My five-fold scapular* arrived over the weekend. I didn't put it on then, since it was to be a Christmas present, but in thinking about it, that's kind of a silly reason to not just put the thing around my neck.
I said the following prayer before putting it on.
[Kissed the scapular]
Please God, protect me (both temporally and spiritually).
Make me holy...
but don't knock me over the head.
I know I shouldn't put conditions on my prayer, but I have been knocked over the head, upside the head, any which way, too many times lately to place this powerful sacramental over my head without some trepidation!
Like the prior summer when I was reading, The Story of a Soul, and asked unreservedly for humility. I had asked for humility previously many times, but this time I threw caution to the wind and mentally said, "Sock it to me God, I can take it."
If you've read my blog for very long, you know I think God has an incredible sense of humor. With a big belly laugh, God sent me a huge helping of humility before I even got to another page of the book.
Ouch and not funny.
In all seriousness, however, this is an incredible sacramental with wonderful indulgences and protections, and it should be worn with some reflection (which is what I mean, in jest, by trepidation.)
The literature that came with scapular is pretty interesting, but the scapular I was most curious about is the black scapular, Our Lady of Sorrows, and there was no information on it. Will have to check with Sanctus Belle to reread the posts she did when she was enrolled/invested with this scapular. There was information on the blue scapular, The Immaculate Virgin Mary, and on the St. Benedict medal that was attached.
My current (brown, Our Lady of Mount Carmel) scapular already had a St. Benedict medal attached and a cross, but it's been a long time since I remember reading about the medal.
On the front we see St. Benedict holding his Rule; next to him, on a pedestal, is the cup that once held poison, shattered after he made the Sign of the Cross over it. The other pedestal is topped by the raven, who is about to carry away the poisoned bread. In very small print above these pedestals are the words: Crux s. patris Benedicti (The Cross of our Holy Father Benedict).
Underneath St. Benedict are the words: ex SM Casino MDCCCLXXX (from holy Monte Cassino, 1880).
On the back, in the arms of the Cross are the initials
C S S M L
N D S M D, which stand for the rhyme:
Crux sacra sit mihi lux!
Nunquam draco sit mihi dux!
The Holy Cross be my light;
Let not the dragon be my guide.
In the corners of the Cross are C S P D, which stand for the same words found on the front over the pedestals: Crux s. patris Benedicti (The Cross of our Holy Father Benedict).
Above the Cross is the word "Pax" (Peace), the Benedictine motto.
Surrounding the entire back of the medal are the initials to the words of the exorcism:
V R S N S M V
S M Q L I V B, which stand for the rhyme:
Vade retro Satana!
Nunquam suade mihi vana!
Sunt mala quae libas.
Ipse venena bibas!
Do not suggest to me thy vanities!
Evil are the things thou profferest,
Drink thou thy own poison!
Surrounding the entire face of the medal are the words: Eius in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur (May we at our death be fortified by his presence.)
The literature also says, "The medal of St. Benedict is the most highly indulgenced medal in the Catholic Church. When the exorcism blessings are applied by a Benedictine priest, the medal has power over evil: storms, poisons, pestilence, the devil's legions, etc. You must use the medal by calling down the intercession of St. Benedict (use by dipping in liquids, placing in/on important machinery, structures, etc."
On many feast days of our Lord, the Blessed Mother, the Apostles and many saints, it is possible to gain a plenary or partial indulgence by carrying or wearing the medal, invoking the intercession of St. Benedict and praying for the abolishment of heresy."
The information on the blue scapular I received says:
It was in the year 1605, in the city of Naples, that there lived a holy maiden by the name of Ursula Benincasa. Our Blessed Lady appeared to her clad in a robe of dazzling whiteness, over which she wore a mantle of heavenly blue. Our Lady bore Her Divine Infant in Her arms. "Hearken to the words of my Divine Son, whom thou hast chosen for they Spouse." The Infant Jesus now commanded Ursula to found a new order bearing the name of the Theatine Nuns in honor of the Immaculate Conception. The Divine Infant promised special graces to all those who would join this order. The pious maiden was rejoiced beyond measure at these happy tidings. In her great charity she wished that these gracious promises might be extended to all the faithful. She therefore pleaded fervently to the Mother of Mercy to extend them to all those who would wear a blue scapular, honor the Immaculate Conception, and fulfill the duties of their state in life. Her prayer was granted and she immediately beheld a great multitude of angels busily engaged in distributing this Blue Scapular among the faithful.
"And be it remembered," said St. Alphonsus Ligouri, "besides any particular indulgences, there are granted to the scapular of the Immaculate Conception, all indulgences granted to any religious order, pious place or person."
433 Plenary Indulgences
"And particularly (while wearing the Blue Scapular or the five-fold scapular) by reciting the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, six times in honor of the Most Holy Trinity and of the Immaculate Mary, are gained each time...433 Plenary Indulgences, besides the temporal, which are innumerable." These can be applied to the souls in Purgatory.
(From the Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus Ligouri)
And that's just the promises of ONE of the scapulars. Great Christmas gift.
*The Five-Fold Scapular is made of 5 of the following Scapulars: first, the "The Red Scapular of the Passion," then the "The Scapular of the Most Blessed Trinity," the "The Brown Scapular of our Lady of Mount Carmel," the "The Black Scapular of the Seven Dolors of Mary," and the The Blue Scapular of the Immaculate Conception." Any priest can invest you with this scapular.