UP Catholic 02 10 2017 E Edition Page 4

4 February 10, 2017 THE U.P. CATHOLIC COMMENTARY www.upcatholic.org I was recently visiting a family in the parish. Over dinner, a non-Catholic family mem- ber noticed that I was wearing my scapular and asked why I was wearing a piece of cloth around my neck. Another member of the family with more zeal than tact blurted out that Mary said, Whoever dies clothed in the scap- ular shall not suffer eternal fire. This in turn led to eye-rolling and crinkling of the brow. An anti-Catholic sentiment was soon uttered. Very uncomfortable to say the least! After tensions had died down a bit, I explained that what the Catholic said was true. However, the Catholic Church does not teach that all you have to do to avoid hell is to wear a little piece of cloth. That would be an example of the sin of superstition! # 2111 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is to fall into superstition. It is clear from this that the scapular itself cannot save one from the fires of hell; this would be a violation of the First Commandment. When the Blessed Mother told the Carmelite St. Simon Stock that whoever dies clothed with the scapular shall not suffer eternal fire, she wasn't teaching an easy way to get to heaven. This false interpretation (which is sadly held by some devout Catholics) smacks of that sappy, self-ab- sorbed, cross-less new-age spirituality that is attractive to so many of our contemporaries. You know the kind. They are always saying, I'm spiritual, but not religious. I think to myself: Yes, just like the devil! Secular new-agers use crystals the same way Catholic new-agers use medals and scapulars. How are we to interpret Mary's promise to St. Simon Stock? First of all, we have to remember that St. Simon Stock and many others who have faithfully worn the scapular and other medals are saints that means they have been recog- nized by their heroic love of God and neighbor. So, they obviously didn't live with the mindset that they would be automatically saved by mere- ly wearing a scapular and/or a medal. They wore the religious articles with the interior disposi- tions that we read about above in the Catechism. The saints wore medals and the scapular as visible reminders of their interior communion with the angels and saints. Also, whoever wears the brown scapular of our Lady of Mount Car- mel is in special union with all the Carmelites of the world. That's some prayer power if I can say so myself! In Matthew 18:20, our Lord says, where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. The saints are still alive and are concerned for our salvation. They love God and want us to love Him. Moreover, since they are beholding the face of God, they are in a far deeper union with Christ than anyone on earth. We read in James 5:16 The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful. Who is more righteous than the saints and especially our Blessed Mother? We also read in 1 Jn. 3:21f Beloved, if [our] hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God and receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his com- mandments and do what pleases him. Again, who keeps the commandments and pleases God better than the angels and saints in heaven? From this it is apparent that we should wear our scapulars and medals with the interior disposition of glorifying God in all our thoughts, words, and actions. When I personally put on my scapular I intentionally entrust my day and all that it will hold to the intercession of our Blessed Mother. I ask her to give me her heart, her virtues, and intentions so that by the grace of God my works and words will better glorify her Son. Every once and a while throughout the day I feel the scapular against my skin and I im- mediately rededicate myself to glorify God with and through Mary. So, wearing the scapular and medals is not a magical thing, it's a discipleship thing. If we persevere in wearing these religious articles with the right dispositions, indeed the promise of Mary to those who wear them will be fulfilled-no one who wears the scapular and the medals with the love of the saints will suffer eternal separa- tion from the love of God! Editor's note: This question and answer column is written for The U.P. Catholic by four priests of the diocese. If you have a question you'd like to be considered for an upcoming issue, please submit it by email to news@ dioceseofmarquette.org or by U.S. Mail to Ask our Priests, c/o The U.P. Catholic, 1004 Harbor Hills Dr., Marquette, MI 49855. Ask our priests: What is the scapular all about? GENERAL ELECTRIC APPLIANCES KIRKISH FURNITURE Largest stock in the U.P." Restonic Bedding Televisions - RCA - Hitachi - Toshiba Floor Covering Free Delivery in the U.P. 1-800-535-0258 1200 W. MEMORIAL HOUGHTON, MICHIGAN See our electronics department for more specials. Growing to serve you in 5 locations! MANISTIQUE, MI 735 E. Lakeshore Dr. Food for Le$$ 200 Deer Street MARINETTE, WI 1507 Cleveland Ave. 2301 Roosevelt Rd. MENOMINEE, MI M & M Plaza NOTICE Financial businesses, institutions and individuals who are currently doing business with the Diocese of Marquette, or wish to in the future, are welcome to advertise their services in the same issue that contains the Diocesan Annual Report. 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