Monday, May 8, 2017

Catholicism Explained: Devotions and Sacramentals (Part II, The Origins Of)

So, I said I was going to do a follow-up post on my last CE, so here I am to do just that. However, today will be a bit of a different Catholicism Explained. For this post, I am going to go through stories of the devotions and sacramentals I mentioned in that last CE post. Mainly, I'm going to talk about where they came from, but I'm also going to have a few random stories of particular instances where a particular devotion/sacramental aided someone. Here are links to previous Catholicism Explained articles, and Lucy's blog, where the ones before these were posted and can still be found:
Catholicism Explained: Purgatory
Catholicism Explained: The Three Sacred Authorities
Catholicism Explained: Devotions and Sacramentals (Part I, What Are They?)
Tanglewebs and Fairy Rings
So I'll get right on to it! :)
The Chaplet Of Divine Mercy
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy was given to us in an apparition in the early 20th century. An vision of Christ appeared to a Polish nun named Faustina (who is now a saint), telling her about His mercy. He informed her of how little people knew of it, and how He wished to remedy that. So he gave to her a prayer. A very simple, very short prayer - to be prayed on the beads of a rosary - that begged forgiveness from Christ through his Divine Mercy (hence the name of the prayer). It consists of these words (beginning with three prayers of the Rosary):
Our Father...
Hail Mary...
I believe in God, the Father Almighty...
And then the prayers that are native to the Chaplet:
O God, we offer you the body, blood, soul, and divinity of your son, our Lord, Jesus Christ - in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion - have mercy on us!
With these words, the Chaplet was instituted. St. Faustina introduced it to the world, and the devotion to it slowly grew around her. Now, thousands of faithful Catholics (and even some non-Catholics) recite this beautiful devotion.
The Scapular
The Scapular, like many devotions (including the Chaplet of Divine Mercy), was instituted through a divine apparition. It was given us by Our Lady of Mount Carmel, as a devotion of a sort. It does have a prayer that goes with it (called the Office), but it also has a special connection with the Rosary (in fact, daily Rosary may be substituted for this Office prayer with permission). In fact, so powerful a connection that Our Lady even said to St. Dominic:
"Someday, through the Rosary and the Scapular, I will save the world."
And if that doesn't make one want to wear the Scapular, I don't know what will. ;) The scapular is a small, brown square of cloth that is worn around the neck, as in this picture.
 It has the impressive inscription on it:
"Whosoever dies wearing this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire"
which is Our Lady's promise concerning the Scapular. There are three conditions for the worthy wearing of the Scapular:
1. That you recite the Office (or, with permission from a priest, the Rosary) daily.
2. That you wear the Scapular, of course.
3. That you remain chaste in your station in life (whether it be a spouse, a single, or a religious).
There are many miracles associated with the Scapular, but here I'll only list a few.
Once, there was a ship, sailing on the ocean. It was caught in a storm, and seemed as though it were going to sink. A Catholic boy who was wearing his Scapular ran out onto the deck, and looked over the side of the quaking ship. Then he took off his Scapular, prayed for Our Lady to save them, and threw his Scapular into the stormy waters. Then, suddenly, the storm began to cease. And, just before it had stopped completely, one final wave leapt aboard the deck of the ship and carried the Scapular right to the young man's feet. A Protestant couple who were on deck watching the proceedings later converted to Catholicism due to their awe with the Scapular's miracle.
A young Catholic family was at home once, praying the Rosary. There came news that the neighborhood was burning. Soon enough, many houses nearby had caught on fire. There seemed to be no way for the family to escape safely, though. So they hanged a Scapular on their door, and then continued praying the Rosary. And the fire blazed on. It consumed the whole neighborhood. The whole neighborhood, that is, except their house. The fire reached every house around it, but their house alone remained untouched, though the fire had burned everything surrounding it.
The Rosary
The Rosary is one of the oldest devotions that there is, not to mention one of the most well-known. It is possibly the first full devotion to Our Lady (at least, that is still known today, I think). It was gifted to St. Dominic from Our Lady in a vision, to increase love in the hearts of the faithful for Christ's Immaculate Mother, and then was spread more by the apparition to three children at Fatima. Miss Lucy already covered the Rosary, and the Fatima apparitions extremely well, so instead of dwelling on the subject more, I shall merely link again to her post on the Rosary (the link to her blog at the top of this post will lead you to her Fatima posts).
 The Miraculous Medal
This is one devotion I didn't talk about last CE post, but an extremely influential and widespread one. The Miraculous Medal was also given us in an apparition of Our Lady. She appeared to a young nun, St. Catherine Laboure, instructing Catherine to make such a medal as Our Lady described. St. Catherine obeyed the instructions, and spread the medal anonymously for a long time, letting another person take the credit for discovering it. Eventually, though, it was revealed that Catherine was truly the one who received the instructions first. The Medal is devoted to The Immaculate Conception of Mary, and the many miracles Our Lady has caused through it (hence it's called the Miraculous Medal). It's a small silver circle inscribed with Our Lady's picture and a small prayer, hanging on a chain, to be worn around the neck.
One of the most Miraculous things about the Miraculous Medal is that it's proof of an age-old doctrine - that of Mary's Immaculate Conception. The words it bears are these:
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
And the amazing part of it is the phrase 'conceived without sin', a.k.a., Immaculate. It's especially amazing, seeing as this Medal was instituted a good deal of time before the Pope proclaimed the Immaculate Conception as an official doctrine.
I suppose my point in this post was to elaborate on the origins and Miraculous abilities of sacramental and devotions (though I'm afraid I had limited time, and still didn't cover all I had wished to concerning them). I am incredibly sorry to have to cut the post off now, but I unfortunately must due to time problems (you see, I am already posting this a day late, so...). :P
What did you think? Is anybody else noticing how haphazard and rag-tag the post is? Please do pardon it. In apology, I am going to try from now on to do Catholicism Explained posts every Sunday, rather than just every other. Any suggestions to better it? Any questions, concerns, additions? I love seeing comments of any kind for these posts, just so long as they are civil and well-meant.


  1. Oh, this is lovely, Belle! (And don't beat yourself up about posting late. I mean, I do it to, but you know what? It isn't really all that noticeable when somebody misses posting, so there's no reason to sweat it. Or am I just trying to make myself feel better for missing a Fatima post on a First Saturday of all days?) :)

    I'd forgotten or didn't know that St. Catherine Laboure let someone else take the credit for Our Lady's apparitions. I love the story about the ship! And I'd never heard the one about the fire before.

    Thanks for a wonderful post!

    1. Haha, well, we can just have a Procrastinators United party, I suppose. That is, unless we put off setting it up, of course. ;)
      Oh, yes, I didn't know about the fire one either! Until I read a book about the Scapular. I wish I could remember what it was called... :P

  2. I'm a Protestant myself, but I do think your Catholic prayers are lovely!

    1. Well, thank you! And, even if there are certain differences between us, we do all possess some measure of truth, I believe. :)

    2. I tend to think the same thing! :)