Hello everyone! I did not give a sermon this week, because we had a long ritual to begin our new Third Order, Knights of Christ and the Temple. So, I have included my remarks and words from that. Enjoy ...
Dearly beloved brethren in Christ, Our Lady Mary appeared to three saintly children in a field in Fatima, Portugal, and implored them to pray without ceasing, most especially the Holy Rosary, every day so that there may be peace in the world.
In so much that we live in an ever increasingly chaotic and busy secular life with so many modes of distraction, we too are at war for our souls, and thus Our Lady’s message still holds true to this day. As (each of) you take your vow(s) this day and enter into a sacred third order, Mary calls upon you also to pray unceasingly each and every day for peace. But, not just peace for the world, which is by far very important in these days, but for peace within your soul(s) that the Holy Wisdom Sophia – the mysterious Holy Spirit – sent from our Lord Christ, the same Spirit who entered your soul(s) upon your baptism, may enter into your soul(s) ever more deeply and in such a sublime way, that you may be more protected from worldly distractions that war for your soul(s) and that you may take up in yourself contemplation of our Lord God.
As you enter in Knights of Christ and the Temple, may the Holy Spirit, in the guise of Sophia, help you acquire, learn and grow in love for continuous prayer, contemplation, meditation, and the Holy Eucharist; and that you will become more closely joined with our Savior Christ.
Always rely on your brother and sister knights in times of temptation or tribulations within a world becoming ever so independent from faith, that you may not fall victim to loss of faith or the temptations of great evil known as Satan.
As your Grand Master and Bishop, I welcome you as you join this third order, I encourage you to dedicate yourself(ves) to your new life in which, I hope, will propel you ever so deeper into the mysteries of our Lord God. Be open to the inspirations granted you and never cease to seek out more knowledge and understandings of the kingdom of God and His mysterious workings in the universe. Our Lady Mary is always waiting with an open window to let you in and give you shelter, guidance and love. Never falter in seeking her help in reaching her Son. In growing for love of prayer, and her most Holy Rosary in her honor, you will find yourself enveloped in peace and hope in a troubled world. As Our Lady so implored the three children of Fatima, so I implore you now; pray without ceasing.
In ancient Judaic times, a mantle was the most important article of clothing a person could own. It was used as protection against the weather, as bedding, as a place to sit, in his luggage. It could be given as a pledge for a debt or torn into pieces to show great grief. Elijah put his mantle on Elisha’s shoulders to show that he would become Elijah’s successor. Later when the transfer of authority was complete, Elijah left his mantle for Elisha.
A mantle was most commonly made from camel’s hair. Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and even St. Peter, all felt unworthy of the mantle given them, and for good reason - the mantle was too big. It didn’t fit. But that’s the nature of the mantle. In Hebrew the mantle is called the aderet. Aderet means large, big, great, wide, powerful, excellent, noble, mighty, and glorious.
All of God’s children each are given a mantle, or a calling. And today you receive yours. But remember, your mantle is your aderet, and the aderet always speaks of greatness. So your calling will be too big for you. It won’t fit. It won’t match who you are. And there will be times when you will struggle with that, with its magnitude in comparison to who you are. It will always be greater, more powerful, more noble, more excellent, in more glorious than the one who wears it.
One might ask why does God give us mantels that are too big and don’t fit? The answer is, your mantle is not meant to fit who you are. It’s meant to fit who you are to be, who you are to become. So when you were little child, your parents bought you clothes that didn’t fit, they were too big. It wasn’t to fit who you were; it was the fit who you were to become. So too your mantle must be beyond you, that you can grow into it, that you can rise to it. So never be discouraged at the difference in size. It must be that way - that you might become greater, more excellent, more noble, more powerful, and more glorious than you are now.
Today, you too will receive a mantle of sorts, in the physical reality of a small scapular. The scapular is a Christian garment suspended from the shoulders. For many centuries, monks and nuns have worn the full-size scapular that was often times as large as a mantle. It was meant as an object of piety and to remind the wearer of their commitment to live a Christian life. In the Middle Ages, it became common for Christian faithful to share in the spirituality of the new mendicant orders in an auxiliary sense, sometimes called Third Orders because they were founded after the initial orders of the friars and nuns. Although these people (called Tertiaries) were permitted to wear the "tertiary habit", because they had not taken religious vows they were not usually permitted to wear the full habit of the order. With time, it was considered a high honor and great privilege to be granted a small cloth attached by bands which would be worn over the torso in the same manner as the full monastic scapular.
In time, specific promises and indulgences were attached to the wearing of scapulars. This promise was based on the Carmelite tradition that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Simon Stock at Cambridge, England in 1251 in answer to his appeal for help for his oppressed order. Our Lady Mary recommended to him the Brown Scapular, under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and promised salvation for the faithful who wore it piously.
And so today, you will bestowed a scapular in this tradition. The scapular is one of the ancient Order of Knights Templar of which we wish to emulate not in a militaristic fashion, but in a mystical fashion. Our Lady Mary assured St. Simon Stock, that anyone who has perished and is found wearing a scapular, said person will not suffer the pains of hell, but would receive salvation.
Additionally, in the 1917 reported apparitions of Our Lady of Fátima the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared "with a Rosary in one hand and a scapular in the other". Sister Lúcia (one of the three Fátima children visionaries) stated that the Virgin Mary told her: "The Rosary and the Scapular are inseparable".
When Jesus walked on earth, whoever even touched the hem of his garment became whole. We praise the Lord, because in His Church He continues to use the humblest of means to show us His infinite mercy. We too can use these means to glorify the Lord, to express our desire to serve Him and to renew our life-long commitment of fidelity made at our baptism.
The scapular has been an instrument, a sacramental, given to the faithful by Our Lady Mary as a means of her motherly protection. As time has passed, Our Lady has inspired many such scapulars in different form and of different devotions. This Scapular of The Knights Templar is a sign of the motherly love of the Virgin Mary, which reminds us of her care for the members of the Knights of Christ and the Temple, especially in moments of great need. It is a love which invites love in return.
This Scapular is a sign of communion with the Order of the Knights of Christ and the Temple and a sign of Our Lady’s protection. With this Scapular you express the desire to take part in the spirit and life of the Order.
The Scapular is a mirror of the humility and purity of Mary: through her simplicity she invites us to live modestly and in purity. By wearing the Scapular day and night, it becomes a sign of our constant prayer and of our special dedication to the love and service in the ways of our Master Christ.
By wearing the Scapular, you renew your baptismal vow to put on our Lord Jesus Christ. In Mary, your hope of salvation will be safeguarded, because in her the God of Life has made His abode and sends His Holy Spirit to rest upon you.
Therefore, receive this Scapular as a sign of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete who now leads you into a life of love, prayer and service to others. Open yourself ever more to Her direction so that your good works and strong faith may be as a pure offering to The Christ, our Lord and Master. May you ever be mindful of your vocation and be continually strengthened in your resolve to live a life of love, prayer and service.
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