The Blessed Virgin Mary is ever-interested in our salvation and is our supreme advocate and intercessor among all the saints. As the very good Mother she is, she gives her children helpful instruction to aid them in doing God’s will here on earth and loving Christ better, which helps them gain heaven.
From time to time in the history of the Church, Mary has given certain holy saints a particular devotion to her with attached graces and promises. In some cases the devotion is meant to be spread to the whole Church and involves an object, or sacramental, given as a physical sign to be associated with the devotion. Three very famous sacramentals given to the Church by Mary are the holy rosary, the brown scapular, and the miraculous medal.
The rosary was given by the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Dominic in the year 1214.
“Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?” . . . “I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the battering ram has always been the Angelic Psalter which is the foundation stone of the New Testament. Therefore if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter.”
This psalter, a combination of the Pater Noster (Our Father) prayer taught by Jesus, the words of the Angel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin at the Annunciation, and the words of Elizabeth at the Visitation. The rosary was composed according to the instructions of the apparition including the Sorrowful, Joyful, and Glorious mysteries as meditations on the life and Passion of Christ. It was then called the ‘rosary’ because each time it’s prayed Mary receives a crown of roses.
Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, gave the brown scapular to St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite, in the year 1251. A scapular is composed of two small pieces of wool cloth attached by a string, meant to wear on the front and back in the same way a habit would be worn. It then becomes a sign of devotion to the Virgin Mary worn hidden under the clothes.
“Receive, my beloved son, this scapular of thy Order; it is the special sign of my favor, which I have obtained for thee and for thy children of Mount Carmel. He who dies clothed with this habit shall be preserved from eternal fire. It is the badge of salvation, a shield in time of danger, and a pledge of special peace and protection.”
Our Lady appeared to St. Catherine Laboure in France in the year 1830 and gave her the vision of a medal, known as the Miraculous Medal, with specific details as to how it should be constructed both on the front and the back. The medal is a testament to the role of Mary in salvation history and is especially associated with the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
“Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around the neck” . . . “Now it must be given to the whole world and to every person.”
After reading about these sacramentals and their promises given to the faithful by the Blessed Virgin Mary herself, are you more inclined to make use of them? Have you already received special graces from using any of these, that you would like to share with our readers as an encouragement to practice these devotions?