The Brown Scapular
By Debbie Thompson

The world we live in is full of material things that have symbolic meaning and we use these signs and symbols to help us understand events in our past and in the present. Jesus is the great sign of the Fatherís love. He founded the church as a sign and instrument of his love, and so Christian life also has its signs.

One of the signs in the tradition of the church from many centuries ago is the Brown Cloth Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This scapular holds us to live as authentic Christians in line with the teaching of the Gospel, receive the sacraments, profess our special devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and an acknowledgement of her special role in His plan of salvation. It also signifies for us to decide to follow Jesus like Mary, be open to Godís will, pray at all times, and to discover Godís presence in all the takes place around us.

According to tradition, in the 13th century, Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, and gave him the Brown Scapular saying that whoever wore it would be preserved from eternal damnation and on the 1st Saturday after their death, would be taken by her to Heaven. A Partial Indulgence has been granted by Pope Benedict XV to those who devoutly kiss the scapular. The Scapular must be blessed by a priest for reception into the Confraternity of the Scapular. The wearing of this scapular does not take the place of the sacraments but is a sign of inner commitment of Christian piety under patronage of Our Lady. To share in the indulgences and privileges of a scapular, one must wear it constantly; it may be worn over or under oneís clothing and may be laid aside for a short time, if necessary. The wearing of Her Brown Scapular signifies a pledge of our part and a promise on Hers. We place ourselves under the special protection of the Blessed Virgin by wearing this scapular.

Along with the Brown Cloth Scapular is the Scapular Medal. In 1910, Pope Saint Pius X introduced a scapular medal which may be substituted in most cases for any of the various scapulars. This medal must have on one side a representation of Jesus Christ with His Most Sacred Heart and on the other an image of the Mother of God. The Scapular Medal has all the same indulgences that are associated with the Cloth Scapular. However, it is the wish of our Holy Father, that the Scapular Medal should not be worn in place of the Cloth Scapular without sufficient reason. Such persons run the risk of not receiving the Promise.

Maryís motherhood is not limited to Catholics, itís extended to ALL. Many miracles of conversion have taken place with those who have practiced the Scapular devotion. Our Lady, as a good mother will bring conversion to those who honor Her by wearing Her Scapular and we all know conversion is something this world needs more of.

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Debbie Thompson

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