The Red Scapular and Friday meditation on the Passion


In the meditation for today, the Friday of the Easter Octave, the excellent book of Meditations of Priests, Seminarians and Religious, by the Rev Dominic Phillips CM, reflects on the value of frequent meditation on the passion.

Fr Phillips gives a favourable mention to the red scapular and so I decided to find out more about it. I think I have now got most of the way through one of those internet source criticism journeys. Let me save you the trouble: the ultimate Quelle or source for all other internet articles on the subject (including the Wikipedia article which repeatedly offers a dead link which was presumably once alive) is a leaflet which can be found at the website of the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal at this link: Redscapular.pdf. That gives you the basic information, some of which I too will repeat here for your convenience.

In the summer of 1846, Sr Louise-Apolline Andriveau had a number of visions of Our Lord and His Blessed Mother, particularly related to the Passion. One key message is that, in the words of Our Lord:
"The world is drawing down ruin upon itself because it never thinks of the Passion of Jesus Christ. Do your utmost to bring it to meditate thereon, to bring about its salvation."
Quoting again from the same helpful leaflet:
According to the revelation claimed by Sister Apolline, to wear the blood-red scapular was to be "clad in the livery" of Christ's passion and that it "will prove to us a strong armour against infernal assaults, an impenetrable buckler against the arrows of our spiritual enemies and, according to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all who wear it with faith and piety it will be a pledge of pardon, a source of grace."
Blessed Pius IX approved the scapular in 1857 – unlike in the crypto-modernist early 20th century, devotions such as this were enthusiastically accepted after appropriate investigation. The priests of the Congregation of the Mission, founded by St Vincent de Paul, or Lazarists (often referred to as Vincentians in England) were given permission to invest the faithful with this scapular, but it can now be invested by any Catholic priest. For the rite of blessing and investiture, you can find an English version at the Sancta Missa website on the Rituale Romanum page of Blessings formerly reserved to religious orders.

Of course, as with any other devotion, the use of the red scapular is a matter of personal choice. What can certainly be recommended to all is the meditation on the Passion as a regular practice on Fridays. Phillips gives two motives for such meditation:
1. Such meditation helps to repress the concupiscence of the flesh, concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, by the sight of the sufferings of your Saviour, his dreadful humiliations and the extreme poverty in which he was pleased to die.

2. It also helps you to practise the supernatural virtues better: faith, which it strengthens; hope, to which it lend deeper foundation; charity, the flame of which it enkindles and nourishes in your heart. - What precious helps toward your sanctification are to be found in such meditations! May God grant that you profit fully by them!

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