Brown Scapular and Sola Fide


#1

A few months ago I went to a day-retreat on consecration to Mary in the manner of St. Maximilian Kolbe. I have always made an effort to accept the teachings on Mary, but that’s one hurdle I have not been able to jump over in my 5 years as a Catholic.

One thing that has always bothered me is the brown scapular. The priest said that the essence of the brown scapular is not a relic or a charm, but a sign of devotion to Mary and faith in her motherly intercession, and as long as we are devoted to her, she, whose prayers the Lord does not deny, will pray for our salvation.

In short, although the scapular as a piece of cloth does not save us, what it is a sign of, namely, our devotion to Mary, does.

To illustrate this point, the priest told a store of St. Maximilian when he was in Auschwitz. There were some men condemned to death whom he had tried to convert. He convinced them at least to wear the scapular and trust in Mary’s intercession. All but one of the men agreed. Days later, before their execution, those men made a confession to St. Max. The man who refused the scapular did not and died in his sins. St. Max attributed those men’s salvation to the intercession of Mary. The priest went on to quote another saint (I think Louis de Montfort) as saying, “You can die in your sins if you wish, but not if you are wearing the brown scapular.” In other words, the intercession of Mary is powerful enough to save those who outwardly wear the sign of devotion to her.

This, of course, assumes that one is honest in his consecration, and is not wearing the scapular as a license to sin.

What bothers me the most is that if I say, “I have sinned and will likely sin again, but I trust whole heartedly in the mercy of Christ. I place my faith entirely in Him to save me” I would be condemned for believing in sola fide. But if I say, “I have sinned and will likely sin again, but I trust in the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, whose prayers Christ never denies” I will be praised.

How is it that I can say, “You can die in your sins if you like, but not if you wear the brown scapular” (assuming a proper understanding of the devotion above), but I cannot say, “You can die in your sins if you like, but not if you place your faith wholly in Christ”?


#2

A lot of the information regarding the Brown Scapular is misunderstood. In 1251 the Blessed Mother gave St. Simon Stock this ‘garment’ to wear with his orders as superior to the Carmelites.

Our Heavenly Mother said that whoever dies in this garment will not suffer everlasting fire. It is a sign of salvation and a safeguard in dangers.

These promises can apply to us if we have a priest enroll us in the confraternity of the Brown Scapular.

This does not mean we can live a sinful life and expect to go heaven because we wear the Brown Scapular.

It is worn as as outward sign of trust in the Blessed Mother and her powerful intercession with her Beloved Son Jesus to obtain special graces for us - to live a good Catholic life and remain in a state of grace.

There are many many stories that you can read regarding the Brown Scapular at this link and possibly many others.
cmri.org/05-brownscap.html


#3

You repeated what I said about the brown scapular without answering my question.


#4

To my mind, the latter statement is not technically unorthodox, but it’s dangerous because it leaves out a lot of data about our justification.

The thing that makes sola fide wrong is not that it says, “If you fully trust in Christ, then you will be saved.” It’s that it says, “If you fully trust in Christ, then you will be saved merely by the act of placing that trust in Christ; anything that happens to you afterwards is a result of this salvation, not something that actually justifies you.” But one could also say, “If you place full trust in Christ, then your conversion will lead you to seek out the sacraments and do works of charity, and all of these – faith, sacraments, charity – will help you partake in the divine life of God and attain salvation.” The issue when discussing sola fide is whether one denies that we are justified by things other than faith. The question is not whether placing one’s trust in Christ justifies us; it’s whether the things that result also justify us.

The brown scapular, from what you’ve described, attempts to invoke the intercession of Mary so that you do put your trust fully in Christ, which will both justify you of itself and lead you to do the things that contribute to your end goal of full communion with God in heaven (John 17:21ff).

Hope that was helpful (and marginally clear!).


#5

Sola Fide is not condemned if faith is that formed in charity, which is of interest.

Both, if saying- I trust you despite not attempting to aid you as best I may- are sin.

Both, if saying I trust you entirely, but in this I will play my part, and trust the promises of God, and not my own trust, are not heresy.

Saying I may be saved utterly apart from my own effort, being capable of giving it, potential effort, and apart from the sacraments is anathamable in Trent, if I am correct. It depends on the meaning of the phrase. Catholics believe that Sola Christus is true, and also that through faith in charity, formed in charity, we are saved. This means more and different than mental assent- it means doing our part- neither are heretical, on condition we mean- save me through my own action, and the acting of church, in sacraments, or desire (see encyclopedia, not modern English version) thereof.

As to children before age of reason, I am not sure of how it covers such


#6

As I said- trusting God to change you out of mercy, and trusting him to save you despite not fitting the description of Lumen Gentium XVI or the life of obedient love, and compassion, in God, are not the same- the first reflects the idea of Catholic thought, and if meaning this, both are accepted and acceptable, but if meaning salvation apart from chastity, neither are true.:cool:


#7

These are excellent observations.


#8

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To illustrate this point, the priest told a store of St. Maximilian when he was in Auschwitz. There were some men condemned to death whom he had tried to convert. He convinced them at least to wear the scapular and trust in Mary’s intercession. All but one of the men agreed. Days later, before their execution, those men made a confession to St. Max. The man who refused the scapular did not and died in his sins. St. Max attributed those men’s salvation to the intercession of Mary. .

What bothers me the most is that if I say, “I have sinned and will likely sin again, but I trust whole heartedly in the mercy of Christ. I place my faith entirely in Him to save me” I would be condemned for believing in sola fide. But if I say, “I have sinned and will likely sin again, but I trust in the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, whose prayers Christ never denies” I will be praised.

How is it that I can say, “You can die in your sins if you like, but not if you wear the brown scapular” (assuming a proper understanding of the devotion above), but I cannot say, “You can die in your sins if you like, but not if you place your faith wholly in Christ”?

Thank you for sharing the incident with St.Kolbe and the prisoners .

In the early phases of ones conversion , the above are common and legitimate concerns
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The critical phrase in there might be -’ put your faith wholly in Christ ’ …The brown scapulr helps us to see what a deep and vast challenge that is …and not just calling out ’ Lord , Lord ’ !

Coming from a protestant background, it would be easy to see how so many persons think that they have put their faith wholly in Christ …yet have not done so and are like the blind guides !

By wearing the brown scapular as a sign of humble trust in our Lord , which means in His Church and her teachings / guidelines, even if we may not quite understand it all yet and also as a plea for all the help we can get , we eventually come to see - how much more we need to be of The Spirit and to be fruitful !

The lives of the many saints beckon us here too …to run the race with vigor esp. knowing that the roaring lion is out there !

The Woman as the enemy of the ancient serpent,is there to lead us to true victory of being able to love our Lord , with all our heart …

Blessings !


#9

In need of help!

Hey guys, I have a brown scapular that just recently broke, but i was able to sew it back together with a blue string… what should I do? is it still good or should i bury it and get another one?


#10

If you had it blessed and are ACTIVELY a participant in the Carmel devotions then you can simply get a new one and wear it. It becomes blessed automatically as a condition of your devotion.

Caution. Many people wear this sacramental without the proper inner spiritual devotion. A wearer of the Brown Scapular must joint as a secular 3rd order Carmelite or the confraternity of the Carmelites. The prior is the preferred since its actualy entrance into the order but without the full oaths of poverty etc. One MUST follow the devotion which requires substantial daily prayer (morning and evening prayers from the Liturgy of the Hours) in order to gain the promise - the scapular itself means nothing without the devotion.

There is actually evidence of those who wore the brown scapular unworthily and presumably died impenitent that they will not be able to keep the scapular on. There are cases where such have been unable to wear it and torn the scapular off themselves before final death.

James


#11

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