“He who desires to go on advancing from virtue to virtue, from grace to grace, should meditate continually on the Passion of Jesus.” – St. Bonaventure
In 1846, a nun of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, named Sister Apolline, received two apparitions of Jesus in which she received the red scapular. The front of the scapular showed Christ on the Cross and contained the words “Holy Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ save us.” The back held images of the sacred hearts of Jesus and Mary being adored by angels. It read “Sacred hearts of Jesus and Mary protect us.”
After hearing about the apparitions, Sister Apolline’s spiritual director told her to relate them to the Superior General of her order, Father J.B. Etienne. Fr. Etienne was so impressed by the apparitions and the message they contained, he eventually traveled to Rome to seek the approval of Pope Pius IX.
On June 25, 1847, Pope Pius IX gave is approval to a new red scapular, to be known as the Scapular of the Passion of Our Lord and the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
Countless saints have said that one of the best ways to advance in holiness is meditating on the passion of Christ. “The remembrance of the most holy Passion of Jesus Christ,” says St. Paul of the Cross, “is the door through which the soul enters into intimate union with God, interior recollection and most sublime contemplation.”
The red scapular is a great physical reminder of this reality. In the passion, we see the profound love of God for mankind, love that was willing to suffer and give everything to redeem us. And as we meditate on the suffering of Christ, our hearts are moved to love, humility, and repentance. Motivated by gratitude, we begin to embrace sacrifice in our own lives.
The red scapular is also a source of spiritual protection. According to Sister Apolline, the Scapular of the Passion “will prove to us a strong armor against infernal assaults, an impenetrable shield against the arrows of our spiritual enemies.”
Finally, Jesus also promised that whoever wears this scapular with faith and devotion will receive great increases of faith, hope, and charity every Friday.
If you’ve never worn a scapular before, the red Scapular of the Passion is one option to consider. It’s a powerful weapon for your spiritual arsenal.