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Saturday, August 23, 2014

DINNER WITH THE SAINTS: A Whimsical Conversation on the Queenship of Mary

By Susan Fox

“So Bathshe’ba went to King Solomon, to speak to him on behalf of Adoni’jah. And the king rose to meet her, and bowed down to her, then he sat on his throne, and had a seat brought for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right. Then she said, “I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me.” And the king said to her ‘Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you.’” (1 Kings 2:19-20)

Pope Saint John Paul II says
grace before our meal 
Aug. 22, 2014 -- Imagine we are at a sit-down dinner with the late Pope Saint John Paul II. He is about to explain why he chose the motto for his papacy, “Totus Tuus.” It is shortly after he became pope in 1978. 

The pasta is delicious, the red wine -- Italy’s best. But you look up and think, “Totus Tuus?” Why that means “totally yours” in Latin. Why did he pick that motto?
The longer version is “I am all yours, my Queen and my Mother, and all that I have is yours.” And you can almost imagine yourself even further back in time with another queen mother --- Bathshe’ba – who is requesting a favor from her son, King Solomon.

And he responds: “Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you.”

With fork in hand, the pope very casually explains that passage from the Old Testament, and points out simply that since God entrusted Himself to the little virgin from Nazareth, why should we ourselves fear to do so?

The pope understands that belonging totally to the Queen of Heaven, means belonging totally to its King. And isn’t that the point of our Baptism in Christ? To belong to God? For Mary never withholds any gift from Her Beloved Son. And if a flawed human being, such as King Solomon, would not refuse his own mother’s request, what would the King of Heaven do, faced with a request from his mother, Mary?
So passionate about the religious
life, St. Bernard of Clairvaux
drew 30 of his friends and
relatives into the monastery with
him, including his widowed
father, uncles and brothers.
If we recognize the Mellifluous (honey-tongued) Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) as a guest at our dinner table, we will be told: “Just as Mary surpassed in grace all others on earth, so also in heaven is her glory unique. If eye has not seen or ear heard or the human heart conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor 2:9), who can express what He has prepared for the woman who gave Him birth and who loved Him, as everyone knows, more than anyone else?"

As the conversation goes on, Bernard, the sweet-talking Cistercian monk, tells us about relying on the Queen of Heaven: “God has wanted that we obtain nothing if not through the hands of Mary.”

Whoops, over there at the end of the table, Saint Philip Neri wants to say something: “Believe me, there is no more powerful means to obtain God’s grace than to employ the intercessions of the Holy Virgin.” Pretty strong testimony, yes? Many others throughout the centuries have said the same.

Actually, in his personal life and his pontificate, Pope John Paul II profoundly understood that entering a deep relationship with Mary is the Key to a deeper relationship with each Person in the Community of Persons known as the Holy
Trinity. Perhaps even Bruce Springsteen unconsciously alluded to this humble relationship with God as the Key to "Life Itself.” “You were life itself, rushing over me, life itself, the wind in the black elms. Life itself, in your heart and in your eyes -- I can't make it without you.”

If we invite the 17th century priest, St. Louis Marie de Montfort, to dinner -- and I know that Pope John Paul II would like that --  he would tell us Mary had a profound and unique relationship with God Himself! She was Daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, and Bride of the Holy Spirit.

In that context, the Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven was perhaps not such a formal affair. It was more like a Family Picnic. After all, one usually has a very comfortable relationship with one’s father, son and husband.  Entering into relationship with Mary allows us to develop and understand our own unique relationship with each Person of the Blessed Trinity. And someday, hopefully, when God crowns us with glory, we will feel the same sense of intimacy with Him.

Author of True Devotion
to Mary
: St. Louis Marie
de Montfort
Working in a chemical factory in Poland in his youth, Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) read and studied, True Devotion to Mary written by the priest baptized in Montfort. The French priest Father Louis Marie coined the phrase the pope so loved, “Totus Tuus.”  The pope’s copy of that spiritual classic had worn pages stained with chemicals, but it remained by his bedside during his lifetime.

I know that some think of Mary as a female incubator -- something to be discarded after she gave birth to Jesus Christ, perhaps remembered briefly in a Nativity Scene at Christmas. But let me ask this question, “Which God ordered us to ‘Honor your father and your mother?’” Was it a Hindu god? Did Baal order us to honor our mothers? Did one of the 886 gods of Shintoism order us to honor our mothers?

No, it was the Judeo-Christian God who ordered such. And He so loved the world that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world -- not to condemn it, but to save it.

And God actually chose, created and designed the mother that He would honor, the Mother of His Son, Jesus. He had it in His mind to create her from the very beginning. Proverbs foreshadows her coming: “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His ways, before He made anything from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made.”(Proverbs 8: 22-23)

Eight centuries before the Birth of Jesus, Isaiah prophesized: “The virgin shall be with Child.” And the Child’s name would be Emmanuel. It means “God is with us.”

Mary, a human being herself, became God’s sole entry point into human history.  “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” could never be said, if Mary had not agreed: “Be it done to me according to thy word.” Why? Because that is the way God wanted it.

God passionately wanted to dwell with humankind. That is the message of the Old Testament.  “I will be your God, and you will be my people.”  (Lev. 26:12, Gen. 17:8, Exodus 6:7, Exodus 29:45, Jeremiah 7:23, Joel 2:27, Rev. 21:7)

He wanted to get close to us. How close? Very close. With the Israelites, the best He could achieve was to wall Himself up into a golden box to be carried around with them in the desert.  Bumpy ride. There was resistance.
The Annunciation

But with Mary, Daughter of Zion, God found no resistance. “Word” in the phrase, “Be it done to me according to Thy Word,” is better translated as “Voice.” When the Angel Gabriel spoke to the virgin from Nazareth and asked her to become the Mother of the Most High, Mary recognized the “Voice” so profoundly that God’s Own Voice was received and bore fruit in her human body. Aha! God had found a means to enter the world and dwell with mankind. “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14)

Now let us include as the pope’s dinner guest a friend of mine from Seattle. I’ll call her “Ruth.” (She has a sensitive job.) We are both 61-year-old Catholics, so, of course, over cocktails and oysters, we entered a deep conversation on the Woman of Genesis 3:15.

As if she was giving me a deep dark secret, Ruth said with lowered voice that she had discovered that if we think of God as an Artist, Mary was His greatest masterpiece. Mary is the greatest Masterpiece of God’s Creation.

Not only that, but she said in a deep whisper that I had to believe her because Bishop Saint Irenaeus of Lyons said the same thing. Saint Irenaeus is a follower of St. Polycarp, a disciple of the Apostle John the Evangelist himself.

So let’s get St. Irenaeus, third generation Christian, to be present at our dinner, shall we? Speak up Irenaeus! “Even though Eve had Adam for a husband, she was still a virgin... By disobeying, Eve became the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race. In the same way Mary, though she had a husband, was still a virgin, and by obeying, she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.”

Forget superstars. Who cares about Guardians of the Galaxy, or radioactive Spiderman, or Captain America?  We got the Mother of God in our human family, and she saved the whole human race by one act of obedience and humility, her fiat: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done to me according to thy VOICE.”

That’s why the Catholic Church calls Mary the New Eve.   Adam and Eve’s original sin of disobedience plunged the whole human race – their children – into death, sickness, and a very real weakness for sin.

It was a very dark moment in human history. But when the consequences of their actions were spelled out, in Genesis 3:15, God suddenly offered hope. Speaking to the serpent He said: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

With Genesis 3:15, the New Eve and the New Adam enter the stage of human history: Mary, The Woman, and Jesus, Her Offspring. Together they cooperated in the redemption of mankind. Together, they crushed the serpent’s head – all resistance to God. Though redemption is won solely through the divine action of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross, Mary – as a human being – cooperated in our redemption. Kneeling at the foot of the cross, she received all mankind as her children when her Son pointed to St. John, and said, “Behold, your son.”  Her obedience paved the way for Christ’s Incarnation, Death and Resurrection – God’s dwelling with His people.

The old prophet Simeon alludes to this at Christ’s circumcision in the temple: “And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, ‘Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed -- and a sword will pierce even your own soul -- to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.’” (Luke 2:34-35)

That prophesy was fulfilled when the New Adam – a sign to be opposed --  hung on the cross and died, while Mary, the New Eve – heart pierced with sorrow – watched. 
Jesus' Mother & St. John
the Evangelist at the
foot of the Cross
No, she didn’t just watch, she agreed to it. She cooperated. This relationship is further foreshadowed in the Old Testament. When the Israelites confessed their sins, they brought an animal sacrifice to the temple. They literally explained what they did wrong based on what they brought to be killed. The male unblemished lamb was sacrificed for public sin. The female ewe lamb was sacrificed for private sin – so that the (private) thoughts of many might be revealed.

Mary’s husband, affectionately known as St. Joseph, is dining with us tonight on the Feast of her Queenship. He is a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her. So when he recognized she was with child, he thought to divorce her secretly. (If he had fathered her child that never would have entered his mind.)  But when he had thought about this plan, an angel appeared to him in a dream, and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. "She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." (Matt 1: 20-21)

What’s that you say, Joseph? You want me to the tell the people not to be afraid to take Mary into their homes? Or sorry, that was St. John the Beloved Disciple. He received Mary as his Mother at the foot of the cross. “Then He (Jesus) said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" From that hour the disciple took her into his own household. (John 19:27)
Mary, Queen of Angels
Father Louis Marie wants to say something as well: "Mary has the authority over the angels and the blessed in heaven. As a reward for her great humility, God gave her the power and mission of assigning to saints the thrones made vacant by the apostate angels who fell away through pride. Such is the will of the almighty God who exalts the humble, that the powers of heaven, earth and hell, willingly or unwillingly, must obey the commands of the humble Virgin Mary. For God has made her queen of heaven and earth, leader of his armies, keeper of his treasure, dispenser of his graces, mediatrix on behalf of men, destroyer of his enemies, and faithful associate in his great works and triumphs."

What an interesting dinner conversation. I wish we could do this every night. But tonight is special, the Feast of the Queenship of Mary.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Blues Poem for An American Lost

A Tribute to Nina Simone AKA Eunice Waymon, Civil Rights Activist, who wrote and sang "Mississippi G----m" in 1965 in response to the assassination of civil rights activist Medgar Evers and the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama.**

by Susan Fox

Nina, I know you meant every word.
What you endured leaves me aggrieved.
“Goin’ home now,” you sang. Isn’t that na├»ve?
They ripped that word from your bones.
Heart-breaking Tragedy: Medgar Evers widow consoles
her 9-year-old son at her husband's funeral service
Someone assassinated Medgar Evers*
What burns me: the double stunner --
they wouldn’t let him in the hospital because of color.
Took 30 years, but they finally caught that white sand dollar.

That made you so mad you damned Mississippi.
Turned your hometown into the Forbidden City.
Can’t go back. You took a stance.
So you roamed: Liberia, Switzerland, the South of France.
Step-child of Africa, Nina Simone, but it was never home
Did you find a place your heart could own?

You died in France, but sweet Eunice, your lovely face found a home.
Your outrage, your beauteous voice, your grief for our nation:
These things settled here, my dear.
Some of us woke up.
It was just too late.
You couldn’t come home.

Lovely Nina Simone in self-exile in Holland 1965
*Civil Rights Activist Medgar Evers died at the hospital after he was shot in the back in his driveway in Jackson, Mississippi on June 12, 1963. He originally was refused admittance to the hospital because of his color, but was finally admitted when it was explained who he was (Source: Wikipedia) It took 30 years, but his murderer, Byron De La Beckwith, a fertilizer salesman and a member of the Ku Klux Klan, was convicted and imprisoned in 1994. He died at the age of 80 in prison in 2001. Nina Simone followed him into the next life in 2003.
**Nina was also angry because of the White Supremacist bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963, which killed four little girls.  

The name of this tune is Mississippi Goddam
And I mean every word of it

Alabama's gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

Alabama's gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

Can't you see it? Can't you feel it?
It's all in the air
I can't stand the pressure much longer
Somebody say a prayer

Alabama's gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

This is a show tune
But the show hasn't been written for it, yet

Hound dogs on my trail
School children sitting in jail
Black cat cross my path
I think everyday's gonna be my last

Lord, have mercy on this land of mine
We all gonna get it in due time
I don't belong here, I don't belong there
I've even stopped believing in prayer

Don't tell me, I tell you
Me and my people just about due
I've been there so I know
They keep on saying, "Go slow!"

But that's just the trouble, do it slow
Washing the windows, do it slow
Picking the cotton, do it slow
You're just plain rotten, do it slow

You're too damn lazy, do it slow
The thinking's crazy, do it slow
Where am I going? What am I doing?
I don't know, I don't know

Just try to do your very best
Stand up be counted with all the rest
For everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

I bet you thought I was kiddin'

Picket lines, school boy cots
They try to say it's a communist plot
All I want is equality
For my sister, my brother, my people and me

Yes, you lied to me all these years
You told me to wash and clean my ears
And talk real fine just like a lady
And you'd stop calling me Sister Sadie

Oh, but this whole country is full of lies
You're all gonna die and die like flies
I don't trust you any more
You keep on saying, "Go slow! Go slow!"

But that's just the trouble, do it slow
Desegregation, do it slow
Mass participation, do it slow
Reunification, do it slow

Do things gradually, do it slow
But bring more tragedy, do it slow
Why don't you see it? Why don't you feel it?
I don't know, I don't know

You don't have to live next to me
Just give me my equality
Everybody knows about Mississippi
Everybody knows about Alabama
Everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

That's it!

Nina Simone

Friday, August 15, 2014

GARMENT OF GRACE: The Brown and The Blue

“By dedicating ourselves to her (Our Lady) we become in her hands instruments of God’s mercy even as she was such an instrument in God’s hands.” (St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, martyr of Auschwitz)

by Susan Fox

“What a pretty necklace!”
Author Susan Fox wearing the Brown Scapular
of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. 

“Yes, it is,” I think, wearing the short version around my neck, and also, “Great! Another person attracted to God.”

“Yes,” I answer out loud, “It is the Arms of God. And Big Arms they are. For I am wearing the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and those Arms mean that I belong to God Alone and not to the world.”

“Think of it as a Catholic altar call,” I say, “When other Christians go forward to the altar to establish God’s reign in their lives, Catholics wear the Brown Scapular.”

Catholic Comedian Char Vance joked about this garment of grace, saying, “It’s fire insurance.”    Our Lady promised "...whosoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire."

In one quick meeting, I usually don’t tell them that the Brown Scapular has more blessings associated with it than any other scapular in the Catholic Church, nor do I say -- but it’s true anyway -- that everyone in the world should wear such a garment of grace, a miniature work apron of the Carmelite Order, for the simple reason that it is a baptismal garment whether you are formally baptized or baptized by desire. Nothing defiled shall enter into heaven. Nothing defiled shall enter into the Triune Community Life of God for all eternity. But those who desire it shall.
Our Lady gives St. Simon Stock the Brown Scapular
The Carmelites – newly transplanted to England in 1251 – argued among themselves about the appearance of the outer coat of their habit. The Blessed Mother settled the matter when she gave them the Brown Scapular, telling St. Simon Stock that she modeled the scapular on the humble work apron of the Carmelites because she valued their work more than their pretty outer plumage. People are surprised when I tell them that the two little brown squares of my “necklace” are actually miniature work aprons. 

Wearing the Brown Scapular is a means of saying to God that you want to throw all the idols out of your life – money, work, health, success, a handsome boyfriend/pretty girlfriend, fashion, other people’s opinions, and dare I mention shopping -- anything you are attached to other than God. Throw them out. Embrace your freedom.
This Brown Scapular is
normally worn under one's clothes

The Brown Scapular is a sign that Mary is leading you to Jesus. It says you accept the yoke of Mary and her fiat – “Be it done to me according to your word.”  Those are the words she spoke in the shadow of Mount Carmel to the Angel Gabriel when she was asked to be the Mother of God. So if you can only wear one scapular, make it the Brown.

     However, if you wish to live a holy and spotless life; if you really wish to push yourself as far as possible to love the Lord your God with your Whole Heart and if there is room in your life for a second scapular, consider the Blue.

"I am the Immaculate Conception,” Our Lady told St. Bernadette at Lourdes, France. Wearing the Blue Scapular is a way of honoring Mary in her Immaculate Conception. And who better to lead us out of sin, to push us on to a perfect life than Mary herself? Jesus wants us to “be perfect” as His Heavenly Father is perfect. Mary herself, the greatest masterpiece of God’s Creation, holds the key to that process.

She was conceived without original sin by the special merits of her Son’s subsequent Passion, Death and Resurrection. Mary, like all of us, was saved by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

But God is outside of time! And He chose to apply the merits of His Son’s death to His Mother’s conception so that Mary could become the New Ark of the Covenant – the spotless vessel of Divine Mercy, Jesus Himself.

Neither the Blue nor the Brown have to be worn as a scapular. The Blue Scapular of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary comes with a medal, which can be substituted for the Blue Scapular. One can fix the medal to one’s Brown scapular or one’s underclothing.

The Brown Scapular recalls the events on Mount Carmel in the Old Testament. Remember it was on Mount Carmel that the prophet Elijah proved to the pagan priests of the god, Baal, that Yahweh was the one, true and living God. And for that reason wearing the Brown is a first step into a life of striving for holiness. 

Elijah told them to go get their fat bullock and he said, “I’ll get mine. Then we’ll see whose god is the true God.” Elijah reasoned that if the gods of Baal were real, they would burn up the bullock provided by their priests, and if Yahweh was the one true God he would burn up Elijah’s sacrifice.

There were some 500 priests of Baal, and they all worked for Jezebel, the evil queen of Israel. So they laid out the sacrifice, repeated their meaningless words and cut themselves, but still Baal did not burn up their sacrifice. It took so much time that Elijah cracked a joke:  “Where is your gods? Have they gone aside?”  According to the footnote in one Catholic Bible, that means, “Excuse me, but have they gone to the restroom?”

It was now Elijah’s turn to pray to His God. He dumped tons of water on his bull, and he built a moat around the bull, and filled it with water. Excuse me, how will this will assist God in burning up the sacrifice??
Elijah vs: Baal
God consumes the sacrifice

It won’t. But when Elijah called on Yahweh, fire came from heaven instantly, and the sacrifice was burned up completely, and the water dried up in the moat. That’s how God likes to consume His sacrifices – all of it at once. And that’s the kind of passionate relationship you step into when you wear the Brown.

The Old Testament recounts that the Israelites killed the priests of Baal, all 500 of them that afternoon. Now just substitute the names of your own idols for those 500 priests: shopping, good food, control, power, a big house, other people’s opinions, wanting a cute boyfriend/girlfriend at any cost, wanting your neighbor’s goods, seeing your neighbor’s faults  – anything you might be attached to other than God Himself. Kill them all!

“Love the Lord Your God with your whole heart, your whole mind, your whole strength and your whole being.” Or as Mary said, “My whole being proclaims the greatness of the Lord!”
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Now it is an interesting footnote to this story that Our Lady of Mount Carmel also appeared in the sun during the miracle of the sun at Fatima, Portugal, on Oct. 13, 1917. It was raining that day, and the ground was soaked. The people’s clothes were soaked. Then the sun came down out of the sky and appeared to rush toward some 70,000 spectators who came to witness the miracle God had promised. Everyone was frightened, and they called on God to save them.

Meanwhile, the Fatima visionaries, Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia, saw of Our Lady in her brown Carmelite habit in the sun. And after the miracle was over, everyone noticed that the sun had dried the muddy ground and their clothes completely. All the water from the soaking rain earlier that day was gone. God had accepted the sacrifice of the people at Fatima in the same manner he accepted Elijah’s sacrifice on Mount Carmel. In the same manner, He will accept your sacrifice when you put on the Brown.
The Blue Scapular
The Blue Scapular is for those who want heaven to soak them in special graces. The requirements to wear the Blue Scapular fit readily into the lifestyle of someone who is already consecrated themselves to Jesus through Mary. If you have not done that, see  Confessions of a Scrupulous Devotee of Mary and SOLDIER AND CHILD: Rock of True Devotion to Mary

The requirements are that you show special devotion to the Blessed Mother in the mystery of her Immaculate Conception, that you wear the blue scapular or the medal consistently, that you live a life of chastity according to your state in life, that you pray for the sick and dying, the souls in Purgatory, sinners, and for God’s mercy on the world. I don’t know about you, but I have added these intentions to my prayer list many times, but it is really only necessary to do it once, telling our Lady you give your life to her keeping and ask her to remember these intentions for you.

Also it is required that you receive the sacraments frequently especially on the feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that you pray for the souls of the deceased members of the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (all the people enrolled in the Blue Scapular), and recite daily (if possible) the Ten Virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary or the Little Office of the Immaculate Conception. But the prayer part is not a requirement.

Those who wear the scapular can receive a plenary indulgence (all penalty for sin will be removed) under the usual conditions (Mass, confession Eucharist, prayers for Pope in a church and no attachment to sin) on Dec. 8, Aug. 15, Dec. 25, Feb. 2, Easter, Ascension Thursday, the feast of St. Cajetan (Aug. 7), and at the moment of death – also on the day that you are invested with the scapular.

People who wear the Blue Scapular declare solemnly that they do not want to dedicate their lives to the passing things of this world, but – like Mary – they want to dedicate their lives to God alone.

The Blue Scapular is a sign of special devotion to Mary Immaculate, and her special help for us as her children.  The Blessed Mother with a special love embraces those who wear the Blue because we are telling her that we want to live like her – in holiness. When I was a child, I told God I needed “doubly bubbly” grace or lazy me wouldn’t make to heaven. The Brown and the Blue – worn with the right interior intention – is what I would call “doubly bubbly” grace. (That’s not a theological term of the Catholic Church.)

“O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.” With the Blue Scapular, we are saying that prayer: “Mary -- you without sin -- help me overcome my sins.”  There are many references in the Bible to putting on a clean garment, to those clad in white robes, to those who are wearing robes washed in the blood of the Lamb. The Blue Scapular is a reference to this “new” garment. Those who wear it express their desire for holiness, for remaining in union with God and for making their entire lives a liturgy to the glory of the Lord. To wear the Blue Scapular is also to put oneself under the protection of Mary’s mantle, a very good place to be.

If you have made or plan to make your consecration to Jesus through Mary, this scapular is an apt outward sign of your total consecration. St. Louis Marie de Montfort highly praised the wearing of the scapular as a means of showing devotion to Mary as long as it is accompanied by the inward desire for holiness.

The Blue Scapular is the official scapular of the Marians of Stockbridge, Mass. (the Divine Mercy Marians). As such, those who are enrolled share in the spiritual benefits of the daily Masses, prayers and other good works of the Marian priests and brothers of the Immaculate Conception.

Those who would like to receive the Blue Scapular may contact Father Michael Gaitley, MIC, Association of Marian Helpers, Eden Hill, Stockbridge, Mass. 01263. He will send you a packet including the Blue Scapular, and a Scapular Medal, and he will tell you how to get your local Catholic priest to invest you in the scapular. The authority to do so comes from the Marians, but they freely share that authority with any priest you chose. Their online catalogue is located at Online Catalogue Marians of Stockbridge, Mass. USA

The Brown Scapular also requires investment by a Catholic priest, but only once in your life, and Brown Scapulars can be purchased in most Catholic Book Stores.
The Green Scapular is for converting
your friends. 
There is another powerful tool in Our Lady’s arsenal: the Green Scapular of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It is a wonderful tool for conversion for your obstinate un-churched and lapsed Catholic friends or relatives. Hide it in a secret location in their house where they never clean. It will secure for them faith and a happy death. To accomplish this, you should recite the prayer for them daily, which appears on the Scapular:  "Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at our hour of death."

What else can we do with our obstinate friends and relatives except pray for them, and hide scapulars (the Green one) in their couch. Keep a goodly supply on your person.

Investiture is not required for the Green, but a priest should bless it. I have kept a Green Scapular in my purse for years. It has saved me from many bad situations.