Brown Scapular Page
Taken from MARY IN HER SCAPULAR PROMISE
by John Haffert
with Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat, 1942
DOWN IN the hills at the foot of Carmel, the unrecognized Queen of the
Universe hastened to the home of Her cousin, Elizabeth, whom She knew
--- by a messenger from Her Royal Consort --- to be with child. When
She entered Her cousin's home, Saint Elizabeth did not know how to
thank Her and, filled with humility, burst forth in the exclamation:
"And whence is this to me that the Mother of My Lord should visit me?"
(Luke, 1, 32).
"But how could this be?" asks a Doctor of the Church. "Did not Saint
Elizabeth already know that not only Mary, but also Jesus had entered
her house? Why then does she say that she is unworthy to receive the
Mother and not, rather, that she is unworthy to receive the Son, Who
had come to visit her? Ah, yes, it is because the Saint knew full well
that when Mary comes She brings Jesus, and therefore it was sufficient
to thank the Mother without naming the Son." [l]
And so, too, when Our Lady visited this vale of tears with an assurance
of salvation, She brought Salvation with Her. As formerly She had
"contained Christ as manna in the ark of Her womb, and brought Him
forth to be the Food and Salvation of the world," (C. a Lapide),  so in giving Herself to us in the Scapular She wills
to give us the Food of Angels.
In the days of prophecy, Saint Elias saw a cloud appear over Mount
Carmel, foot-shaped. It was a vision of Her who was to arise immaculate
from the sea of human-kind and to crush Satan beneath Her heel, as She
brought forth the Salvation of the world. It is traditional that Elias
founded the family of Carmel for Her. But after he had beheld this
prophetical vision of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, he went down into the
desert and there he partook of another mystery, that of the Holy Eucharist.
He had fled to the desert because he feared the wrath of the wicked
Queen Jezabel, whose false prophets he had slain on Mount Carmel. He
sat heavily beneath a juniper tree and begged God to take away his soul.
Instead, an Angel came and fed him a piece of bread. In the
strength of that bread, the prophet walked for forty days. The Fathers
of the Church interpret it as a prophetical symbol of the Eucharist.
"Now, if the bread given under the juniper tree and ministered by an
Angel is a type of the Holy Eucharist," asks the Scriptural
commentator, Sylveira, "why, indeed, was not that bread which Angels
ministered to Elias at Carith a foreshadow of the Eucharist? Or why
should not the bread given by Divine Power in the house of the widow of
Sareptha obtain this great honor? I answer that this bread given under
the juniper has been so greatly sublimated because Elias came to the
juniper from Mount Carmel where he had seen, in a small cloud, the
Immaculate Queen of Heaven whom he had thereupon loved and
whole-heartedly venerated. From this apparition and veneration he had
disposed himself to partake, in type and figure, of such an ineffable
mystery as the Eucharist." 
Although it may sound simply like a play on words, it is true that when
we go to Mary in the Scapular we go to Jesus in the Eucharist. Father
Faber says,: "In the devout life, it is almost the same thing to say of
a man that he has a great devotion to Our Blessed Lady or that he has a
great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament." 
The whole meaning of Our Lady, the whole meaning of any gesture on Her
part to assure our salvation, is to be found in the thirst of the
Sacred Heart for love. This is as true as the fact that a bridge
derives its whole meaning from the banks which it joins. Mary has but
one desire, a desire born at the foot of the Cross: to see resound from
pole to pole the one cry, "Praise be to the Divine Heart of Jesus!"
When She comes to this vale of tears with a Sign of Salvation, She does
not come to answer only in part that rending cry of thirst, which
quivered into Her heart from the parched lips of Her dying Son. His
Sacred Heart rests the world over, motionlessly pulsating in powerless
omnipotence behind the doors of tabernacles constructed by human hands.
Hence, when Mary comes to us making a promise of Salvation, bearing the
Child Jesus on Her arm, whither does She intend to turn our hearts?
What means of salvation would this Blessed Mother impart to us other
than a share in Her own deep love for the Sacred Heart?
Once while Saint Gertrude was reciting the Salve Regina.. Our Lady
appeared with the Infant Jesus on Her arm. Just as Saint Gertrude said:
"Turn thine eyes of mercy towards us," Mary pointed to the eyes of Her
Divine Son and said: "These are the most compassionate eyes that I can
turn for their salvation towards all who call upon me." 
Those who enter the Scapular Devotion, in the manner about to be
described, will surely feel an attraction to the tabernacle. Our Mother
has instituted an easy yet perfect devotion to Herself because She
knows full well that God has made Her the perfect way to Him; She knows
that where there is devotion to Her, there will soon be devotion to
that unsoundable Heart which is cached under the. wafer-species in
order to join and love --- inflame all human hearts.
In the Glories of Mary.. the reader is reminded of a vision recounted
in the Franciscan Chronicles in which Brother Leo saw a red ladder, on
the summit of which was the Son of God, and a white one, on the top of
which was His most holy Mother. He saw some who tried to ascend the red
ladder and, mounting a few steps, fell. They tried again, and again
fell. They were then advised to try the white ladder, and by that one
they easily ascended, for Our Blessed Lady stretched out Her hand and
helped them.  This vision, which of course cannot
mean that Mary is a greater aid to Heaven than Our Lord, does indicate
that Our Lord gave His Mother to us that we might have an easy and
secure way of climbing to Him. Blessed Grignion de Montfort says:
"There is not anything which makes devotion to Mary more necessary to
us than that it is the WA. Y OF FINDING JESUS PERFECTLY, of loving Him
tenderly, and of serving Him faithfully." 
At once this opens to us a new appreciation of that perfect devotion
which Mary instituted by a Promise. When Blessed Angela of Arena was
hesitating about her vocation, she also had a vision of a ladder to
Heaven: two saints appeared to her and said that if she wished to
ascend that ladder, she should take the Habit of Mary, the Scapular. 
For, in the Scapular, Mary has given us Herself, the true ladder to
Heaven. She has pledged Herself to us and has become continually
present to us in a moral and effective manner. She has thus given us
God's own way to Himself.
As was mentioned in our treatment of "Mary's sacrament", to merely wear
the Scapular is but to obtain a minimum of Marian treasure and to
ignore the very best aspect of Our Lady's gift --- namely, that She is
present to us and that we need but deepen our union with Her to obtain
union with Our Lord. Through His vicars on earth, Jesus seems to be
asking from the tabernacle, a state so similar to His Infancy in Mary's
womb, that we come to Him as other Immaculates: "Can anyone fail to
see," asked Pius X, "that there is no surer or more direct road than by
Mary to unite all mankind in Christ, that we may be holy and immaculate
in the sight of God?"  And in the Scapular Promise,
it seems that Mary, who first brought us that delightful Food of
Angels, has come to clothe us with Herself that we may approach that
Blessed Eucharist immaculately, to be consumed by Its divinizing power
and flaming love. From Mount Carmel, from the vision of the Immaculate
crushing Satan, we are drawn to the tabernacle.
Jesus and Mary are one. If we
find Mary, we find Jesus. If we become united to Mary, we become united
to Jesus and in a way most pleasing to Him; it was He Who first came to
us through Her.
Now, the Scapular Devotion is one that renders union with Mary natural
and easy. And by "union", we do not mean here merely the fundamental
moral union that actually constitutes the Scapular Devotion but that
deeper union with Mary which causes the likeness of Christ to appear in
souls and brings about a new and undreamed of intimacy with Him.
Elsewhere we have seen that the wearing of the Scapular imports the
practice of a true devotion to Mary: a devotion of homage, confidence
and love. In this true devotion we necessarily give Mary our minds
(homage), our wills (confidence), and our hearts (love). A moral union
results, but it is a union not deep enough to cause us to live in
Jesus, through Her. This deeper union results only from the practice of
a PERFECT devotion, a devotion not only of mind and heart and will, but
of the whole being. This devotion requires that we add to our homage,
confidence, and love, the element of IMITATION. And it is here that the
Scapular, besides laying the foundation of a lesser union, becomes a
Sacred Scripture says: "The Queen stands at Thy right hand clothed in
gold, surrounded by variety." The Queen stands because She did not ascend
to Heaven to rest, but to watch over Her children and to constantly aid
them to union with Her Glorified Son by Her prayers and melting love.
She stands at the right hand of Her Son, watching and praying over us
--- being a Mother. But why
has She clothed us in a dark garment while, in Heaven, She is clothed
in gold, surrounded by many various colors? Is it not that we are to do
as She did on earth: make it a garment golden with love and surrounded
by the variety of all the virtues that flow from love?
Mary, in the Scapular we wear, seems constantly to say to us: "Love
God! and here is my heart with which to love!" For, as Our Lord in
procuring our salvation left nothing undone to win our love, Mary has
left nothing undone to win our love to Her Son in assuring our
salvation. She not only assures us of Her mediation in giving us the
Scapular but, like Jesus Who gave not only salvation but Himself
entirely, She gives Herself to us during life, at death, and even in
Purgatory. For almost seven centuries, by more miracles than have been
wrought through any other sign, She has given the Scapular such a
redundancy of Herself that, as one writer puts it, "It seems that the
bounteousness of Mary has crystallized into this Scapular that it might
find itself in more intimate contact with the hearts of Her dearest
children."  One
who wears it devoutly has Mary at his side, sweetly guiding him to
fully consecrate himself to Her by imitation of Her love of God.
It would be impossible to show in how many ways the Scapular is a
symbol of love and of consecration of oneself to Jesus through Mary.
Its mysteries are bound into the one unsoundable, love-compelling fact
that it is an assurance from the Mother of Sorrows, who stood as the
High Priestess at Calvary's altar, that through Her mediation the
Precious Blood shed there will be our infallible salvation. Just as the
garment which She made for Jesus became a symbol of the complete
Passion in being stripped from Him on Calvary, so, too, in being an
assurance of the Blood shed that day, this garment is the symbol of all
those motives of love.
Mary seems to teach us in the Scapular that we should so love Our Lord
that we desire nothing more than to give Him the joy of finding Her in
us --- of seeing us approach Him with the immaculate love that once
drew Him from the bosom of His Eternal Father. When Saint John of the
Cross received the Scapular he said: "I desire to practice with fervor
all the virtues of Mary which this Holy Habit signifies." When he had
made that resolution, he says: "Our
Lord made me understand all the tenderness of His Heart. Never
would I have believed that there could be so much compassion for men in
this Divine Heart!" 
Why did Our Lord make known to the Saint all the tenderness of His
Heart when Saint John resolved to practice the virtues of Mary
symbolized by his Scapular? Why, indeed, except that to imitate Mary is
to go directly and perfectly to Him? Saint Conrad, before entering the
Capuchin Order, walked to the nearest town and had himself enrolled in
the Scapular. He wore it devoutly all through his religious life with
the resolution: "I will always strive to have a deep devotion to Mary,
and especially strive to imitate Her virtues." 
He soon united himself to Jesus through Mary (die Grignionische Andacht),
attaining perfection in an astoundingly short time. He spoke of the
Divine Hearts of Jesus and Mary as One, a truth he had learned rapidly
by sweet experience.
The great and rapid triumphs of these two Marian Saints --- John of the
Cross and Conrad of Altotten are far from unique. Such triumphs have
been the reward of all who have known the secret of "to Jesus through
Mary". Saint Therese of Lisieux is an example worthy of special
attention because she is like a messenger to this century, announcing
that the blissful state of union with Jesus through the Scapular Queen
is not an unrealizable utopia.
Saint Therese astounded the world by giving Jesus a love that has
almost been unparalleled in the whole history of the Church and then
saying: "All little souls can imitate me!"  She
declared that everyone could achieve her perfection and from the age of
three she never refused God anything! What is the explanation? Ah, what
indeed but union with Mary? This is the secret Therese began to keep
from the moment of her miraculous cure, in her in- fancy, by Our
Blessed Lady. She made herself a living reproduction of the Immaculate
Conception and did not fear to approach Our Lord with the disarming,
child-like love that arose from her union with Mary.
Although the Little Flower never read of this devotion as the "Secret
of the Enclosed Garden" preached by Blessed Grignion de Montfort, she
was inwardly instructed by Mary to practice it; 
she made her act of
consecration to the merciful love of God through the hands of Mary.
Many, thinking that her secret stopped at confidence and love, not
knowing that the secret of her confidence and love was union with Our
Lady of the Scapular, have come to wonder, in their spiritual failures,
if Our Lady's "Little Flower of Carmel" had not made some mistake in
saying that she did nothing which all little souls could not imitate.
But her little way was that of the Scapular --- a way in which Mary
Her Heart to us that we may make it, as it were, our heart. St. John
Eudes heard Our Lord saying: "I have given you this admirable Heart of
My dearest Mother, which is but One with Mine, to be truly your Heart
also, in order that the children may have but one Heart with their
Mother, and the members have no other Heart but that of their Head,
that so you may adore, serve and love God with a Heart worthy of His
infinite greatness."  And while Therese says: "He
thirsts for our
love," Lisieux assures us that Therese "loved the Blessed Virgin as
much as is possible on this earth, and she loved her Holy Scapular
which is Mary's Habit." 
One might show how the Scapular is not only an invitation to love but
is an invitation to practice all the virtues of Mary. Like the Little
Flower, however, let us but obey the law of love and our garment will
not only turn to gold but will soon be "surrounded by variety".
Vermeersch says that the Scapular is a devotion by which we practice
the homage of respectful affection, of filial confidence, and of
continual supplication but, above all, we should enter into it by
love!'  Chaignon further points out that
the Scapular invites us to
imitate all Mary's virtues by the one fact that it constitutes Her
assurance that one day, through Her intercession, we shall be Saints:
"We ought therefore to act as Saints. When we are invested in the
Scapular we ought to invest ourselves
also in love." 
Hence we say that Mary, in the Scapular, presents Herself as our way
to the Sacred Heart. She invites us to Her perfection, which fructifies
in union with the Sacred Heart. Father Faber says that: "All our life
is nothing but a succession of visitations, visitations from Mary
bringing Jesus with Her, but nowhere is this similitude so faithful
as it is in the Eucharist."  In giving us a true
devotion to Herself, Mary gives us, little by little, a true devotion
to Our Lord in
the Blessed Sacrament. In uniting us to Herself, She is drawing us into
the paradise of the Sacred Heart. Our Communions will take on a new
significance: "Jesus," says Blessed Grignion de Montfort, "is always
and everywhere the fruit of Mary and Mary is everywhere the veritable
tree that bears the Fruit of Life and the true Mother who produces
It."  "To Mary alone," this same Saint declares,
"God has given the
keys to the cellars of Divine Love with the power of entering into the
most sublime and secret ways of perfection and the power of causing
others to enter in also."  And by the Scapular,
Mary has declared that
we shall be Saints in Heaven. Therefore She is desirous of making us
Saints on earth. She desires to present Herself to us that we may,
become closely united to Her, the Immaculate, and thus be wholly
pleasing to Jesus. She invites us, presenting to us an assurance of
salvation that is also a symbol of Her virtues, to come to Her by
Thus when Our Lady came to make the Scapular Promise, folding the
Mystical Body to Her bosom with those powerful words "Shall not suffer
eternal fire," She made a gesture towards the fulfillment of Her
mission. It is Her mission to give the Incarnate Word to mankind, and
She has taken us under Her Mantle where we can easily partake of Her
immaculate purity and be worthy, as little children, to receive Her
"O Mary! You were filled with Grace that you might be the way of our
salvation, the means of ascent to the heavenly kingdom." 
"Whoever desires the fruit must go to the tree; whoever desires
Jesus must go to Mary; and whoever finds Mary will most certainly
find Jesus." 
All our perfection consists in being conformed, united, and
consecrated to Jesus Christ.., and therefore the most perfect of all
devotions is, without any doubt, that which most perfectly conforms,
unites, and consecrates us to Jesus. Now, Mary being the most conformed
of all creatures to Jesus, it follows that of all devotions,
that which most consecrates and conforms the soul to Our Lord is
devotion to His Holy Mother, and that the more a soul is consecrated to
Mary the more the soul is consecrated to Jesus. Hence it comes to pass
that the most perfect consecration to Jesus is nothing else but a
perfect and entire consecration of ourselves to the Blessed Virgin." 
"In presenting to you a garment of mean material and color, the Blessed
Virgin seems to cry out to you: 'Love not the world nor the things
which are of the world ... For the world and the concupiscence thereof
passeth away.' " 
VENERABLE LANICIUS, S. J.
"Nothing is easier than the exercise of this devotion. I ought to
try to enter into the spirit of it ... to be docile to the silent
lessons this Holy Habit teaches me." 
FATHER CHAIGNON, S. J.
Alphonsus: Glorie, t. I, pg. 208.
2. Cornelius a
M. s. 12, a. 1.
3. Apologia, Quaest. XVII.
4. Our Lady in the
Eucharist: pg. 18.
5. Glorie: I,
6. Wadding. Ann.
1232, n. 28.
7. B. Grignion de
Devotion a la tres Sainte Vierge (Tours, 1933, nos. 31 and 50).
8. Pulpito: t. I. pg. 38.
9. Encyc. on
Jubilee of the Immaculate Conception; Cf. R. P. Husslein,
S.J., All Grace Through Mary (New York, 1934, pamph., pg. 4).
10. Pulpito: t. II, pg. 269.
11. Chroniques du
Vol. I, pg. 100.
12. R. P. Anton,
O.M. Cap., Im
Dienste Gottes und der Menschen, pg. 48.
13. R. P. Taylor,
Lisieux: An Autobiography
(New York, 1926), pg. 232.
14. Letter of Sr.
Anne of Jesus to present author (Sept. 6, 1937): "En
pratique Sainte Therese de l'Enfant Jesus a imite Ie Bx. Grignion de
Montfort puisqu'elle a fait passer son acte d'offrande a, l'Amour
misericordieux par les mains de la tres Sainre Vierge, mais elle ne
connaissait pas la devotion a Marie dite du Bx. Grignion. Sous un autre
pli nous vous envoyons un livre sur la devotion de Sainte Therese a la
Sainte Vierge. Vous y verrez ce qu'est la spiritualite mariale de Notre
Sainte." N. B.: The book sent was Pour
Aimer la Ste. Vierge commeter Ste. Therese, by R. P. Martin
(Luc;on, 1935). Sr. Anne's let.ter is quoted here exactly because some
recent authors are not quite in agreement.
15. S. Jean
de la Ires Sainte Vierge
(Paris: Lethielleux, 1935), pg. 195.
16. Letter to
author: Nov. 5th, 1936.
17. Op. cit., ibidem.
18. Op. cit., ibidem.
19. See ref. 4.
20. Op. cit., no. 44.
21. See ref. 24,
coelestis, quia per
ipsam Deus descendit ad terras, ut per
ipsam homines mereantur ascendere ad coelos. In Annunt., s 1.
23. Glorie: t. I, ch.. v,
24. Op. cit., no. 120.
25. Meditations (From Select Works: London, 1884) sub
26. See ref. 18
of ch. 2.