MANILA - A priest in Jaro, Iloilo has issued a reminder to Catholic devotees that scapulars and medals have nothing to do with magic.
"One has to understand their use. Just getting hold of the promise without understanding its content and demands can easily lead them to be treated as amulets and bodily decorations," a CBCPNews report quoted Monsignor Alejandro P. Esperancilla as saying.
Esperancilla, who serves as special assistant for liturgical affairs of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles in Jaro, said wearing medals and scapulars means one wants to place himself under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
"This will necessarily include the desire to imitate her life of being totally in the service of God," he said.
He explained that the scapular evolved from the religious vestment of the Carmelite Order, whose members were largely responsible for popularizing the devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, their patroness, through this sacramental.
Therefore, a wearer of the scapular has the obligation to live according to the values of that community: "simplicity in dress, behavior and life, penance and mortification, prayer, hospitality and charity to the less fortunate."
Esperancilla also stressed that devotees should focus on the spirit behind these sacramentals, which is to become "imitators of our Blessed Mother in her life of service to her Son, Jesus Christ," and not on the promises attached to them.
"Only then can the promises be fulfilled," he said, adding that serious effort should be made to use them correctly.