Next in our Sacramental Series, we’re learning about Scapulars. We’ll talk specifically about the Brown Scapular today but there are several different color scapulars each with their own particular devotion.
The Scapular is a beautiful tradition of our Church started with the Carmelite Order. The Carmelites, unlike many of the orders founded around the same time, have no saintly founder that we know of. Instead, the order was founded by laymen who were former crusaders. Their community began on Mt. Carmel in Palestine, the same mountain on which Elijah defended the faith in One True God from via a challenge of the priests of Baal. After religious persecution (meaning martyrdom for some), the Carmelites returned to Europe around 1235.
Now, if you’re like me, you have been wearing a scapular for decades, so this next bit might be troubling, but Stay With Me… Carmelite St. Simon’s vision of Mary in July of 1251, which included the gift of the scapular, has not actually been given an official “Truth” stamp by The Church. Unlike Fatima (1917) or Lourdes (1858) or Guadalupe (1531), this vision has not been verified. Part of this is due to the fact that it happened long ago (1251-ish). Records that might have documented the vision have been lost. Some say that is was an attempt to legitimize the Carmelite order, who unlike the Benedictines, Franciscans, Dominicans, etc. had no saintly founder. Infact, St. Simon’s feast day (May 16th) had been removed from the calendar for a time, only to be placed back with the understanding that no mention of the vision would be made. (Check out his bio on the Carmelite Website)
REGARDLESS: As Nancy states: throughout the history of Our Church, heresies have been uprooted and destroyed. The scapular, much like the rosary, remains. Although as I child, I thought of it as a ‘get out of Hell free’ card, as an adult I wear it as a sign to my devotion to Our Blessed Mother, a physical reminder that I am under her protection and I have pledged myself to be “totus tuus.”
There is a rite of investiture in the brown scapular that any priest can perform for you (Nancy’s family takes ‘the plunge’ this coming spring!!!). Part of being vested is a pledge to pray some form or Marian Devotion daily (the rosary) and to live chastely according to your state in life.
Let’s close with the morning offering of those who wear a scapular (which I found here):
O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary (here kiss the scapular as a sign of your consecration), I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the altars throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word and action of this day. O my Jesus, I desire today to gain every indulgence and merit I can, and I offer them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, that she may best apply them to the interests of Thy most Sacred Heart. Precious Blood of Jesus, save us! Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us! Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
Your Sisters in the Small Things,
Nancy and Katie
Need a scapular?