“GARMENT OF GRACE”
One of the great mysteries of our time is that the majority of Catholics either ignore, or have entirely forgotten this Heavenly promise of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our Lady further says: “Wear the Scapular devoutly and perseveringly. It is My garment. To be clothed in it means you are continually thinking of Me, and I in turn, am always thinking of you and helping you to secure eternal life.” Blessed Claude de La Colombiere, the renowned Jesuit and spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary, gives a point which is enlightening. He said, “Because all the forms of our love for the Blessed Virgin and all its various modes of expression cannot be equally pleasing to Her, and therefore do not assist us in the same degree to reach Heaven, I say, without a moment's hesitation, that the BROWN SCAPULAR IS THE MOST FAVORED OF ALL!” He also adds, “No devotion has been confirmed by more numerous authentic miracles than the Brown Scapular.”
Old Testament HistoryDevotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel (the Madonna of the Scapular) goes back far before the time of St. Simon Stock -- even before the time of Our Blessed Lord; it goes back all the way to the 8th century B.C. It was then that the great prophet Elias ascended the holy mountain of Carmel in Palestine, and began there a long tradition of contemplative life and prayer. It is amazing to realize that centuries before Christ was born, Holy Elias and his followers had mystically dedicated themselves to God's Mother-to-come, Mary, Queen of Mount Carmel. Nearly three thousand years later, that tradition of prayer, contemplation, and devotion to Mary continues to live and prevail in the Catholic Church.
In the fullness of time, God became the God-Man, Jesus. We know of Our Lord's life, death, resurrection and ascension from the four Gospels of the New Testament, and we know that Jesus bequeathed to the world the Holy Catholic Church to teach, to govern, and to sanctify in His Name.
On the Feast of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, the spiritual descendants of Elias and his followers came down from Mount Carmel. Fittingly, they were the first that day to accept the message of Christianity and to be baptized by the Apostles. When, at last, they were presented to Our Lady, and heard the sweet words from Her lips, they were overcome with a sense of majesty and sanctity which they never forgot. Returning to their holy mountain, they erected the first chapel ever built in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. From that time, devotion to God's Mother was handed down by the hermits on Mount Carmel as a treasured spiritual legacy.
Our Lady Appears to St. SimonIn the year 1241, the Baron de Grey of England was returning from the Crusades in Palestine: he brought back with him a group of religious from the holy mountain of Carmel. Upon arrival, the baron generously presented the monks with a manor house in the town of Aylesford. Ten years later, in the very place, there occurred the now famous apparition of Our Lady to St. Simon Stock. As the Holy Virgin handed St. Simon the brown woolen Scapular She spoke these words: “This shall be the privilege for you and all Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall not suffer eternal fire.” In time, the Church extended this magnificent privilege to all the laity who are willing to be invested in the Brown Scapular of the Carmelites, and who perpetually wear it.
Many Catholics are invested in the Brown Scapular at the time of their First Holy Communion; in the case of converts the vesting concurs with their Profession of Faith. When a person is enrolled in the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular and vested in that tiny habit of brown wool, the priest says to him: “Receive this blessed Scapular and ask the most holy Virgin that, by Her merits, it may be worn with no stain of sin and may protect you from all harm and bring you into everlasting life.” The following true stories will give a brief idea of how Our Blessed Mother keeps Her promise.
Miracle of GraceA priest relates how one day in a town near Chicago he was called to the bedside of a man who had been away from the Sacraments for many years. „The man did not want to see me: he would not talk. Then I asked him to look at the little Scapular I was holding. "Will you wear this if I put it on you? I ask nothing more." He agreed to wear it, and within the hour he wanted to go to confession and make his peace with God. This did not surprise me, because for over 700 years Our Lady has been working in this way through Her Scapular.”
On the very day that Our Lady gave the Scapular to St. Simon Stock, he was hurriedly called by Lord Peter of Linton: “Come quickly, Father, my brother is dying in despair!” St. Simon Stock left at once for the bedside of the dying man. Upon arrival he placed his large Scapular over the man, asking Our Blessed Mother to keep Her promise. Immediately the man repented, and died in the grace and friendship of God. That night the dead man appeared to his brother and said, I have been saved through the most powerful Queen and the habit of that man as a shield.”
St. Alphonsus tells us: “Modern heretics make a mockery of wearing the Scapular. They decry it as so much trifling nonsense.” Yet we know that many of the Popes have approved and recommended it. It is remarkable that just 25 years after the Scapular Vision, Blessed Pope Gregory X was buried wearing the Scapular. When his tomb was opened 600 years after his death, his Scapular was found intact. Two great founders of Religious Orders, St. Alphonsus, of the Redemptorists and St.John Bosco of the Salesians had a very special devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and both wore Her Brown Scapular. When they died, each was buried in his priestly vestments and Scapular. Many years later, their graves were opened, the bodies and sacred vestments in which they were buried were decayed-dust! BUT THE BROWN SCAPULAR WHICH EACH WAS WEARING WAS PERFECTLY INTACT. The Scapular of St. Alphonsus is on exhibit in his Monastery in Rome.
Protection Against the DevilYou will understand why the devil works against those who promote the Scapular when you hear the story of Venerable Francis Ypes. One day his Scapular fell off. As he replaced it, the devil howled, "Take off the habit which snatches so many souls from us!" Then and there Francis made the devil admit that there are three things which the demons are most afraid of: the Holy Name of Jesus, the Holy Name of Mary, and the Holy Scapular of Carmel. To that list we could add: the Holy Rosary.
The great St. Peter Claver was another of God's heroes who used the Scapular to good advantage. Every month a shipment of 1000 slaves would arrive at Cartegena, Colombia, South America. St. Peter used to insure the salvation of his converts. First, he organized catechists to give them instructions. Then, he saw to it that they were baptized and clothed with the Scapular. Some ecclesiastics accused the Saint of indiscreet zeal, but St. Peter was confident that Mary would watch over each of his more than 300,000 converts!
Our Lady Protects a MissionaryOne day in 1944, a Carmelite missionary in the Holy Land was called to an internment camp in order to give the Last Rites. The Arab bus driver made the priest get off the bus four miles from the camp because the road was dangerously muddy. After two miles, the missionary found his feet sinking deeper and deeper into the mire. Trying to get solid footing, he slipped into a muddy pool. Sinking to his death in this desolate place, he thought of Our Lady and Her Scapular. He kissed his great Scapular -- for he was wearing the full habit -- and looked toward the holy mountain of Carmel, the birthplace of devotion to God's Mother. He cried out, “Holy Mother of Carmel! Help me! Save me!” A moment later, he found himself on solid ground. Later he said, “I know I was saved by the Blessed Virgin through Her Brown Scapular. My shoes were lost in the mud, and I was covered with it, but I walked the remaining two miles praising Mary.”
Saved from the SeaAnother Scapular story that bears repeating took place in 1845. In the late summer of that year, the English ship, “King of the Ocean” found itself in the middle of a wild hurricane. As wind and sea mercilessly lashed the ship, a Protestant minister, together with his wife and children and other passengers, struggled to the deck to pray for mercy and forgiveness, as the end seemed at hand. Among the crew was a young Irishman, John McAuliffe. On seeing the urgency of the situation, the youth opened his shirt, took off his Scapular, and, making the Sign of the Cross with it over the raging waves, tossed it into the ocean. At that very moment, the wind calmed. Only one more wave washed the deck, bringing with it the Scapular which came to rest at the boy's feet. All the while the minister (a Mr. Fisher) had been carefully observing McAuliffe's actions and the miraculous effect of those actions. Upon questioning the young man, they were told about the Holy Virgin and Her Scapular. Mr. Fisher and his family were so impressed that they were determined to enter the Catholic Church as soon as possible, and thereby enjoy the same protection of Our Lady's Scapular.
A Home Saved from FireNearer our own times, in May of 1957, a Carmelite priest in Germany published the unusual story of how the Scapular saved a home from fire. An entire row of homes had caught fire in Westboden, Germany. The pious inhabitants of a 2-family home, seeing the fire, immediately fastened a Scapular to the main door of the house. Sparks flew over it and around it, but the house remained unharmed. Within 5 hours, 22 homes had been reduced to ashes. The one structure which stood undamaged amidst the destruction was that which had the Scapular attached to its door. The hundreds of people who came to see the place Our Lady had saved are eye-witnesses to the power of the Scapular and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
A Train AccidentOne of the most extraordinary of all Scapular incidents took place right here in the United States. It happened around the turn of the century in the town of Ashtabula, Ohio, that a man was cut in two by a train; he was wearing the Scapular. Instead of dying instantly, as is usual, he remained alive AND CONSCIOUS for 45 minutes -- just enough time until a priest could arrive to administer the Last Sacraments. These, and other such incidents, tell us that Our Blessed Mother will take personal care of us in the hour of our death. So great and powerful a Mother is Mary that She will never fail to keep the Scapular contract, i.e., to see that we die in God's grace
A Priest's Life is SavedStill another Scapular miracle concerns a French priest who had gone on pilgrimage. On the way to say Mass, he remembered that he had forgotten his Scapular. He knew he would be late if he went back to retrieve it, but he could not envision offering Mass at Our Lady's altar without Her Scapular. Later, as he was offering the Holy Sacrifice, a young man approached the altar, pulled out a gun, and shot the priest in the back. To the amazement of all, the priest continued to say the prayers of the Mass as though nothing had occurred. It was at first presumed that the bullet had miraculously missed its target. However, upon examination, the bullet was found ADHERING TO THE LITTLE BROWN SCAPULAR which the priest had so obstinately refused to be without.
ConversionsWe should even give the Scapular to non-Catholics for Our Lady will bring conversions to those who will wear it and say one Hail Mary each day, as the following true story will show. An old man was rushed to the St. Simon Stock Hospital in New York City, unconscious and dying. The nurse, seeing the Brown Scapular on the patient, called the priest. As the prayers were being said for the dying man, he became conscious and spoke up: “Father, I am not a Catholic.” "Then why are you wearing the Brown Scapular?” asked the priest. “I promised my friends to wear it,” the patient explained, “and say one Hail Mary a day.” “You are dying,” the priest told him. “Do you want to become a Catholic?” “All my life I wanted to be one,” the dying man replied. He was baptized, received the Last Rites, and died in peace. Our Lady took another soul under Her mantle through Her Scapular!
A Call to FervorIn October of 1952, an Air Force officer in Texas wrote the following: “Six months ago, shortly after I started wearing the Scapular, I experienced a remarkable change in my life. Almost at once, I started going to Mass every day. After a short time, I started going to receive Holy Communion daily. I kept Lent with a fervor that I had never ex- perienced before. I was introduced to the practice of meditation, and found myself making feeble attempts on the way to perfection. I have been trying to live with God. I credit Mary's Scapular.”
Necessity of Wearing the ScapularDuring the Spanish civil war in the 1930's, seven Communists were sentenced to death because of their crimes. A Carmelite priest tried to prepare the men for death; they refused. As a last resort, he brought the men cigarettes, food and wine, assuring them that he would not talk religion. In a short while, they were all friendly, so he asked them for one small favor: “Will you permit me to place a Scapular on each of you?” Six agreed; one refused. Soon all Scapular wearers went to confession. The seventh continued to refuse. Only to please them, he put on a Scapular, he would do nothing more. Morning came, and as the moment of execution drew near, the seventh man made it clear that he was not going to ask for the priest. Although wearing the Scapular, he was determined to go to his death an enemy of God. Finally, the command was given, the firing squad did its deadly work, and seven lifeless bodies lay sprawled in the dust. Mysteriously, a Scapular was found approximately 50 paces from the bodies. Six men died WITH Mary's Scapular; the seventh died WITHOUT the Scapular. Blessed Claude gives us the solution to the mystery of the missing Scapular: "You ask, "What if I desire to die in my sins?" I answer, "Then you will die in your sins, BUT YOU WILL NOT DIE IN YOUR SCAPULAR." Blessed Claude tells the story of a man who tried to drown himself three times. He was rescued against his will. At last he realized that he was wearing his Scapular. Determined to take his life, he tore the Scapular from his neck and leaped into the water. Without Mary's protective garment he accomplished his wish, and died in his sins.
Further MiraclesA Jesuit missionary in Guatamala tells an incident of Our Lady's Scapular protection. In November of 1955 a plane carrying 27 passengers crashed. All died except one young lady. When this girl saw that the plane was going down, she took hold of her Scapular, and called on Mary for help. She suffered burns, her clothing was reduced to ashes, but her Scapular was not touched by the flames. In the same year of 1955, a similar miracle occurred in the Midwest. A 3rd-grader stopped in a gasoline station to put air in his bicycle tires, and at that very moment an explosion occurred. The boy's clothing was burned off, but his Brown Scapular remained unaffected: a symbol of Mary's protection. Today, although he still bears a few scars from the explosion, this young man has special reason to remember the Blessed Mother's protection in time of danger. The story below is true. It was originally published in a German periodical under the title of "Seine Mutter Meine Mutter" by A.M. Weigl and translated by Anna C. Pertsch. It is reprinted with the kind courtesy and permission of Fatima Findings in Baltimore, Md., a publication of the Reparation Society of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Horrifying NewsAn hour later we received orders to proceed about a mile and a half further and to occupy a trench there. We were looking forward to being able to get a peaceful night's sleep in that trench. I was about to lie down and was unbuttoning my collar when to my horror I realized that I no longer had my Scapular. It had been a gift from my mother. I had had it with me all during the war and now that we were approaching the lion's den was I to be deprived of it? To go fetch it was unthinkable, so I tried not to think about it any more and to go to sleep. I pitched and tossed from my left side to my right, but I couldn't get to sleep. All around me, my buddies were sleeping like logs even though from time to time shells fell dangerously close. Finally I was overcome by the desire to get my Scapular back and I crept out among my sleeping companions. It wasn't so easy to get past the sentry but I managed to do it and ran back the way we had come. It was pitch dark, but nevertheless I had good luck and in a short time I was back on the farm and at the pump. My hands glided searchingly all over the pump but the Scapular was gone. I was just about to strike a match when there was the sound of a dreadful explosion. What was I to do? Was that the sign of an enemy attack? As fast as I could I ran back to our trench. Maybe I could do something for my buddies there.
A Very Close CallNear the trench I saw the engineers busily at work hurriedly removing piles of dirt and barbed wire. At the very spot where my companions had been sleeping there yawned a gigantic shell-hole. Before they had vacated this trench the enemy had placed a time-bomb in it and it had exploded during my absence. Nobody survived the explosion. If I had not set out to fetch my Scapular, I would have been buried under that rubble too.
"Thought You Were There!”On the following morning I went to the field kitchen and met a buddy there. He looked at me with astonishment. “I thought you were in that trench!” “And I thought you were buried there!” My friend continued, “I was lying in the trench, but before I went to sleep I went looking for you. But I couldn't find you. The corporal saw me hunting around and asked me what I wanted. When I told him what I was doing there he said, "Be sensible! Instead go to that inn nearby and get me a bottle of water." "And while I was on this errand, the explosion occurred.”
Handed Me My Scapular“Well, I escaped it by a hair's breadth too,” I replied. „But why on earth were you looking for me so late at night?” "To give you this,” he replied, and handed me my Scapular which he had taken from the old pump.
A Shield in Time of BattleMr. Sisto Mosco of North Providence, Rhode Island, is a veteran of World War II, who survived, unscathed, the invasion of Normandy, and, later, the 7th Fleet War with the Japanese Fleet, the taking of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and other bloody battles in the South Pacific. Sisto affirms that his miraculous escape is another perfect example of the powerful protection of Our Blessed Mother of Mount Carmel, through Her Brown Scapular.
“I was on the battleship the U.S.S. Nevada as chaplain's yeoman during W. W. II in the Pacific. (I always wore my Scapular because I was brought up close to the Church, and I kept it on me all through the war.) The ship was loaded with dynamite. A suicide plane hit the deck, real close to where I was positioned. The blast blew open the bolted steel doors of the compartment. I alone was left uninjured after the explosion. The rest were all dead or seriously mangled. I was the only one untouched and I attribute it to the wearing of my Scapular.”
Mr. Mosco later received a commendation from the Admiral of the fleet for bravery, but in his heart he firmly believes that the credit goes to Our Lady, the Virgin most powerful, who works such wonders through Her Habit of Salvation.
Vatican ApprovalIn wearing the Scapular at all times we make silent petition for the Blessed Mother's continual assistance. We share in all the prayers and good works of the Carmelite Scapular Confraternity throughout the world. Pope Pius XII often spoke of the Scapular. On the 700th anniversary of the appearance of Our Lady to St. Simon Stock, Pope Pius XII referred to the Scapular as “the Sign of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary”. The Scapular also represents the sweet yoke of Jesus Christ which Mary helps us to bear. And finally, the Pope continued, the Scapular marks us as one of Mary's chosen children, and becomes for us (as the Germans call it) a “Garment of Grace”. Blessed Claude tells us, “Of all the pious practices which have inspired the faithful to honor the Mother of God, there is none so sure as that of the Scapular. No other devotion has been confirmed by so many and such extraordinary miracles.”
As we mentioned above, during the Scapular Anniversary celebration in Rome in 1951, Pope Pius XII told a very large audience to wear the Brown Scapular as a sign of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our Lady asked for this consecration in the last apparition at Fatima, when She appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, holding the Brown Scapular out to the whole world. It was Her last moving appeal to souls to wear Her Scapular as a sign of consecration to Her Immaculate Heart.
A Brief SummaryThe Scapular is a habit -- Our Lady's habit. The Scapular must be worn over the shoulders in such a manner that one part hangs in front of the body and the other in back. Worn in any other way, it carries no indulgence or promise. It is not necessary to wear the Scapular next to the skin. Many Catholics may not know it is the wish of the Holy Father, the Pope, that the Scapular Medal should not be worn in place of the Cloth Scapular without sufficient reason. Mary cannot be pleased with anyone who substitutes the medal out of vanity, or out of fear of making open profession of faith. Such persons run the risk of not receiving the Promise. The medal has never been noted for any of the miraculous preservations attributed to the Brown Cloth Scapular.
May a non-Catholic wear the BROWN SCAPULAR? Yes, and in so doing, a non- Catholic will receive many graces and blessings with this special sign of devotion to the Mother of God. Although baptized Catholics are the only ones who can be officially enrolled in the Confraternity and share in the special Scapular privileges, non-Catholics are warmly encouraged to avail themselves of this special way of honoring Jesus' Mother. By wearing the Scapular, we are dedicated to Our Blessed Mother in a special way and have a strong claim upon Her protection and intercession.
In ConclusionQ. What is the Scapular?
A. The Scapular is a small replica of the religious habit consisting of two pieces of wool connected by ribbons and worn under one's clothes so that one piece hangs in front and the other in back. Along with the Rosary and the Miraculous Medal, the Scapular is one of the chief Marian sacramentals.
Q. And what is a sacramental?
A. A sacramental is anything set apart or blessed by the Church to excite good thoughts and to increase devotion, and through these movements of the heart, to remit venial sin.
Q. Is it the sacramental itself that gives grace?
A. No, it is not the sacramental itself that gives grace, but the devotion, the love of God, or sorrow for sin that it inspires. In using the sacramentals, the more devotion we have, the more grace we receive.
Q. What is the difference between sacraments and sacramentals?
A. The difference between the sacraments and the sacramentals is: 1st, the sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ and the sacramentals were instituted by the Church; 2nd, the sacraments give grace of themselves when we place no obstacle in the way; the sacramentals excite in us pious dispositions, by means of which we may obtain grace.
Q. What are some of the other sacramentals besides the Scapular?
A. The sign of the Cross is the chief sacramental used in the Church, besides which we have holy water, blessed candles, ashes, palms, crucifixes, and images of the Blessed Virgin and of the saints, the Rosary, and Miraculous Medal.
Q. Why do we call it a Scapular?
A. The word “Scapular” comes from the Latin word “scapulae” meaning “shoulders”. The Scapular is actually a miniature form of a monk's habit by the same name which is a sleeveless outer garment falling from the shoulders to the feet.
Q. Why do we wear the Scapular?
A. We wear the Scapular to indicate that we place ourselves under the special protection of the Blessed Virgin. We can tell to what army or nation a soldier belongs by the uniform he wears; so we can consider the Scapular as the particular uniform of those who desire to serve the Blessed Virgin in some special manner.
Q. May a non-Catholic wear the Scapular?
A. By all means--non-Catholics may wear the Scapular, and by so doing, will draw down upon their souls much actual grace from Heaven. Our Lady, as a good Mother will bring conversions to those who honor Her by wearing Her Scapular.
Q. Must the Scapular be blessed before wearing it?
A. The first Scapular to be worn must be blessed and imposed by a Priest using the formula contained in the Roman ritual for reception into the Confraternity of the Scapular.
Q. What are the words used by the priest when enrolling a person in the Brown Scapular?
A. The words used by the priest when enrolling a person in the Confraternity of the Scapular are as follows: “Receive this blessed habit; praying the most holy Virgin, that by Her merits thou mayest wear it without stain; and that She may guard thee from all evil and bring thee to life everlasting. R. Amen.
By the power granted me, I admit thee to the participation of all the spiritual good works, which through the gracious help of Jesus Christ are performed by the religious of Mount Carmel. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. R. Amen.
May the Creator of Heaven and earth, Almighty God, bless thee; Who hath deigned to unite thee to the confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. We beseech Her, in the hour of thy death, to crush the head of the old serpent; so that thou mayest in the end win the everlasting palm and crown of the heavenly inheritance. Through Christ Our Lord. R. Amen.”
Q. Would there be a sin if one ceased to wear the Scapular after having received it?
A. No, it would not be a sin, but by so doing, one would lose all the benefits promised. If, having ceased to wear the Scapular, even for several years, one should decide to wear it once again, no new ceremony of imposition is necessary.
Q. After having received the initial Scapular from a priest do subsequent Scapulars need to be blessed?
A. No, subsequent Scapulars need not be blessed as the blessing and imposition are attached to the wearer for life.
Q. What should be done with the Scapular when it is worn out?
A. The Scapular, being a sacred object, when it becomes worn out must be either buried or burned. It should not be disposed of in the regular garbage.
Q. What is the Sabbatine Privilege? A. The Sabbatine Privilege consists essentially in the early liberation from Purgatory through the special intercession of Mary, which She graciously exercises in favor of Her devoted servants.. . on the day consecrated to Her, Saturday.
Q. What are the requirements to make oneself eligible for the Sabbatine Privilege?
A. There are three conditions for the gaining of the Sabbatine Privilege. They are:
(1) We must WEAR THE SCAPULAR.
(2) OBSERVE CHASTITY according to our state in life.
(3) RECITE THE LITTLE OFFICE OF OUR BLESSED MOTHER (The Rosary or some other pious work can be substituted for the Office of Our Lady. The faculty to sanction this change was granted to ALL CONFESSORS by Pope Leo XIII in the Decree of the Congregation of Indulgences in June of 1901).
The Promise of Our LadyOur Lady Herself has said, "Take this Scapular. Whosoever dies wearing it shall not suffer eternal fire. It shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger, and a pledge of peace.”
Holy Virgin of Mount Carmel, Our Lady of the Scapular, pray for us!
Recommendation to One's Guardian Angel For a Happy Hour of Death by St. Charles Borromeo
My good Angel: I know not when or how I shall die. It is possible I may be carried off suddenly, and that before my last sigh I may be deprived of all intelligence. Yet how many things I would wish to say to God on the threshold of eternity. In the full freedom of my will today, I come to charge you to speak for me at that fearful moment. You will say to Him, then, O my good Angel: That I wish to die in the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church in which all the saints since Jesus Christ have died, and out of which there is no salvation. That I ask the grace of sharing in the infinite merits of my Redeemer and that I desire to die in pressing to my lips the cross that was bathed in His Blood! That I detest my sins because they displease Him, and that I pardon through love of Him all my enemies as I wish myself to be pardoned. That I die willingly because He orders it and that I throw myself with confidence into His adorable Heart awaiting all His Mercy. That in my inexpressible desire to go to Heaven I am disposed to suffer everything it may please His sovereign Justice to inflict on me. That I love Him before all things, above all things and for His own sake; that I wish and hope to love Him with the Elect, His Angels and the Blessed Mother during all Eternity. Do not refuse, O my Angel, to be my interpreter with God, and to protest to Him that these are my sentiments and my will. Amen. ********