Inspirational Resources

    Never Take It Off!
    by John Mathias Haffert, Co-founder of the blue army

    I was about five. I believe I had not even entered kindergarten. I remember almost every detail.

    It was in the upstairs hall between my father’s bedroom and the bathroom. My father told me to wait
    while he went back into his bedroom to get something. It was two pieces of cloth connected by strings.
    He was very serious. He put it over my head and said:

    I could not believe it

    “Don’t ever take this off. If you die wearing it you will go to heaven.”

    Although only five, I could not believe it. I had been told if I committed sins I would go to hell. How could
    wearing these pieces of cloth change that?

    To my father my question must have been like asking, “Why is the grass green?” The simplest answer
    is “God made it so.”

    He gave me the simple answer.

    He showed me a picture on one of the pieces of cloth. It showed the Blessed Virgin giving the cloth to
    a man who was kneeling and dad said that man was Simon Stock and the Mother of God gave him the
    cloth and told him that ANYONE who died wearing it would go to heaven. Even at the age of five I
    apparently found that too simple. My father was always in a hurry (at least so it seemed to me). He
    looked at me very seriously and said:

    “When I was a boy swimming in the river with other boys, one of them had cramps (I now think he
    meant a seizure) and could not move his arms or legs. He would have drowned but the Scapular
    floated on top and held him up until we got to him. He told us that he was in moral sin and he felt the
    Scapular held him up because of Our Lady’s promise so that he could go to Confession. Never Take It

    I never have. And now I am an old man, still trusting in Our Lady’s promise. Since then I have learned
    that the Church permits us to believe in this promise of Our Lady and that in more than 700 years
    since the time of Simon Stock, it has never been known that a single, solitary person who died
    wearing the Scapular died rejecting God.

    When you come to think of it, how could they?

    My father gave me an answer like, “the grass is green because God made it that way.” At five I may not
    have understood that the moment I took that Scapular from him and put it over my shoulders I was
    saying to God: “I BELIEVE IN YOU!” I believe in the intercession of Our Lady, I believe in Your Mercy, I
    believe in Hell which I trust I shall avoid if I persevere, I believe in heaven, I believe!”

    I was also saying: “My God, I HOPE in you! I trust in Your Mercy through the prayers of Our Lady, my
    Heavenly Mother!”

    Finally I was saying: “My God, I WANT YOU IN MY LIFE! I will wear this sign of Our Lady’s promise
    because I WANT to be with You in Heaven forever!” And that is love.

    No, I did not know I was doing all that. But indeed I was. And when I was old enough to understand, I
    marveled at this simple gift of Out Heavenly Mother by which at every moment I practice the three most
    important of all virtues. They are known as the “theological” virtues: Faith, Hope, and Charity.

    How would it be possible for anyone to go to hell who professing faith, hope, and love?

    Oh what a precious gift our Heavenly Mother has given us!... a gift of the theological virtues, a gift to
    those who die practicing them. It is also a precious gift to those who survive to rejoice in the
    knowledge that those whom they love have died in this sign from their Heavenly Mother of faith, hope,
    and love.

    In Her final appearance at Fatima, Our Lady held the Scapular as though offering it once again to the
    whole world. Lucia said She did this, “because She wants everyone to wear it.”
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