thing is this: In the city of Chester there was a Convent of these Carmelites, who, according to their usual custom, named themselves Brothers of the blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. This glorious title offended many of the citizens, insomuch that they could not endure the religious, but murmured, and spoke many injurious and contemptible words against them, saying that they were unworthy of this namely and that they were rather brothers of Mary the Egyptian, than of Mary the Mother of God. But our glorious advocate undertaking the defence of her holy Order, as she hath ever been wont to do, within few days, many of these persons were severely punished, several dying suddenly, others falling into divers diseases and afflictions, so that a
scourge from heaven did seem to have fallen upon the place; whereupon the Abbot of St. Bamburg, who was Governor of the City, both in spiritual and temporal, ordered that a solemn procession should be made to appease God's wrath. In this procession, amongst other religious, the Fathers Carmilitee were also present; who, passing by a wooden statue of the most pure Virgin Mary, which was held in great veneration, many of them bowed down their heads and saluted the said sacred Virgin, saying, Ave Maria. At the same time the statue of wood did bow down its head and saluted them again, and stretching forth a finger, which before was doubled, pointing to the religious Carmelites, did, with a distinct voice, pronounce three times the following words: "Behold these are my Brothers."
Finally, when by continuance of time this sacred Order was fallen from its ancient rigour and observance; the sacred Virgin often appeared to our holy mother St. Theresa, exhorting her to undertake the reformation of it, and suggesting the means how to effect it, as this saint declares in her Life. She also told her what delight she took in this holy Order, and what service Theresa would render her in reducing it to its former vigour and observance. These examples of the favour and protection of the blessed Virgin over the Order of Mount Carmel, and many others which I omit for brevity sake, do sufficiently convince how justly this Order doth claim this sacred princess for their singular advocate and patroness.
Of divers sorts of Persons that appertain unto the Confraternity of the blessed Virgin.
BEFORE I speak further of the sacred Confraternity founded upon the holy Scapular, which the blessed Virgin gave with her own hands to St. Simon Stock, General of the Carmelites, and in his person to all the Order, and to the whole church of God, it will not be from my purpose to tell you that there are several sorts of persons who fight under the standard and livery of the most blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel; they may be all reduced to four classes, whereof two are religious, and do consecrate themselves to the service of Almighty God, by the vows of the angelical councils; the other two are not.
In the first class are to be placed men and women, who live in the monasteries, and have all things in common: observing the ancient rule of the Carmelites, of whom we have already proved, that they are the lawful successors of the holy prophets Elias and Eliseus.
The second rank is those whom we commonly call Tertians, or the third Order, who living in the world, do endeavor to observe the rule of the Order, as much as their state and condition will permit, and consequently they imitate others who live in communities in the colour of their clothes, the time of frequenting the sacraments, in their manner of praying, and finally, in their abstinence, penance and mortifications, or according to the advice and prescription of a prudent director.
Of this third Order of the blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, mention is made in the bull of Sixtus V. which begins thus: Dum attenta meditatione, &c., wherein he gives full power to all the superiors of the Order, to admit what persons they may judge fit to the Habit of Tertians; and, consequently, in the same Bull his Holiness makes all that wear it participants of the privileges, immunities, favours and indulgences of the whole Order of
Carmelites. This institute, or manner of living hath produced many persons of the most rare virtue and sanctity; among others the blessed Angela de Arena, Paula de villa Franca, Maria del Aquila, Joanna Oliveria, and also Francis de Yepes, a person of known sanctity in Spain, and brother to that divine contemplative, and doctor of mystic Divinity, John of the Cross, lately beatified by Clement X. This person, I say, took publicly the Habit of the third Order of the blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel at Medina, and made his profession in it: and after the long practice of heroic actions, and the working of the most prodigious miracles, which are related in the history of his life, he rendered up his happy soul to his Creator, leaving the world embalmed with the sweet odours of his most admirable virtues. Of the venerable Virgin Angela de Arena, Carthagena, lib. 17, Homiliarum, Homil, 3, writes out of Silvester Maurolicus, a Cistertian Abbot, that she having a resolution to become a Tertian of another Order, the night before she was to execute her design, she saw in a vision a ladder whose top reached up to heaven, and two saints of the Order of the Carmelites, appearing to her, told her, "that if she desired by this ladder to mount up to heaven, she should become a Tertian of the Order of the blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel." Whereupon she, changing her former, resolution, followed this celestial admonition, and died in a great opinion of sanctity in Sicily, on the 2nd of October, 1556.
The other two institutes which are annexed to the holy Order of Mount Carmel, are Sodalities, or Confraternities; and for distinction sake, we may name the first, "The Sodality of the Order;" the second, "The Confraternity of the holy Scapular."
By the first we may make persons participants of all the privileges, indulgences, prayers, fastings, disciplines, watchings, and other good works, and spiritual treasures of the Order. This is done by letters of filiation, as they call them; for, as in a temporal republic, the magistrates have power to incorporate into their body whom they think fit, and to dispose of their earthly dominions; so in spiritual congregations, the superiors have authority to dispose of their spiritual riches, and to apply them to whom they think good; they being authorized thereunto by Gregory V. who died in the year 999, Alexander II., Clement III., and other Popes, in their briefs granted to the Order.
The second, which we name the Confraternity of the holy Scapular, and of which alone all our future discourse will be, is, as we have already said, grounded upon the words of the most blessed Virgin, spoken to St. Simon Stock, and upon the sacred Habit which she gave to him, as a sign of her Confraternity, and a powerful protection. Those that enter into this congregation, do at the same time enter into a participation of the promise made by the Mother of God, to them that die vested with her sacred livery, which is, as we have said in the former chapter, to be delivered from the eternal pains of hell fire, from the temporal pains of purgatory, on the first Saturday after their decease, and to enjoy many other privileges which are contained in the words of the blessed Virgin to St. Simon Stock. For the words and promise of the Virgin did not only concern himself, and the religious men and women of his Order, but also all persons whatsoever, who, out of devotion to the blessed Virgin, do wear the Scapular, and become members of the Confraternity. This may be verified by the several arguments.
First, because several Popes have approved erecting this Confraternity indifferently, for all persons to enter into it, of which number they themselves have often been.
Secondly, John XXII., relating in his Sabbatine Bull, the apparition of the blessed Virgin to him, sets down some of her words, which do evidently convince, that the privileges of the Scapular are not only for the Carmelites, but for all others that wear it.
Thirdly, we find by daily experience that the devouts of the Scapular do enjoy the favor and protection of the sacred Virgin, whether they be ecclesiastical or secular.
Finally, a most efficacious argument to convince this truth, is gathered from what St. Simon Stock did. This holy man received the Scapular from the blessed Virgin; and consequently, he knew very well what her meaning was; and, nevertheless, he gave this precious livery to many out of his Order, who during their life, and at their death, did all by a happy experience, learn the efficacy and power of it. Moreover, the first miracle we read of done by the Scapular was on a layman; and because the thing happened here in England, I will relate briefly the story. On the 16th of July, which is the very same day on which the blessed Virgin gave her Scapular to St. Simon, this venerable prelate went to Winchester about some business he had with the bishop of the place; he was no sooner arrived there, but the Dean of St. Helen's Church came to him, and beseeched him that he would vouchsafe to come and assist a brother of his, named Walter, who lay dying in despair of his salvation, insomuch that he would not hear of God or of Sacraments, but continually did invoke the devil, that he would revenge him of a person that had mortally wounded him. Our holy general went presently with his own companion to see this miserable fellow, whom he found deprived of all use of reason, and grinding his teeth and rolling his eyes in a most hideous manner. After that he had recommended him to Almighty God; he made on him the sign of the Cross, and gave him the Scapular, which he had no sooner done, but the sick man returned presently to himself; he detested the devil, with whom he had made a secret contract. He begged pardon of Almighty God, with great signs of true sorrow and contrition. He earnestly desired to confess his sins, and to receive the other sacraments of the church, which being done, he died the same night. But the Dean being in doubt of his brother's salvation, because of his wicked life, the dead appeared to him, and assured him, that by means of the Habit wherewith the general of the Carmelites had invested him, he had escaped all the snares of the devil and eternal damnation.
The First Privilege of the Confraternity of the Holy Scapular.
HASTENUS, a learned Author, In disquisionibus Monasticis, lib. 3, n. 3, disq. 5, hath well said,
that the holy Scapular was given, not only for a vest, but also for a breast-plate or helmet, against our spiritual enemies; for our blessed Saviour, by the intercession of his Virgin Mother, hath annexed to it so many graces, favours and privileges, that it may be verified what is said upon another occasion. Ap. 2. "No man knows them but he that receives them." It would require a long discourse to treat exactly of all these privileges; wherefore I will content myself to put down briefly the principal.
We said in the former chapter that two Confraternities are annexed to the holy Order of Mount Carmel; to wit, that of the third Order, and that of the Scapular, which, though they are distinct, nevertheless they are united for those that wear the
Scapular, insomuch that the devouts of this sacred livery are partakers of all the prayers, disciplines, alms, watchings, fasts, Masses, canonical hours, mortifications, austerities, and good works which are done in the holy Order of the Carmelites.
This privilege ought the more to be esteemed because this devout and observant congregation hath ever abounded with many most pure souls, so it must need be very advantageous to participate of their prayers and good deeds. Clement VII., out of a
singular devotion he had to this holy Confraternity, hath extended this communication further, and hath made the Brothers and Sisters of the Confraternity of the Scapular, participants of all pious actions which are done throughout the whole church of God. Moreover, Sixtus IV. granted to the devouts of the Scapular, all the priviliges, indulgences, graces and favours which are granted to the Cord of St. Francis, to the Rosary of our blessed Lady, or to any other confraternity whatsoever, so that
they do enjoy them as if they were really members of the said sodalities, by reason of their communication in privileges with the Order of the Carmelites.
The members of this Confraternity do enjoy that honourable title of being called Brothers and Sisters of the blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, and they are taken under the special protection pf this sacred Queen of angels, as persons particularly appertaining to her, and as it were her domestics, clothed in her livery. Wherefore, without doubt, this powerful advocate will not fail to aid and assist them both in their life, and at the hour of their death obtaining for them a happy end, which doth appear by an infinite number of miracles wrought in favour of the Brothers and Sisters of this Confraternity, whereof some are related in the tenth chapter of this treatise, and many others are yet done by Lezana, de Patronatu Mariae, cap. 5, where you may read how the sacred Virgin hath miraculously obtained for the most exorbitant sinners, time and grace to repent, and confess their sins, because they wore her livery. For as St. Thomas doth teach, 1, 2, q. 31, art. 5, grace and
virtue do imitate the order of nature, which hath this property, that every agent doth act most powerfully on that subject which is nighest to its virtue. Thus Almighty God, whose nature is goodness, and whose ways are mercy, doth communicate himself more abundantly to these angelical spirits which are nearly united to him, as St. Dennis de Ecclesiastica Hierarchy cap. 7, and others of the holy fathers, do testify. In the same manner, the Mother of God doth enlarge her gifts and her graces, as well spiritual as temporal, more plentifully, and more abundantly on those who have contracted any particular alliance or conjunction with her; as here they of the congregation or confraternity of the Scapular do, several titles; they claiming this sacred Virgin for their only princess, patroness, and advocate.
The Second Privilege of this Confraternity.
ANOTHER benefit or privilege of this Confraternity of the Scapular is contained in these words: "he that dieth invested with this Habit shall not suffer eternal fire;" which is as much as to say, that the Scapular is a great help in order to the obtaining eternal felicity. The same thing was revealed to Pope John XXII., as he relates in his Bulla Sabbatina; and to the B. Angela de Arena, who was told by two saints which appeared to her, that if she desired to mount up to heaven by the mystical ladder which she saw in a vision, she should forthwith receive the Scapular. Also, Don John de Vestques, relates in the Life of the venerable
Francis Yepes; who died in a great opinion of sanctity in the year 1617, that among many other things which were supernaturally revealed unto him, he learned that the holy Scapular was one of the greatest adversaries that the devil had in the world, for the great number of souls which he lost by means of. The Rev. Father Alphonso a Matre Dei writes, that in the city of Quarena, during the procession of the holy Scapular, which is made on the third Sunday of every month, the devils were heard to execrate the holy Scapular with many howlings and outcries, lamenting themselves, that by means of this sacred habit of the blessed Virgin, the gates of hell were shut to many persons.
But you must note, that this promise of the blessed Virgin, whereby she obliged herself, that none should suffer hell fire, who died in her livery, is not to be understood in such manner as if all those were to be absolutely saved, but they shall be saved; forasmuch as on the behalf of our blessed Lady, who, in virtue of the alliance contracted with them, will obtain of God such particular graces, which if they make use of they will easily arrive to eternal salvation; wherefore if any that wear the Scapular come to be condemned, it will be his own fault, he having not co-operated on his part with God's assistance, but rendered himself obstinate and rebellious to the divine inspirations which the blessed Virgin, by her powerful intercession, had obtained for him. In the same manner are to be understood, the words of our Divine Saviour: "He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved, Mark 16. Whosoever shall invocate the name of our Lord shall be saved." Rom. 10. That is to say, he shall be saved forasmuch as concerns the nature of faith and baptism. For here is signified, not so much the effect as the strength and nature of
the thing to which the promise is annexed. See Maldonatus, in cap. 6, Joan, v. 54.
The Third Privilege of the Confraternity.
THE third privilege of the Scapular, is that which we call Bulla Sabbatina, and it consists in this: That the most immaculate and ever Virgin Mary, doth assist her devoted brethren after their decease, in freeing them speedily from the horrible pains of purgatory, especially on the first Saturday after their death, which day being dedicated by the church to her honour, she is then wont more liberally to bestow her favours. This privilege hath for its security the promise of the blessed Virgin, made to Pope John XXII. by these words: 'They that out of devotion shall enter into my confraternity if, after their death they go to purgatory, I, that am the mother of mercy, will descend the first Saturday after their decease, and by my prayers and intercession will help them thence, and conduct them to the holy mountain of celestial glory." The truth of this promise or privilege cannot reasonably be now called in doubt, seeing it hath often times been approved of by Popes, generally admitted by good Catholics, and examined and authorized by the most famous Universities, Colleges, and Schools of Christendom, as by the University of Cambridge, in England, in the year 1374, by that of Bolonia in Italy, in the year 1609, and lastly, by that of Salamanca in Spain. It was published first by John XXII., and that by express command from heaven as he himself declares in his Bull, which we call Sabbatina, and thus begins, Sacratissimo uti culmine, given at Avignon, the 3d of March, 1322. Alexander I. confirmed this brief of John XXII. in the year 1409, and also many other chief pastors of the church after him, as Clement VII., Pius V. in his bull, superna dispensatione, given the year 1556. Gregory XIII. in his bull ut lauds, in the year 1577. And all the congregation of the Inquisition at Rome, under Pius V. after a long and accurate
examen of this privilege, and of the apparition made to John XXII. confirming it, published the following decree, confirmative and decisive; "It is permitted to the Fathers Carmelites to preach that Christian people may piously believe, the help of the souls of the Brothers and Sisters of the Sodality of the blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel; to wit, that the blessed Virgin, by her continual intercessions, and by her pious sufferages, merits and special protection, will help the souls of the Brothers and Sisters departed in charity; especially on the first Saturday after their decease, supposing that during their life time, they did wear the habit of the blessed Virgin, and for their state did observe chastity, and did say the little office of the blessed Virgin, or, if they could not read, did observe the fasts of the church, and abstain from flesh on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Finally, this doctrine is inserted in the lessons approved of by the church, for the feast of the solemn commemoration of the blessed Virgin Mary, celebrated by the Order of the Carmelites, on the 16th of July, where we read these words: "Not only in this world, our blessed Lady hath beatified with many prerogatives this Order so acceptable to her, but also in the other world, (she every where being great in power and mercy,) doth favour those that are enrolled in the society of her Scapular, for whilst they are purged by the fire of Purgatory, she doth comfort them with maternal affection, and by her prayers doth very speedily bring them into the celestial country, as is piously believed."
The excellency and greatness of this privilege will easily appear, if we consider how horrible the broiling torments of Purgatory are; according to St. Gregory, St. Augustine, St, Bernard, and others, they are not any way to be compared to the pains of this life, nor to those that the holy martyrs did endure. Moreover, the angelical doctor St. Thomas saith, that they do exceed the pains which Jesus Christ suffered in his holy Passion, which notwithstanding were the most cruel and bitter that ever any creature endured in his life. Over and above, they are not torments for an hour, or a day, as those of this world, but they may, and do last twenty, thirty, or a hundred years. From these fearful torments the devouts of the holy Scapular are exempted, if they perform what shall be put down in the tenth chapter, and die invested with the holy Habit, and in the state of grace. Lest any one should think that our blessed Lady promised more than she could perform, when she granted this, or any other favour to her sacred Order and Confraternity, it will not be from my purpose to explicate briefly, what authority she hath, and how she is able to assist us, either in this world or in the future. For the clearing of this difficulty, you must understand that Jesus Christ, God and Man, hath an immense and absolute power of all things, both in heaven and earth, as He himself said to his Apostles, Matt. 28. All power is given to me both in heaven and upon earth. He is the absolute Lord, and hath the keys of death, of hell, and purgatory, Apoc. 1. No pure creature hath this prerogative, it is a jurisdiction reserved to him only, insomuch that neither the Father doth judge any, but hath given all judgment to his Son. John 4. Nevertheless, though all this be true, it is a Catholic proposition, that the most sacred Virgin Mary, by a participated authority, granted to her as mother of Jesus Christ, can do much in all things where mercy doth contend with justice. Wherefore, St. Anselm saith. Lib. de excel, Virg. "there is no doubt but the blessed Virgin Mary, by maternal right is with Christ, President of Heaven and Earth. St. John Damascen. Orat. de Assumpt. saith, it is fitting and convenient that Mary should possess what is her Son's. And Balbertus assures us, that she is able to obtain more than all the angels and saints in heaven, and more than all the church throughout the whole world. Lastly, this is the doctrine of St. Jerome, explicated by St. Bernard, tom. 1, Serm. 6, Art. 52, chap. 10.
Hence we may infer how the blessed Virgin can. free the souls of her devouts out of purgatory, and fulfil her other promises made to the Brothers and Sisters of the holy Confraternity, to wit, by a power communicated to her from her Son: for, she being really mother of the Word incarnated, there is in all propriety due to her a certain power, or, as others say a dominion over all things, as well spiritual as temporal, to which the authority of her Son doth extend itself; so that she hath, by natural right of maternity, a power almost like that of her Son, of which she may serve herself as often as she may think good. Relying, therefore, on this her participated omnipotency, and on the efficaciousness of her merits and intercession, she promised the devouts of her holy Habit to free them from the temporal pains of purgatory-fire, from the eternal pains of hell-fire, and from many dangers and calamities of this life, as well spiritual as temporal.
The Fourth Privilege of this Confraternity.
THE following benefit of the Confraternity of the Scapular, doth consist in the great multitude, and variety of indulgences, wherewith the sovereign bishops of Rome have honoured and adorned it.
But that I may not exceed the limits of an abridgement, I will only set down a few of the principal.
1st. Paul V. of blessed Memory, hath granted to all the faithful of either sex, on the day of their entrance into this Confraternity, a plenary indulgence.
2nd. On the day of the solemn commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, which is the 16th of July, for those that having confessed, and communicated, do pray for the exaltation of our holy mother the Church, for the extirpation of heresies, and for the union of Christian princes, a plenary indulgence.
3rd. At the hour of their death, having confessed, and received, invoking with their mouthy or if they cannot, with their hearts, the holy name of Jesus,
a plenary indulgence.
4th. Whosoever shall abstain from flesh on Wednesdays and Saturdays, shall gain every time three hundred days of indulgence.
5th. For every time that any shall say the office of our blessed Lady, one hundred days of indulgence.
6th. As often as they shall assist at the Mass or divine Offices in the church or chapel of the Carmelites, one hundred days of indulgence.
7th. As often as they shall assist at the Procession which is made for those of the Confraternity on the third Sunday of every month, if they confess and communicate, and pray for the ordinary necessaries as above, a plenary indulgence.
8th. As often as they shall say seven Pater Nosters, and seven Ave Marias, in honour of the seven joys of our blessed Lady, forty days of indulgence.
If you desire to know these joys, they are as followeth.
First, The joy which she had at the Annunciation of the Angel when she conceived the Son of God.
Second, The joy which she had when she visited St. Elizabeth, and was called by her the Mother of our Lord.
Third, The joy that she had at the Nativity of our Saviour, when the angels sang Glory be to God in the Highest.
Fourth, The joy she had to see her Son adored by three kings.
Fifth, The joy she had in finding her little Jesus in the Temple amongst the Doctors.
Sixth, The joy she had at the glorious Resurrection of our Blessed Saviour.
Seventh, The joy she had in her assumption, when she was exalted above all choirs of angels.
The above mentioned indulgences are given only to those that wear the holy Scapular, but the following are for all faithful Christians.
1st. Urban VI. hath given all Christians as often as they shall call the Order of Carmelites, the Order of the blessed Virgin Mary, or shall call the Carmelites, Brothers and Sisters of the said Virgin, three years' indulgence.
2nd. Pope Leo IV. hath granted to every one that shall visit any church or chapel of the Carmelites at Christmas, Easter, or Whitsuntide on the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, the Assumption, Nativity, Annunciation and Purification of our
blessed Lady, the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, All-Saints Day, the two Feasts of the Holy Cross, and the Nativity of St. John Baptist; on any of these days, seven years of indulgence, and as many quarantines.
3rd. Innocent IV. hath granted forty days of indulgence to all those that visiting the church of the Carmelites, say there one Pater and one Ave-Maria for the living and the dead.
4th. Clement VII. in the year 1639, Pius V. and Gregory XIII. have granted to all faithful Christians, that visiting some church or chapel of. the Carmelites, and saying seven Pater Nosters and seven Ave Marias, for the ordinary ends, they may gain the indulgences of the stations of Rome, as well as if in effect they did visit the churches of the stations at Rome.
5th. Paul V. in the year 1622, granted a plenary indulgence to all those persons, who having confessed and received, should visit our church on the day of our holy mother St. Theresa, which is the 15th of October.
6th. Gregory XV. at the instance of the venerable Father Dominick of Jesus Maria, general of the Order, granted a plenary indulgence to all those who say five Pater Nosters, and five Ave Marias and the Salve Regina, in honour of the blessed Virgin for five principal necessities.
First, For those that are in danger to commit some mortal sin.
Second, For those who have fallen into mortal sin. This indulgence may be applied to the souls in purgatory.
Third, For those who are afflicted, troubled, sick and such like.
Fourth, For those that are agonizing and dying.
Fifth, For the souls in purgatory.
Also, those that visit our churches, and pray for the ordinary necessaries, may free a soul out of purgatory every Wednesday throughout the whole year, on All-Souls' Day, and on other days when they may free a soul by visiting the stations at Rome.
But because indulgences have frequently been invoked, it will not be amiss to assure the reader, that the above mentioned are in full force, as appears by the Bull of Pope Clement X. which begins: Commissa nobis divinitus: dated May 8,
1673, whereby these, with many more, (after an accurate examen made of them, by the learned cardinal Bona,) were amply confirmed.
Besides so many indulgences, the See-Apostolic hath granted another favour to the Brothers and Sisters of this Confraternity, which is that they may be absolved once in their life, and also at their death, from all communications, censures and cases, reserved to the Roman bishops, and from others as often as they please, by any Confessor approved by the Ordinary.
Finally, Clement VII. who granted the former privilege to the devouts of the Scapular, hath granted to all persons who shall bestow an alms, though never so small, upon any of our churches, convents or religious, that they be partakers of all the prayers, suffrages, Masses, alms, pilgrimages, and penances, which for that time shall be done throughout the whole church.
Instructions how the Scapular is to be Received, and Worn; and what is required to gain the Privileges annexed to it.
WE having briefly declared the origin of this Confraternity, together with the profits, privileges, and benefits of it, it remains only that we give brief instructions how the Scapular of our blessed Lady of Mount Carmel, which is the badge of the Confraternity is to be received, and what the obligations
are of those that wear it.
Those, therefore, that desire to put themselves under the protection of the most immaculate and ever Virgin Mary, of Mount Carmel, and to enjoy the aforesaid privileges by entering into the Confraternity of the holy Scapular, must first be admitted thereunto by some superior of the Order of Carmelites, or by some other religious of the same Order, that hath commission from the superior to admit persons. The Scapular must be blest and given with the prayers and ceremonies which are designed for that purpose. Also, according to the laudable custom of our holy Order, the names of those that receive the Scapular are to be written down in a book of the Confraternity.
The Scapular must be made of cloth, serge, or other stuff, and not of silk, though it may well be lined with silk, or embroidered with gold and silver. It must be of a brown or tawny colour. The reason of this is, because it is worn in honour of the
blessed Virgin Mary, of whom it is attested by Baronius tom. 1, annal. Carthagena, tom. 2, homil. 4, and by others, that she never wore silk, but woollen, and that of the native colour: so Epiphanius, lib. 2, chap. 23, saith, "the clothes she, (the blessed Virgin,) wore, were of the native colour, which doth appear by the veil of her head." In this, therefore, it is meet, that the devoted children of the blessed Virgin Mary should imitate their good mother.
We said even now, that when any one enters first into the Confraternity it is necessary that the Scapular should be blessed. But if that comes to be lost, or worn out, another may be taken which need not be blessed. The Scapular is to be worn continually, day and night, and never to be put off till death: also it is good to be buried with it. The Brothers and Sisters must wear it about their necks, not in their pockets, or about their girdles, nor folded up in their breasts; for it being a Scapular, it must be worn in form of a Scapular, that is to say, a vest or habit, that hangs over the shoulders. This, and no more is required to be a member of the holy Confraternity of our blessed Lady's Scapular, and to participate with the Order of Mount Carmel, in all the privileges above mentioned, except it be that which we speak of in the 7th chapter. So that to be a member of this Confraternity, it is no way necessary to abstain from flesh on Wednesdays, or to say the office of the blessed Virgin, for this is done to enjoy the privilege of the Sabbatine Bull. Neither is there any obligation at all of saying seven Pater Nosters, and seven Ave Marias, which is only to gain the in indulgence granted by Paul V. But, as I have already said, it sufficeth that the Scapular be received lawfully, and worn devoutly, without any other obligation.
Nevertheless, to be partakers of the privilege which is explained, chap. 7, viz: to be freed out of purgatory on the first Saturday after their death, which is a thing apart, not communicated to any other Order or Confraternity, and called by us, the privilege of the Sabbatine Bull: they must observe what follows.
1st. They must observe chastity, every one according to his condition, which doth not hinder but that they may lawfully marry: but as long as they are not married, to gain this privilege, it is necessary that they preserve themselves from all impurity. If they are married, they are only to observe carefully the fidelity and faith of wedlock. But if they are not engaged in this state, the virgin is obliged to preserve virginity, and the widow continency.
2nd. If they be illiterate persons, who cannot read, they must observe all the Fasts of the church, and abstain from flesh on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the whole year, except the Nativity of our Blessed Saviour happen to fall on one of these days, for then they may eat flesh.
What we have said of those that cannot read, it is also to be understood of those who though they can read, they do not understand the office of the blessed Virgin; and also of all those that cannot perform the said office by reason of their continual occupations, as it happens to many servants, workmen, and others, that have either public or laborious employments to whom the reciting of the divine office is wholly impossible. All these must abstain from flesh on Wednesdays and Saturdays, if they desire to enjoy this privilege of the Sabbatine bull. The reason why we abstain from flesh on Wednesdays is, because on that day our divine Saviour and the only begotten Son of our gracious princess and patroness, was treacherously sold by one of his people for thirty pieces of silver, as St. Clement, Pope, and successor to St. Peter, doth assure us in his Apostolical Institutions, lib, 5. chap, 14. And for this cause in the primitive church, the faithful did fast on Wednesdays, as besides St. Clement Loco citate, many do affirm; Origin, in chap, 10. Levit St. Ignatius, Mart, St. Augustine, Theophilactus, &c. cited by Thomas Serac, part 5, fol. 220.
To accompany the mortifications of our blessed Lady, we mortify ourselves on that day, by abstinence from flesh, relying on the promise of our powerful advocate, that in recompense of this good work, we shall be comforted the first Saturday after our death, with the sweet meat of our eternal glory, at the table of our sweet Saviour and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
But for the better understanding of what we have said concerning abstinence from flesh on Wednesdays and Saturdays, note,
1st. Though any one be obliged to make abstinence on those days by vow, penance, or the like, it will notwithstanding serve to gain the privilege.
2nd. Children that by the devotion of their parents have received the habit, are not obliged to anything until they are seven years old, and yet they may gain the aforesaid privilege.
3rd. Though the church does not oblige persons to fast until they are two-and-twenty years old, yet if they will obtain this privilege, they must begin to observe the fasts of the church before they come to that age.
4th. If any one by sickness, or being with child, or giving suck, &c. cannot observe the fasts of the church, nor obstain from flesh, nevertheless they shall get the said privilege. The same is to be said of the poor who have not wherewithal to buy
things necessary, but must eat what they can get.
If on Wednesday any one be upon a journey, and cannot get any thing but flesh, or if he br invited to a dinner by a friend, or doth work in another man's house, where they all eat of flesh, if he fears to trouble or offend those of the house, he may for that time set his devotion aside, and not therefore lose the privilege. The same I say of those who are subject to another, as wives, children and servants, when the master of the house is not well contented. Hieron. Gratianus is disciplin. Christ. 3, part, chap, 7, ver, 3.
Thus much concerning the obligations of those that cannot read, and nevertheless would enjoy the Sabbatine bull. Now as for those that are well able to read, it is necessary that every day they say the great or little office of our blessed Lady, according to the custom of the holy church, which, if they perform, they may freely eat flesh on Wednesdays, and not be deprived therefore of any grace which the blessed Virgin hath promised to her favourites. Wherefore, it is a manifest error, what some affirm, viz: That whoever does wear the Scapular, is obliged to abstain from flesh on Wednesdays and Saturdays, whereas this obligation is only for them that say not the office of the blessed Virgin, and nevertheless are desirous to enjoy the privileges of being soon freed out of purgatory, as it doth evidently appear by the words of our blessed Lady to John XXII. and related by him in the Sabbatine bull. But concerning the offices of the blessed Virgin, here it is to be observed.
1st. That if any one doth say the office of the breviary, because he is in holy orders, or by reason of some other obligation that is sufficient to gain the Sabbatine privilege, without saying the office of the blessed Virgin. Strat. chap. 12 n 16.
2nd. The office which is said, may be according to any, either Roman, Carmelite, Dominican, or Greek, &c. according to the custom of every one's country or community.
3rd. When there is reasonable cause, it is lawful to change the saying of the offices into abstinence from flesh on Wednesdays and Saturdays, or into any other pious work, with the license of a spiritual father, and if any one happen not to have the convenience of a spiritual father, he may change it himself conformable to what divines do commonly hold concerning the mutation of vows. Lezana in Mariae Patron, cap. 12, n. 24.
4th. If any one can neither say the office of our blessed Lady, nor abstain from flesh, nor do any other work equivalent, by reason of his many employments, sickness, or some other impediments, nevertheless he need not therefore omit to enter into this Confraternity. For, as we have said already, he may gain all the other privileges, only by wearing devoutly the Scapular. It is also very probable, that such a one will not be deprived of the Sabbatine favour, which our blessed Lady seems to insinuate when having assigned the conditions requisite for the gaining of it, she added these words: "If they be not hindered by some lawful cause." Thomas, a Jesu. lib. 2, Confrat. Carm. Theo. Strat, cap. 12, n. 19.
5th. If any one voluntarily and without cause at all, but merely through negligence, or human frailty, should omit the office of our blessed Lady, or eat flesh, or should chance to fall into some impurity,
with condition they rise again, and purpose for the future to observe all that is required, they will not be deprived of this privilege.
6th. Finally, concerning whatever we have said in this chapter it is to be noticed, that none of the conditions assigned, do oblige under sin, either moral or venial. It is true, those that omit the divine office, or commit any unchaste action, may by reason of some other obligation, offend God; but the fault is not any way aggravated because they are of the Scapular; for neither the blessed Virgin Mary, nor the sovereign bishops of Rome, nor the prelates of the Order of Mount Carmel, did ever impose any obligations upon the devouts of the holy Scapular, under pain of sin.
By what hath been hitherto said, the judicious reader may easily conclude what is to be said, both concerning the antiquity of the order of the blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, and also concerning the first institution, and excellency of the famous Confraternity of the most holy Scapular. Likewise, the brothers and sisters of this Confraternity, will find here sufficient instructions how they are to behave themselves, and what: privilege or graces they may enjoy at present, and hope for hereafter, which is the end of this short treatise.
Wherefore, I will conclude with what is related 4 Kings, 5, 13. where Naaman the Syrian, who was infected with leprosy, was told by Eliseus the prophet, Go and wash in Jordan seven times and thou shalt be clean. But he contemning to follow this advice, as a thing that would not at all avail him, was emphatically exhorted thereto by his servant in this manner: If the prophet had bid thee do some great things thou oughtest to have done it; how much rather then, when he saith to thee, wash, and be clean. I say the same at present concerning the sacred habit of the Scapular. If our blessed Lady had bid us do some great thing, we ought to do it; how much rather then when she saith :
Wear my livery and you shall not suffer eternal fire. If she had enjoined us to make great abstinences; to undergo some rigorous mortification, or to undertake a long and tedious pilgrimage, with this Condition, that we should be freed from eternal damnation; from the torments of purgatory, and from many dangerous events which easily do befall us in this life; right reason would dictate to, us, that we ought to attempt any thing for the obtaining of so great a good; how much more then, when she hath annexed these and many other extraordinary graces, to the reception only and devout wearing of her holy habit of the Scapular, with a final confidence in her powerful protection: but you will perhaps, with Naaman, object, what can such a weak thing avail us, as the Scapular is. To this I answer, with the Apostles, 1, Corinth. 1, 27. " The weak things of this world hath God chosen, that he might confound the strong." He that made choice of the weak element of water to wash us from original sin, which is so deeply indicated in, us by the prevarication of our first father Adam, hath made use of the weak habit of the Scapular, to produce those excellent effects which are mentioned in the chapter following.
It is no new thing to Almighty God to concur with the clothes and garments of saints, in order to the effecting of prodigious things. The mantle of our holy patriarch St. Elias, divided twice the water of Jordan. 4 Kings 2. The shadow of St. Peter did cure all diseases. Acts 5, 16. The handkerchiefs and napkins of Saint Paul did drive away evil spirits, und heal all sorts of infirmities, Acts 19, 12. Nevertheless, our Saviour did never so frequently concur with the relics of any saint, to the effecting of such like things as he hath done with the sacred habit of his Virgin Mother, which he seems to have made choice of, that he may thereby demonstrate to the world, both the efficaciousness of her intercession, and the height of her merits and glory. For during these four hundred years, ever since the time of St. Simon Stock, most miraculous and extraordinary things have been, and daily are done throughout the whole Christian world, by the intercession of the most blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, and by means of her sacred Scapular. Wherefore, courteous reader, seeing thou hast at hand so easy and efficacious a way of promoting both thy spiritual and temporal good, thou wilt, if thou art wise, procure forthwith to make use of it. If thou dost not, it cannot be attributed but to thy negligence of that important affair of thy salvation, which thou oughtest principally to mind; and if thou comest at last miserably to lose thyself, Almighty God will have just cause to object against thee what he objected against the Israelites. Osea 14, 9. Thy perdition is from thyself.
A Relation of some notable Miracles, &c.
THE last privilege of those who are enrolled in the Confraternity of the sacred Scapular, is contained in these words of our blessed Lady to St. Simon Stock, Ecce signum salutis, salus in periculis, and it is a perpetual safeguard from all manner of perils, as well by sea as by land; a protection and defence against fire, thunder and lightning; many tempests have been appeased by the Scapular; many fires have been quenched; many sorts of infirmities have been cured; grievous contagions have been overcome; the devils have been put to flight; and it is the most speedy and efficacious remedy against witchcrafts, fascinations, and enchantments, that can be found. All this may be manifested by several examples, whereof I will briefly relate some.
In the city of Avignon in France, Anno Domini 1622, a person of honour named Alexander Dominic, a native of Lyons, and a soldier by profession, going to the army, remained there to do his devotions, and to celebrate, before his departure, the feast of the Scapular, with the other members of the Confraternity. On the 11th of July, six days before the said feast, as he was going out of the bath, he met with a certain enemy of his, who saluted him with a pistol loaded with two bullets, and having made the discharge of it just at his breast, he withdrew himself. This poor man thinking himself to be killed, had recourse to the patroness of the Confraternity, crying out, "O blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel assist me!" a strange thing; he had no sooner pronounced these words, but he felt the two bullets fall down into his breeches; and being carried home to his lodging, it was perceived that his cloak was burned, and that the bullets had passed through his doublet and shirt, and had left their marks upon the holy Scapular, which he wore next to his skin, without any hurt to his person.
In the year 1633, near Cracovia in Poland, a young man, who, a little before had received the holy Scapular in the convent of the Carmelites of the said city, received in a battle a musket shot upon his breast, but the bullet passing through his breast-piece and clothes, rested at his Scapular, and did no more hurt, but left little spot upon the holy habit.
Monsieur DeCuge, cornet of a company of horse, was wounded at Tesin fight in the year 1636, by a cannon bullet, which passing through his left side, bruised his very heart to pieces, so that naturally he could not live a moment; nevertheless, he being in mortal sin, as he afterwards declared, God Almighty, by the intercession of the glorious Virgin, gave him space to repent, and prolonged his life for three or four hours, during which time he made his confession, and with his own hands wrote his last will and testament, which being done, the surgeon came to search his wounds, and found that the bullet had thrust the Scapular into his heart; which being drawn out, he presently expired, making many acts of profound gratitude towards the sacred Virgin, who, prolonging miraculously his life had preserved him from eternal death.
At the rencounter which happened betwixt the French and the Spaniards, at the isle of St. Margarite, a young man of Toulon, named George Teissery, approached so near the cannons, that he had all his clothes, even his shirt, burnt off from his body, and by the force of the blows he was cast at a great distance into the sea, where, though deprived the use of his senses, he remained a long while on the top of the water; at last returning to himself, and remembering that he was of the Scapular, he invoked the immaculate Virgin Mary, by whose means he regained force to save himself; and being out of the sea, he found that the Scapular was entire on him, without being any way touched either by the fire or water.
Anno Domini 1638, at the city of Toulon in France, the fire began in a street near to the house of Mr. John Richard, advocate of parliament, whose wife seeing that neither the multitude of the people that were there, nor the abundance of water that they threw on it, was able to quench it; she bethought herself in this extremity of danger, to throw the habit of the most sacred Virgin into the midst of the flames, which she had no sooner done, but presently the fire ceased.
At Padua in Italy, a young man being in despair, stabbed himself upon the breast three times with a poinard, without being able to execute his design; wherefore, perceiving that our blessed Lady would not have him perish that wore her livery, was penitent and confessed his crime. P. Cyprianua in
Thaufre, carm. cap, 12.
If the pious reader desires to know more of them, he may repair to greater volumes, which treat of this matter. Amongst others Lezana de Patron, Maria chap, 5 and 9, and Theophilus Raymundus of the Society of Jesus, in his Scapul. Carthag. Carm. chap. 6, hath many examples of those that had been freed from devils, from fire, water, wild beasts, sickness, witchcrafts, danger in childbed, from pistol-shots, and from many other ill accidents, by means of the Scapular. But the forementioned may suffice to convince us with how much reason Laurentius a sancto victore had said, happy are they that are clothed with the habit and mantle of the most blessed Virgin. And so I conclude this devout treatise, which I dedicate to the glory of God.