Of scapulars, devotions and Russian jet fighters

Another excellent post from Fr. John Zuhlsdorf;

Some people are quite disciplined in the matter of wearing a scapular. This comes from Latin scapulae, shoulder blades. Scapulars are garments, usually associated with religious habits, which fall down from the shoulders, mostly over the rest of the habit. Another kind of scapular is small, on strings, which symbolically substitutes for the larger scapular. There are different kinds of scapulars which are spiritual aids in various ways. They generally are a symbol of a relationship through which we derive spiritual protection and aid. Probably the most commonly used scapular is the brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

BTW… once you are “enrolled” and given the brown scapular, if and when your scapular wears out, simply replace it. You don’t have to have the new one blessed.

I am not sure if Eastern Catholics and Orthodox have such things, but a reader alerted me to something which she thought was rather like a Western scapular.

At The Daily Mail there are many photos concerning the destruction of a Russian jet fighter by the Turks. The pilots were killed as they parachuted. Among the photos are the pilots’ effects, including this, which I flipped and cropped:


Lots of people wear religious items without necessarily being devout in any way.

I hope that this young man was indeed devout and that Our Lady helped him to his end.

That said, reflect now for a moment on your own end, your death, which could come at any moment, whether you regularly are in “harm’s way” or not.

Use well the sacramentals that Holy Church provides for your spiritual benefit.  Devout use of the brown scapular is a common devotion because it is an effective devotion.

Use well the sacraments that Holy Church provides.  Examine your consciences and GO TO CONFESSION.  Make good Holy Communions.  Call upon the graces of the your Confirmation and Matrimony and Holy Orders.

Use well other devotional practices which can be of spiritual benefit to you and others.  Perform indulgenced works, such as making the Way of the Cross, reading Scripture, praying the Rosary.

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9 Responses to Of scapulars, devotions and Russian jet fighters

  1. johnhenrycn says:

    I’ve just recently started to hold a single decade rosary each night while sleeping. This one:

    “The Irish Penal Rosary is known as ‘An Paidrin Beag’ or ‘The Little Rosary came from a sad time in Irish History. The Irish Penal Rosary was a single-decade rosary used in Ireland during ‘Penal Times’ when religious objects were forbidden and the Catholic church had to go underground. The single decade rosary worn from a ring used in Ireland during penal times and thus became known as the penal rosary. The ring could be put on one finger at a time, beginning with the thumb. It could then be moved to the next finger until all 5 decades of the rosary were completed. This little rosary was easily hidden and allowed devout Roman Catholics to pray in secret with less fear of being caught.”
    I like this single decade rosary at nighttime because it’s small and because of the ring at the end which keeps it from dropping to the floor when I fall asleep. This rosary and many others are custom made by Ruth Tucker in the USA:
    “I am a Catholic homeschooling mother of seven precious miracles, ages 25-7 and praying for more 🙂 We live on a 1/3 acre mini farm. We have 3 bee hives and 3 chickens. We also have some fruit trees and a small organic fruit, vegetable and herb garden.”
    The best, highest quality, most durable rosaries I’ve ever owned come from her. And each one is an original. No duplicates. (Hope my image link works)

    Happy Advent Sunday to all you good people if I don’t comment here again before then.


  2. johnhenrycn says:

    Here it is, fingers crossed:


  3. GC says:

    That’s different from the “finger rosary” that I lost a few years ago, JH.


  4. johnhenrycn says:

    Very sweet, GC. Only trouble is, what if you scratch your nose in the middle of the night and poke it in your eye. I did that once with just a thumb and was blinded for a couple days.


  5. GC says:

    Yes, I see your point, JH,

    I can only propose we try to invent and patent some kind of “soft” finger rosary that would still look both elegant and spritchell (spiritaul?). I know the Orthodox use a small woollen (woolen?) prayer rope, for instance.


  6. kathleen says:

    I love the idea of the ‘Loreto Rosary’; thanks for this link, JH.

    However I do possess a ‘finger Rosary’, similar to the one in GC’s pic at 2:17. It was a present from one of my sons on his return from a shrine in the Pyrenees. I often pray it (well, sing it actually) while making the one hour drive between Granada and my home on the coast. The occasional distractions when driving mean that by singing the Rosary (the way we do on the pilgrimage to Chartres) it gets spread out more, lasting almost the whole hour, and so I don’t worry too much if I have the odd distraction from other drivers doing crazy things like speeding! 😉

    This sad tragedy, of the Turks cowardly (and quite unnecessary) destruction of the Russian jet, and the subsequent murder (for that’s what it was) of the “helpless” Christian Russian pilots as they parachuted down, adds more victims to the already hundreds of recent victims of evil Islamic deeds of the last two weeks alone. There will be more in this clash of civilisations between Militant Islam and the rest of the world. Though of all their purported ‘enemies’, Christianity is clearly seen as their greatest foe! (The battle of Satan and his devils against Christ’s Church?)

    Yet there are so many ways in which our lives can be wiped out in a snuff. Life is fragile and passing; we are here for such a short time on Earth. Fr Z gives wise advice that we should always remain in a ‘state of grace’, for “we know not the hour nor the day” when our life’s journey will end. That one should be taken unprepared to meet their final destiny is surely the greatest of all tragedies. ‘Clothed’ in the scapular and the Rosary – IOW, symbolically living in the Presence of Christ and His Blessed Mother – is our greatest protection against such a terrible fate.


  7. GC says:

    Fr Z gives wise advice that we should always remain in a ‘state of grace’, for “we know not the hour nor the day” when our life’s journey will end. That one should be taken unprepared to meet their final destiny is surely the greatest of all tragedies.

    kathleen, I hope you won’t mind me reprising one of our hymns of Lent? It seems to fit in very well with what you said. I’m sure Sister Xavier would have had her rosary and scapular.


  8. kathleen says:

    Most appropriate, dear GC – we’re only two days away from the start of Advent – and the words tie in very well with Fr Z’s article!

    As for hymns, whether they be from Lent, Advent, or any other time of the Liturgical cycle, “keep them coming” I would say. 🙂


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