From the Pastor: The Brown Scapular
This coming Saturday, July 16, is the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. At the end of Mass, I will gladly enroll anyone who has not yet been enrolled in the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular as long as they bring a Brown Scapular with them. You only need to be enrolled once in your life and this is traditionally done at First Holy Communion, but some of you may not have had that grace given to you. You know how traditions have fallen by the wayside in recent decades, after all. So have a scapular at hand and come to Mass on Saturday! Below is some great information gleaned from the website sistersofcarmel.com which happened to be the first non-advertisement google result for brown scapulars. Edited for readability in this space.
In the year 1251, in the town of Aylesford in England, Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite. She handed him a brown woolen scapular and said, “This shall be a privilege for you and all Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall not suffer eternal fire.” In time, the Church extended this magnificent privilege to all the laity who are willing to be invested in the Brown Scapular of the Carmelites and who perpetually wear it.
True devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary consists in three things: VENERATION, CONFIDENCE AND LOVE. By simply wearing the Scapular, we can tell her every moment of the day that we venerate her, love her and trust in her protection.
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.
Enrollment 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 (see below). The members of the Confraternity have the added benefit of sharing in all the spiritual benefits of the Carmelite Order.
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:
1. Wear the Brown Scapular continuously.
2. Observe chastity according to one’s state in life (married/single).
3. 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.
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 ROSARY AND THE SCAPULAR ARE INSEPARABLE. PRAY THE ROSARY DAILY.
And now for a few departing remarks from your pastor. I wear the brown scapular always and everywhere. I used to take it off when swimming or bathing because I was used to the cheapo versions of it falling apart in water, but discovered that if I purchased a good quality scapular (see the site the above info came from) it could withstand even a good scrubbing! Plus, it stays clean and smells fresh without my having to carefully wash it. My brown scapular keeps me united to my mother Mary. It doesn’t take much time to say the morning offering and to kiss my scapular yet it starts me on the path towards Heaven even before I’ve celebrated Mass. Get enrolled and wear yours, too!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka