Feb 14, 2014

⛪ The Brown Scapular

It is a gift to you from your Heavenly Mother.

- promise of Our Lady to St. Simon Stock on July 16, 1251

Scapulars are devotional garments in the Christian tradition, particularly within the Roman Catholic Church. They serve as both a physical and spiritual symbol of faith, devotion, and commitment to religious practices. The term "scapular" is derived from the Latin word "scapula," meaning shoulder, reflecting how the garment is worn over the shoulders.

Historical Background
The scapular originated in the monastic tradition as part of the monastic habit, a full-length apron-like garment that monks and nuns wore during manual labor to protect their clothing. Over time, the scapular evolved into a smaller, more symbolic version for laypeople, often consisting of two small pieces of cloth joined by bands and worn over the shoulders.

Types and Significance
Scapulars are associated with various religious orders and devotions, each with its own history and specific spiritual promises. Some of the most well-known scapulars include:

Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: One of the most popular scapulars, it is associated with the Carmelite Order and symbolizes devotion to the Virgin Mary. It comes with promises of Mary's protection and intercession, particularly at the time of death.

Green Scapular: Known for its connection to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, it is used for conversion and healing. It is unique in that it can be worn or simply kept in a person’s vicinity.

Blue Scapular: Dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, it is associated with the Theatine Order and symbolizes purity and devotion to Mary conceived without sin.

Red Scapular of the Passion: Promotes meditation on the Passion of Christ and is linked to the Vincentian Fathers. It symbolizes the wearer’s commitment to remembering Christ’s suffering.

Black Scapular: Associated with the Servite Order and the Seven Sorrows of Mary, it encourages meditation on Mary's grief and sorrows.

White Scapular: Related to the Trinitarian Order, it reflects devotion to the Holy Trinity and often symbolizes purity and charity.

Purpose and Benefits
Wearing a scapular serves multiple purposes:

Spiritual Protection: Many scapulars come with promises of spiritual protection and benefits, such as the assurance of Mary’s intercession and grace.

Symbol of Devotion: Scapulars act as a tangible sign of one’s commitment to a particular devotion, religious order, or set of spiritual beliefs.

Reminder of Faith: The physical presence of the scapular serves as a constant reminder to live a life by Christian virtues and to maintain one’s religious duties and prayers.

Intercessory Power: Some scapulars are believed to offer intercessory benefits, providing spiritual support and comfort to the wearer, especially at the hour of death.

Wearing the Scapular
The traditional way to wear a scapular is over the shoulders, with one piece of cloth resting on the chest and the other on the back. However, some scapulars, like the Green Scapular, can also be carried in a pocket or placed in a room.

Timeline of Scapulars in the Catholic Tradition

Early Origins

6th-12th Century
The scapular began as part of the monastic habit, worn by monks and nuns as an apron-like garment during manual labor. It symbolized service and dedication to religious life.

13th Century
Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: According to tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite, and gave him the Brown Scapular. She promised her protection and special grace to those who wear it devoutly.

16th Century
Blue Scapular of the Immaculate Conception: Established by the Theatine Order, this scapular promotes devotion to the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

White Scapular of the Holy Trinity: Introduced by the Trinitarian Order, it symbolizes devotion to the Holy Trinity and a commitment to live as a true disciple of Christ.

17th Century
Black Scapular of the Seven Dolors of Mary: The Servite Order promotes this scapular to honor the Seven Sorrows of Mary and encourages meditation on her grief and role in the Passion of Christ.

19th Century
Green Scapular: Revealed to Sister Justine Bisqueyburu of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. This scapular is associated with the Immaculate Heart of Mary and is known for conversions and healing.

Red Scapular of the Passion: Introduced by the Vincentian Fathers after a vision received by Sister Apollonia Andriveau. It focuses on the Passion of Christ and the promise of a happy death.

20th Century
1910    Introduced to promote devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, emphasizing purity and dedication.

Detailed Timeline with Specific Events and Prayers

Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Mary's promise of protection and grace for final perseverance is established. Daily devotion includes the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin or three Hail Marys.

Blue Scapular of the Immaculate Conception: Promotes devotion to Mary’s Immaculate Conception. Daily prayers include the Hail Mary and the Sub Tuum Praesidium.

White Scapular of the Holy Trinity: Devotion to the Holy Trinity with daily prayers such as the Glory Be to the Father.

Black Scapular of the Seven Dolors of Mary: Dedicated to Mary’s sorrows, encouraging prayers related to the Seven Sorrows of Mary.

Green Scapular: Focuses on conversion and healing through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Daily prayer includes “Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.”

Red Scapular of the Passion: Centers on Christ's Passion and the promise of a happy death. Daily devotion may include the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

White Scapular of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: Promotes purity and dedication to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. Daily prayers include the Glory Be to the Father and other prayers honoring the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

This timeline illustrates the rich history and spiritual significance of each scapular, reflecting their role in fostering deeper devotion and religious commitment within the Catholic tradition.
The Scapular Is a Silent Prayer

As Our Lord taught us to say the Our Father, Our Blessed Mother taught us the value of the scapular. When we use it as a prayer, Our Lady draws us to the Sacred Heart of Her Divine Son. It is good, therefore, to hold the scapular in the hand. A prayer offered while holding the Scapular is as perfect as a prayer can be. It is especially in time of temptation that we need the powerful intercession of God’s Mother. The evil spirit is utterly powerless when the wearer of a scapular faces temptation, calling upon the Holy Virgin in this silent devotion. “If you had recommended yourself to me, you would not have run into such danger,” was Our Lady’s gentle reproach to Blessed Alan de la Roche, one of her devoted servants.

Enrolment in the Confraternity

To be eligible for the scapular promise, one must be enrolled in the Brown Scapular Confraternity. This is a simple ceremony which can be performed by any priest. The members of the Confraternity have the added benefit of sharing in all the spiritual benefits of the Carmelite Order.

According to a statement made by the Carmelite Fathers at the National Scapular Center, every priest now has the right to invest the faithful in the Brown Scapular and to substitute the rosary in lieu of the Little Office (see below).

The scapular must be 100% wool without plastic casing and should not be pinned or affixed to clothing. It is worn over the head, under one’s clothes, with one square of wool hanging on the chest and the other on the back. Pictures are not necessary.

The Sabbatine Privilege

The Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel has promised to save those who wear the scapular from the fires of hell; She will also shorten their stay in purgatory if they should pass from this world still owing some debt of punishment.

This promise is found in a Bull of Pope John XXII. The Blessed Virgin appeared to him and, speaking of those who wear the Brown Scapular, said, “I, the Mother of Grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I shall find in purgatory I shall free so that I may lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting.”

The Blessed Virgin assigned certain conditions which must be fulfilled:

Wear the Brown Scapular continuously.
Observe chastity according to one’s state in life (married/single).
Recite daily the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin OR Observe the fasts of the Church together with abstaining from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays OR With permission of a priest, say five decades of Our Lady’s Most Holy Rosary OR With permission of a priest, substitute some other good work.

Pope Benedict XV, the celebrated World War I Pontiff, granted 500 days of indulgence for devoutly kissing your scapular.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, "Queen, Beauty of Carmel"

The Morning Offering

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!

The Popes and the Brown Scapular

Pope Leo XIII: “The Carmelite Scapular’s nobility of origin, its extraordinary spread among Christian peoples for many centuries, the spiritualizing effects produced by it, and the outstanding miracles worked in virtue of it render the Scapular of Carmel commendable to a wondrous degree.”

Pope Pius XI: “In consideration of the munificent goodness of the heavenly Mother towards her children, it surely ought to be sufficient merely to exhort those who belong to the Scapular Confraternity to persevere in the holy exercises which have been prescribed for the gaining of the indulgences to which they are entitled.”

Pope Pius XII: “All Carmelites, whether they live in the cloisters of the First or Second Orders or are members of the Third Order or of the Confraternities, belong to the same family of our Most Blessed Mother and are attached to it by a special bond of love. May they all see in this keepsake of the Virgin herself a mirror of humility and purity; may they read in the very simplicity of the Garment a concise lesson in modesty and simplicity; above all, may they behold in this same Garment, which they wear day and night, the eloquent expressive symbol of their prayers for divine assistance.”

Pope John XXIII: He spoke “of the Mother of God who is honored in this Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Devotion to her becomes a necessity; towards Our Lady of Mount Carmel we are drawn with a most tender, yet irresistible, attraction.”

Pope Paul VI, speaking of Marian devotions, especially of the Scapular, says “Let the faithful hold in high esteem the practices and devotions to the Blessed Virgin approved by the teaching authority of the Church. It is Our conviction that the Rosary of Mary and the Scapular of Carmel are among these recommended practices. The Scapular is a practice of piety, which by its very simplicity is suited to everyone.”


Procedure for Blessing and Investiture


Priest - Ostende nobis Domine misericordiam tuam.
Respondent - Et salutare tuum da nobis.

P - Domine exaudi orationem meum.
R - Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
P - Dominus vobiscum.
R - Et cum spiritu tuo.
P - Oremus. Domine Jesu Christe, humani generis Salvator, hunc habitum, quem propter tuum tuaeque Genitricis Virginis Mariae de Monte Carmelo, Amorem servus tuus devote est delaturus, dextera tua sancti+fica, tu eadem Genitrice tua intercedente, ab hoste maligno defensus in tua gratia usque ad mortem perseveret: Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


P - Accipite hunc, habitum benedictum precantes sanctissima Virginem, ut ejus meritis illum perferatis sine macula, et vos ab omni adversitate defendat, atque advitam perducat aeternam. Amen.


P - Ego, ex potestate mihi concessa, recipio vos ad participationem, omnium bonorum spiritualium, qua, cooperante misericordia Jesu Christi, a Religiosa de Monte Carmelo peraguntur. In Nomine Patris + et Filii + et Spiritus Sancti. + Amen.

Benedicat + vos Conditor caeli at terrae, Deus omnipotens, qui vos cooptare dignatus est in Confraternitatem Beatae Mariae Virginis de Monte Carmelo: quam exoramus, ut in hore obitus vestri conterat caput serpentis antiqui, atque palmam et coronam sempiternae hereditatis tandem consequamini. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.
R - Amen.



Priest - Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy.
Respondent - And grant us Thy salvation.

P - Lord, hear my prayer.
R - And let my cry come unto Thee.
P - The Lord be with you.
R - And with your Spirit.
P - Lord Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, sanctify + by Thy power these scapulars, which for love of Thee and for love of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Thy servants will wear devoutly, so that through the intercession of the same Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and protected against the evil spirit, they persevere until death in Thy grace. Thou who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.


P - Receive this blessed scapular and beseech the Blessed Virgin that through Her merits, you may wear it without stain. May it defend you against all adversity and accompany you to eternal life. Amen.


P - I, by the power vested in me, admit you to participate in all the spiritual benefits obtained through the mercy of Jesus Christ by the Religious Order of Mount Carmel. In the name of the Father + and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. + Amen.

May God Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and earth, bless + you, He who has deigned to join you to the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel; we beseech Her to crush the head of the ancient serpent so that you may enter into possession of your eternal heritage through Christ our Lord.
R - Amen.


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