You may have seen or heard of the brown scapular – but what is it, and what does it signify?
Paul Elarde provides a brief background on the brown scapular, its origins and its association with Marian consecration.
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Around the 12th century, Our Lady appeared to the Carmelite, St Simon Stock, holding the brown scapular in one hand and saying:
“Receive, my beloved son, this scapular of your Order; it is the special sign of my favour, which I have obtained for you and for your children of Mount Carmel. He who dies clothed with this habit shall be preserved from eternal fire. It is the badge of salvation, a shield in time of danger, and a pledge of special peace and protection.”
Now the word scapular from Latin, means “shoulder blade”. It consists of two pieces of cloth, one worn on the chest, and the other on the back, which were connected by straps or strings passing over the shoulders. For the Carmelite Order it is a garment, but for the rest of us, it is two small pieces of cloth each about the size of a large medal.
The brown Scapular is a sign of our devotion and dependency upon Mary’s motherly love. It is a perpetual physical expression of Marian love and devotion that acknowledges Her intercessory role throughout this life and trust in Mary’s intercession that our salvation will not be lost.
When fully understood, the brown Scapular can become a physical sign of the complete gift of self that takes place in any authentic Marian consecration. I urge you to enrol and wear a brown scapular with joy and trust!