Saturday, 23 August 2014

The United Scapulars of Carmel and Saint Joseph


(1 Kings 19:19)
The Scapular Devotion has its origins in the paternal blessing of the cloak.  This is the foundational truth behind the scapular devotion.  The scapular is usually the miniature habit of an Order of the Church.  The brown scapular e.g. is the miniature version of the large scapular of the Carmelites, worn over their habit to protect it from soiling during work. Gifted in the 13th century to accommodate the large numbers who wanted affiliation with the Carmelite monasteries it has grown in the Church to become, after the blessing of a priest, the most highly indulgenced sacramental of the Church and recommended to be worn by all who aspire to be for their Mother, “Totus tuus, ego sum” – like Saint Pope John Paul II.  This habit when blest is thereby impregnated with Her Spirit.  So when we kiss our scapular with faith and love we are, in a certain sense, kissing Her and invoking Her Spirit, even as the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment with faith, invoked His Spirit and through It’s Power was healed.  When the Spirit of Her Carmelite charism is truly lived then the fullness of Her virtues envelope us and we become Her true children.  Likewise the paternal spirit of Abba Joseph envelops us when we wear his scapular and live its spirit.

PATERNAL INHERITANCE OF THE CLOAK:  Elijah, the wonderful prophet of Old Testament fame, showed the power of God on Mt Carmel to the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah.  After exposing their lies and impotence, he annihilated them all to prove that there is but one God and He alone is “the Truth, the Way and the Life”. This story also shows how when one is not afraid to speak the truth and challenge those who distort the truth, that God gives that person the strength and power of His own Spirit.  This prophet is the patron of all who follow his way of intimacy with the Lord and, through prayer and fasting, become spiritual warriors for the Truth.    Now Elijah had a spiritual son (disciple), Elisha!  Elisha asked his master could he have a double portion of his spirit when he died.  Elijah told him he had asked something very difficult, but he would pray to discover God’s Will in the matter. When, at the end of Elijah’s life on earth, he was drawn into heaven in a fiery chariot, he dropped his cloak to his disciple as the symbol that his prayer had been answered, because Elisha was permitted by God to witness his assumption. 
We see here that the spiritual father showed his favor by passing on his cloak to his spiritual child, and, more importantly that a double portion of the spirit of the father is impregnated into the cloak. (1 Kings 19:19) 
In the case of Jesus, this reminds us of the faith of the woman who said, “If I can but touch the hem of his garment, I will be healed.”  Though Jesus had many people jostling around Him for attention, and was being touched by many, He felt this woman’s touch in a particular manner, because it was impregnated with faith. “Who touched Me?” He cried, “For I felt Power go out of Me.”  Now, Jesus is teaching us here an astounding fact that even the garments that clothed Him and are in contact with His Sacred Body are impregnated with the Spiritual Power of His Divine Humanity.  He is saying that His Cloak, when touched with faith, will impart His healing power.  As our scapulars are the ‘cloak’ of the charism of the one they represent, when we kiss them or touch them with faith we invoke the grace of the persons they signify – namely Mary and Joseph, from whose Virginal Nuptial Union “all holiness spreads throughout the earth.”  (Custodian of the Redeemer, JP II – para 7)

Israel loved Joseph more than he loved his other sons – for he was the son of his old age, and he had a long sleeved coat made for him.  But his brothers, seeing how his father loved him more than all his other sons, came to hate him so much that they could not say a civil word to him.”  (Genesis 37:3)

The Scapular of St Joseph originated in the diocese of St Claude, France, in the year 1880, being introduced to the faithful by a Franciscan nun, flourishing in the evidence of many miraculous healings.  On August 23rd, 1883, at the solicitation of the Procurator General of the Capuchin Franciscan Order, it received also the approbation of Pope Leo XIII and was enriched with many blessings.  Its propagation was stipulated by the Pope to be the special privilege of the Capuchin Franciscans.  Permission was also given to join this scapular to the Scapular of Our Lady of Mt Carmel as long as the cords were white and the scapulars were only joined on the top. The colors of this scapular of St Joseph are also very significant to the spirit they imply and its introduction to the Church on the threshold of the 20th century indicates the desire of God for the faithful to demonstrate their dedication to Saint Joseph in a more visible and specific manner. 
“Whoever hears you, hears Me!” Jesus said of His apostles.  Should we therefore reject these simple yet efficacious means of sanctification offered us by God through His Church, we make our journey to sanctification that much the harder, without the blessed protective mantle of our Mother and cloak of our father Joseph.

Once again the wool scapular represents the protective fleece of the Lamb of God and its purple color signifies the Royalty of His House, in the line of David from which He, His father Joseph and Mother Mary are descended and to whom ‘the entire heritage of the Old Covenant’ is given. (Redemptoris Custos by St Pope John Paul II)  The colour purple signifies the Kingship of Christ over souls and the Kingship He shares above all with His Mother and father, the first fruits of His Redemptive Fiat.  These three Virgins form the Order of the Hypostatic Union, the highest Order of all orders, since “All the other orders, comprising even the angelic, are subordinate and subject to it; for this reason, that Jesus is the beginning, the author, and the Head of this Order and on Jesus, as Sovereign Prince, depends every hierarchy, every sacred princedom in Heaven and on earth …” (Chapter 1 “The Life and Glories of Saint Joseph” by Edward Healy Thompson M.A.) 

As Joseph of Old was designated Administrator of the Kingdom of Pharaoh, our Abba Joseph is given by God the Father his vocation to be Head of the Holy Family, whose directions both Jesus and Mary obeyed.  In such a reflection we see the colour purple as signifying the Humility of Jesus and Mary and the Virtue so prized by Them.  The night before Jesus died He gave the apostles His great lesson on humility, ‘washing their feet’ and said, ‘I stand among you as one who serves’.  Then deepening His lesson He scandalizes them even more by submitting to a horrible torturous death as a criminal.  The mock cloak put on Him then was of the colour purple to signify the humility required by us in order to enter His Kingdom.

signifies Abba Joseph’s Justice, Sanctity and Love, ‘purified in the furnace of humiliations’ and trials of all kinds in which the ‘gold’ of his Love for Jesus and Mary shines resplendently.   It also signifies his authority as Head of the Holy Family - the Trinitarian Love enfleshed. “In this way eschatological reality will become the source of the perfect realization of the ‘Trinitarian Order’ in the created world of persons”.  (The Theology of the Body – Pope John Paul II)   It is the gold of goodness in a true father and spouse who enriches his wife and child with all that he has, all that he does and all who he is: “the nuptial gift of himself.” (ibid)  
Jesus said, “I do all that I see my Father doing” – meaning not only His Eternal Father but his earthly father Joseph, whose ‘golden’ example of paternal and spousal Love nourished Jesus in His Humanity to grow to His Manhood in the “fullness of wisdom, stature, grace and favor with God and man”.  Such a father we all hunger for.  Such a father, from Heaven, is now available to us all, for we are all in Christ and He is in us, the Son Who ever honors His Father.
signifies the purity of Heart, Mind, Soul and Body of Abba Joseph as the only one worthy to marry The Immaculate Conception and the only one worthy to father God, The Divine Innocence.  His chastity defies all description.  He was not less of a man but more alike to his Son and his Spouse than any man who lived.  By the absence of lust, greed and concupiscence in him, he is the man who can be trusted with the most delicate secrets and divine treasures.  He is the man who can be trusted with the secrets of the Incarnation Mystery, the Word made Flesh Himself and His Mother Mary.  He is ‘the veil’ that is drawn over the ‘holy of holies’ to obscure it from the profane eyes of the world.  St Joseph is truly ‘pure of heart’ and received what Jesus promised to the pure of heart - he sees God in the reality of His Divine Humanity.  The cords which unite the two scapulars the Church designates must be white; and this is most important as the cords of love between Mary and Joseph are what bring about Their Nuptial Unity – Nuptials which are Virgin.  The original meaning of the word ‘virgin’ is one who is wholly integrated in her/his parts.  There is no divorce in Them between God and Man, Spirit and matter, Soul and body, Heaven and earth, man and woman, spirituality and sexuality.  In Joseph and Mary all these ‘divorces’ were healed and God once again found a home on earth He could dwell in – a new Garden of Eden – Pure, Integrated, Virgin.   Our Abba may well instruct us with these words of the Holy Spirit,
Give your shoulder to Her Yoke
My child, from your earliest years choose instruction

And till your hair is white you will keep finding wisdom

Cultivate Her like the ploughman and the sower

And wait for her fine harvest

For in tilling Her you will toil only a little while, but very soon you will be eating Her crops.

How very harsh she is to the undisciplined

She is not accessible to many.

Listen, son, and take my warning, do not reject my advice. 

Put your feet into Her fetters!

Your neck into Her harness!

Give your shoulder to Her yoke!

Do not be restive in Her reins!

Court Her with all your soul and

With all your might keep Her ways!

Go after Her and seek Her!

She will reveal Herself to you!

Once you hold Her do not let Her go!

For in the end you will find rest in Her

And She will take the form of Joy for you.

Her fetters you will find are a strong defence.

Her harness, a robe of honor.

Her yoke will be a golden ornament.

Her reins, purple ribbons.

You will wear Her like a robe of honor.

You will put Her on like a crown of honor.

The Scapular of Saint Joseph – His Cloak.  It is the symbol of his cloak, impregnated with the power of his paternal blessing, a blessing of the father of the Order of the Hypostatic Union (The Holy Family) which the Church ratified at the Council of Constance as the Highest Order of all the Orders of the Church whether human or angelic and cannot be superseded.  In fact it is THE ORDER from which all the other Orders have sprung as little children from their parents.  In respect of the Guardian Patriarch of the Church, Saint Joseph excels all the patriarchs before him in the Old Testament and all the apostles after him as the new patriarchs of the Church. 
    1.    Abba Joseph excels Enoch in his purity of soul that won for Enoch the blessing of bodily assumption – our Abba Joseph was first to be taken to heaven by Jesus at His Ascension to the Father’s embrace, ahead of all the other saints.
    2.  Abba Joseph excels Noah because, while Noah made an ark of wood through faith in the promises of the Lord, Joseph ‘made a roof for the Ark of Mary by providing Her with shelter from the assaults and intrusions of a degraded humanity.  While Noah, despite numerous humiliations and ridicule, kept faith with the building of the Ark and guided two of each kind of animal on board, Joseph guides aboard the Living Ark of Flesh, Mary all those the Lord appoints as worthy to enter Her for the sake of their salvation.  The ‘door high up on the side’ through which all entered the Ark of wood symbolizes the open door of Mary’s Immaculate Heart through which all enter the kingdom of Heaven; and above all the pierced Heart of Jesus from which all Mercy flows. Joseph is thereby the custodian of the New Ark, Mary, who saves us from the flood of Justice and brings us to sail on the Seas of Her Son’s Divine Mercy and Compassion.
    3. Abba Joseph excels the patriarch Abraham, who was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac, by offering his beloved Son, Jesus, as ‘the Sacrifice that takes away our sins’, when he presents his Beloved Son to the knife of Circumcision and with Mary offers Him as the Sacrificial Lamb, being first to pronounce the Sacred Name of Jesus, meaning ‘God saves.
    4.  Abba Joseph excels Moses in that love and intimate conversation with the Lord that enveloped him with the Shekinah, requiring that he veil his face from the eyes of men.  And as custodian of the Ark of gold Moses is excelled by Saint Joseph who is the Guardian of the Living Ark of Flesh, Who bears the Word made Flesh inside Her rather than the Law on tablets of stone.  Like Moses, Joseph saw the face of God yet lived and, like Moses, had to ‘veil’ his own face (conceal his identity) in order to hide the evidence of many mysteries.  This is the reason for his silence and hiddenness.
    5.  Abba Joseph excels Joseph of Genesis, son of Jacob, in that he, also, rejected by his brothers, is forced to live in Egypt among a people whose ways are foreign to him, but survives none the less, preserving the Bread of Life, so as to feed those starving for the spiritual nourishment of the Word of the Father.  As Joseph of Genesis is appointed by Pharaoh as custodian of the wealth of the whole land, our Joseph is appointed by God the Father as custodian of the Treasures of Heaven - Jesus and Mary - and placed in authority over them.  It is he also who, like Joseph of Old, will negotiate the reconciliation of his brothers with their Father.  It is he who weeps as Joseph of Old wept to see his brothers unable to recognize him and thereby access his power.  It is he who weeps for every soul separated from God and every family that is divided.   (Genesis 42 to 46)
    6.  Abba Joseph excels the Apostles, Martyrs and Saints of the New Testament for while they are appointed as custodians of the Sacramental Life of the Church and Its Mission, Joseph was appointed Father of the Living Substance of that Life – Jesus Himself and as Virgin Spouse of Mary, the Immaculate Spouse of God and embodiment of the Church – Joseph being her true and virgin husband is the exemplar for all priests of the Church.  It is obvious he excels them because his very office is higher than theirs as father of Jesus, the Living Word made Flesh and Guardian of Mary, “the Virgin made Church” and true tabernacle of the Lord.
For these reasons and many more our dear Abba’s glories will be seen and exalted in the Church at the end of Time in order that the Cloak of his obedience to the Will of the Eternal Father may spread its mantle over the whole world.  Pope John Paul II in “Guardian of the Redeemer”, says,
This just man, who bore within himself the entire heritage of the Old Covenant, was also brought into the ‘beginning’ of the New and Eternal Covenant in Jesus Christ.  May he show us the paths of this saving Covenant as we stand at the threshold of the next millennium, in which there must be a continuation and further development of the ‘fullness of time’ that belongs to the ineffable mystery of the Incarnation of the Word.
It is in this light that the Holy Spirit saw fit to introduce into the Church in the in the year 1880, on the threshold of the 20th century, the scapular of Saint Joseph through a Franciscan nun of the diocese of St Claude, France; who had it made and wearing it invoking St Joseph was miraculously cured. We may well see it as the sacramental representing his holy Cloak.  The holy Cloak of Saint Joseph many times provided warmth and shelter for Jesus and Mary on the arduous journeys when they had often to sleep under the stars.  This Cloak, so sacred to Jesus and Mary because it was Their shelter when they had none, has now found, in his scapular, the form by which Joseph may cloak all of his children against Satan’s buffeting, since it bears the blessing of the Church through Her Popes, Cardinals and Bishops and especially, Pope Leo XIII.  Pope Leo gave his approval on August 23, 1883 with authority to invest in this scapular to the Capuchin Order of St Francis - by a singular privilege,.  Bearing in mind the Holy Father’s words above, we may see that investiture in the Scapular of Saint Joseph cloaks us with all that it represents.
It is the Cloak of the one God chose to father Jesus and therefore is embedded with ‘the whole heritage of the Old Covenant’ as well as the New and Eternal Covenant in Christ.  It is the Cloak of inheritance because it is the Cloak of the legal father of Christ, the head of the Order of the Hypostatic Union.
The Scapular of Carmel, was given by Our Lady Herself to Saint Simon Stock and was woven on the ‘looms’ of Heaven by Her holy hands.  As She Herself wove the clothing of Jesus and Abba Joseph and impregnated every stitch and thread with the Ardors of Her Immaculate Heart, She impregnates also this mantle of Her Love for us with the same Divine Power.  Our scapulars when blest by the priest take on this same Divine Power!  Indeed it is a triple blessing we receive as we wear and kiss them – the blessing of Jesus, Mary and Joseph - the blessing of the Order of the Hypostatic Union which is the House of the Divine Will.  For, in the blessing of the priest who invests us is Jesus’ own blessing, and then each scapular enfolds the blessings of Mary and Joseph.  As Joseph’s labors procured all the materials for holy Mother to weave and sew the garments for Jesus which clothes His Divine Humanity, he procures still for Her, all the provisions for Her children still on earth.  (See the prophecy made to St Teresa of Avila at the end of this book.)
The color brown which was chosen by the Divine Will is notably the color most associated with Abba Joseph, the greatest servant of Jesus and Mary. It is a humble color which symbolizes the earth from which Adam was formed - ‘Remember man that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.’   In such a way we are reminded of our humble origins and also of the humble earth upon which we walk and which gives nourishment to the crops that feed us, and the beauties of nature that heal and refresh us.  Our humble Mother chose well the color brown.  She wanted to honor the humility and renunciation of Her children who came from their hermitages on Mount Carmel where they had dug out their caves in the walls of the mountain to enter ‘the darkness of God’ and pray for their brothers and sisters.  They followed in the footsteps of their ‘father’ Elijah, who on this mountain dispelled all the false gods and prophets of his time.  In this humble color “brown” is all the significance of these cave dwellers and a call from our Mother to remember our lives are to be ones of prayer, penance and service, all done in the Spirit of humility and renunciation of worldly pursuits.  These first Christian contemplatives were instructed by our heavenly Mother Herself, as the Mother and Teacher of the infant church.
Naturally then, She claimed as Her own this first monastic order and we, who gladly wrap ourselves in Her mantle, are reminded continually of the first servant of Jesus and Mary, Joseph, with whom the color brown is most usually associated.  We know, through Saint Teresa of Avila, that St Joseph is the Guardian of all her Carmels and guardian of that contemplative charism which she nurtured into renewal that is ‘the Heart’ of the Church – even as Mary is the ‘Heart of the Church’, being It’s Mother.  Mother, enrich us with Your Holy Spirit.  Abba pour forth your paternal love on us all.   Fiat!

The Brown Scapular of Our Mother is integral to the spirit of Saint Joseph, which is Consecration to Mary clothing ourselves in Jesus own ‘swaddling clothes’, the Divine Will.   It is to cloak ourselves in His Acts for the sake of all and His most sublime Act of Humility in entrusting His vulnerable little self to His creatures Mary and Joseph calling them Mother and Father.
“The Marriage of Mary and Joseph
brings to realization in full freedom
the “Spousal Gift of Self”
Joseph and Mary are the summit
from which Holiness spreads all over the earth”

Pope John Paul II – “Guardian of the Redeemer”  
para  7 quoting Pope Paul VI
“She it was I loved and
searched for from my youth. 
I resolved to have Her as my Bride. 
I fell in love with her Beauty.”

(Wisdom 8:1)
The one who served Her more devoutly than any other, of course, was Saint Joseph, who is the patron saint of Carmel and of the founder of Carmel’s reform, Saint Teresa of Avila.  The story at the end of this article will demonstrate how it is God’s Will that all souls devoted to Mary, should also be consecrated to Saint Joseph, as the one who best models for us how to be a true child of Mary.  For, indeed, there was no other soul more truly consecrated to Mary than Saint Joseph.  And no one can teach us better how to live out our life of consecration to Her and in Her better than he, except Jesus.
“From Her blossoming to the ripening of Her grape my heart has taken its delight in Her … I have been following Her steps ever since my youth.  By bowing my ear a little I have received Her and have found much instruction.  Thanks to Her I have advanced.  All glory be to Him who has given me Wisdom … My soul has fought to possess Her.  I have been scrupulous in keeping the Law.  I have stretched out my hands to Heaven and bewailed my ignorance of Her.  I have directed my soul towards Her and in Purity have found Her; having my heart fixed on Her from the outset, I shall never be deserted; my very core having yearned to discover Her I have now acquired a good possession.  In reward the Lord has given me a tongue with which I shall sing his praises. 

(Ecclesiasticus 13)

We cannot hope to write here all the wonders of the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, woven on the looms of Heaven, and given to Her beloved son, St Simon Stock in the year 1251 with the promise, The soul who dies clothed in this scapular shall not suffer eternal flames.  As an habitual sinner would not persevere in the wearing of the scapular, we can be sure this promise is only fulfilled in those who persevere in devotion to their Eternal Mother, by filial consecration, that is a daily love and imitation of Mary - entering Her Acts to live them in union with Her, like Saint Joseph.  In addition the “Sabbatine privilege” is traditionally believed to have been given by Pope John XXII on 3rd March, 1322, which promises us that we shall be delivered from Purgatory the First Saturday after we die, if we persevere in this devotion.  When this privilege was questioned Pope Paul VI made an official statement saying, “It is permitted to preach … that the Blessed Virgin will aid the souls of the Brothers and Sisters of the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel after their death by Her continual intercession, by Her suffrages and merits and by Her special protection, especially on the day of Saturday, which is the day especially dedicated by the Church to the same Blessed Virgin Mary.”
1.    Wear the Scapular faithfully around one’s neck, as with the larger scapular of the Carmelites, which serves to cover and protect their habit from getting dirty during their daily labours.  Our scapular habit is to remind us to “pray continuously” to protect our souls from the infection of worldliness and attachments that would turn us away from Christ, our Beloved Lord and our beloved Mother.
2.    Observe Chastity according to one’s state of life.  Only through deep prayer bringing us to union with our Immaculate Mother can we ever hope to understand the beauty of this Chastity, which prepares us to be the ‘bride’ of Christ, dressed for our heavenly wedding.
3.    Recite daily the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, which may be substituted by those who cannot do this with fasting on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  And if the Office is too difficult, any priest with the faculty to enroll in the Scapular may change it for something else.  The usual commutation is the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be, etc., seven times each day or the recitation of the Holy Rosary. (These are the 3 requirements)
4.    Needless to say one should wear one’s scapular or scapulars with reverence, kissing them as often as possible, as this has been given a special indulgence from the Pope.  In doing this it is as if we are kissing our Mother and for St Joseph’s scapular, our Abba – even as Jesus would have done frequently in His home life on earth.  Being clothed as He was by Holy Mother's hands and the paternal labours of St Joseph, we too wish to be clothed in their virtues which pleased the Blessed Trinity more than any other; above all we want to be clothed in the Light of Their Acts done in the Divine Will as they did them in union with Jesus.
5.    We also wish to imitate Her maternal love for Jesus and Abba Joseph's paternal love for Jesus and not forget that he is the one chosen to protect and nurture us with all that we need for our earthly pilgrimage – even as he did for Jesus and Mary. Dear Abba protect us, love us, nourish us with the Divine Will always.
This is the greatest of all the benefits of the Scapular Devotion, excepting the essential benefit of the close bond which the Scapular devotion creates between our hearts and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.   Remember that Saint Therese said, “It is possible through the scapular for two to become one soul.”  If this be so, we become one soul with Our Mother even as did Abba Joseph through this Virginal Fiat of Love with Her.
Many saints, Popes and theologians have strongly declared their acceptance of the Scapular Devotion:  Saints Robert Bellarmine, John Eudes, Peter Claver, Alphonsus Ligouri, John Vianney, John Bosco, Popes Gregory X, Leo XIII, Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI, Pius XII, Paul VI and the great Saint Pope John Paul II whose motto for his papacy was “Totus Tuus ego sum”.  Of course all the seers of Our Mother’s special apparitions, among whom are Saint Bernadette, Jacinta, Francesco and Lucia – the holy Martin family of the great Saint Therese of Lisieux – not to forget the great Saint Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross and all the Carmelite saints.  We ask all these wonderful saints including the great St Elijah to cloak us in the mantle of the Divine Will as we continue with our baby steps to do our rounds in It.  May they intercede to increase the numbers of souls who will consecrate themselves to Mary and Joseph in the Spirit of the Child Jesus and His Divine Love for His parents.


The great Saint Augustine, doctor of the Church spoke wonderful words regarding the Marriage of Mary and Joseph and in particular the power of Joseph's 'Fiat' so rarely considered.

"St Augustine believed that because of the sublimity of the Marriage which united Mary and St Joseph, the Holy Spirit made their Virginity produce a single moral entity, and, of their individual Persons, a single moral Person, based upon their individually perfect virginities, and that Jesus was, therefore, given to BOTH of them though Mary conceived and generated Jesus from her Virginal state, it was nevertheless under the circumstances, only thanks to Joseph that it was possible for Him to be born."  (St Augustine's Sermon 51 de Concord - mat et Luc - Chapter 20 n. 30)

"In view of the uniqueness of the Mystery of the Incarnation it is easily forgotten that there was here a superior and transcendent fecundity with which the Holy Spirit blessed St Joseph because of the latter's admirable virginity."

"Joseph's Fatherhood is Virginal just as Mary's Motherhood is Virginal - and finally he (St Augustine) goes on to say that he was more definitely a father as he was a chaste father." (Serm 51., Chap 16, 20)

"Therewith Jesus filled Joseph's heart with paternal Love so that from the depths of His otherwise tranquil soul there now bust forth an ocean of most tender and humble love, a Love like that of the Heavenly Father."