On the Scapular Promise, October Medals and Sacramentals in General
Yesterday, during Mentoring Time, one of the students asked me question out-of-the-blue which made me think. He was asking about the Scapular promise. "Cher, is it true that if I die wearing the brown Scapular, I will not go to hell?" Another student quickly added, "What if I commit suicide while wearing the brown Scapular, will I go to heaven?"
The Scapular promise is said to have been given by Our Lady to Saint Simon Stock as a pledge of her maternal love and protection saying: "Whosoever dies wearing this Brown Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire." While I have always believed in that promise, I think it should not be taken too literally, especially in the sense of the second question.
Killing oneself in despair is definitely contrary to what Our Blessed Mother would want any of us to do. I ask, "What if somebody tries to steal from a bank and wears a brown Scapular just in case he gets shot by the police and dies?" Obviously enough, using the Scapular in that sense is ridiculous! It is almost as if the Scapular is a magic badge that will protect us from the never-dying flames of hell almost as certainly as the Survivor "immunity necklace" would surely save you from being voted out of camp!
This morning, the traditional October medals were blessed and distributed and we teachers and the students are now wearing them, but why? Are they supposed to have the same kind of effect the Brown Scapular is said to have? Must we wear them as passports to heaven?
Brown Scapulars and October Medals are passports to heaven but only if we use them properly, that is, with true love and devotion to Our Blessed Mother. True love and devotion does not end however in wearing these religious objects but must always translate into faithful imitation of Our Lady's virtues and struggle to wear them worthily with purity of heart and holiness of life.
These articles are not magic amulets but sacramentals-channels and instruments through which God draws near to us and through which we draw near to God. Without our real drawing close to God, these sacramentals will not serve their real purpose, will not be effective.
May our wearing of these articles of faith help us to become really close to Our Mother and to her Son Jesus Christ by our imitation of her following him closely and loving him faithfully. Thanks to the two students whose questions helped remind us again of the real value of these objects of our love and devotion.