Wednesday, 12 September 2001
International Gathering of the Carmelite Family
with His Holiness John Paul II
I greet with special affection the Carmelite Family gathered here in large numbers of pilgrims from various countries of the world to commemorate the 750th anniversary of the giving of the Scapular. Dearest brothers and sisters, this happy event touches not only devotees of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, but the whole Church, because the rich Marian patrimony of Carmel has become, in time, thanks to the spread of the devotion of the Holy Scapular, a treasure for the whole People of God. Strive constantly to hold on to this wonderful spiritual patrimony, so that each day you may become credible witnesses of Christ and his Gospel.
I invited you to this special task in the letter which I addressed to the Superiors General of the Carmelite Order and the Discalced Carmelite Order on 25 March 2001. In that letter I wrote, among other, that the scapular is essentially a habit which, on the one hand, reminds us of the constant protection of Our Lady in this life and at the moment of passing on to the fullness of eternal glory; and on the other an awareness that devotion to Her must be a “way”, that is a style of Christian living, interwoven with prayer and the interior life. I pray that this commemoration may be for each of you an occasion of personal conversion, of community renewal, always corresponding with divine grace, which strengthens us on the way to holiness.
Vatican City, 12 September 2001
Johannes Paulus II