The Brown Scapular


From recent teaching documents on the Scapular (1999)

Brown Scapular One way in which Mary is honoured in the Carmelite family is through the Brown Scapular. The Scapular is a symbol of Mary’s protection. A garment as a symbol is found elsewhere in the Christian tradition, most notably in the Eastern icon tradition “Madonna of the Mantle.” Along with the understanding of Mary’s protection, the Scapular (itself a symbol of the Carmelite habit) includes the idea of consecration to Mary. Consecration is most properly an act done by God, so that when we say we consecrate ourselves to God and to Mary, we are principally stating that we freely want God’s will, the Lordship of Jesus, to be manifest in our lives. The wearing of the Scapular is a sign that we want the values lived out by Mary to be evident in our actions and dispositions.   Tradition suggests that in 1251, Our Lady appeared to the Prior General of the Carmelite Order, St. Simon Stock at Aylesford, England. In this apparition, Our Lady gave him what we call the brown Scapular... a garment that has become the symbol of the bond between Our Lady and the Order of Carmel. The Carmelites have always been her devoted servants. However, whether or not this apparition actually took place is something we shall never know. But Our Lady did not give the Scapular just to the Carmelites. She gave it to the whole world so that all her sons and daughters could wear an outward sign of her love for them. As a “cloak” of grace and love, the Scapular represents the protection and security we find in our heavenly mother’s love. Our Lady has given us her Scapular to wear; a garment of special concern a sign of belonging. Her Scapular is a mantle of grace and love.   The Carmelite Scapular is not a magical charm to protect you, or an automatic guarantee of salvation or an excuse for not living up to the demands of the Christian life. The Scapular holds us to live as authentic Christians in line with the teaching of the Gospel, to receive the sacraments, to profess our special devotion to the Blessed Virgin, which should be expressed each day, at least by saying the Hail Mary three times.
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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on July 16, 2004 7:08 AM.

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