If the Most Holy Rosary has come to be known by many as the spiritual “weapon” or “sword” to combat the wiles of the enemy, then certainly the Brown Scapular must be known as our spiritual “shield.”  It is a garment of grace that symbolizes the Motherly protection offered to us by Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  It marks a special love and devotion to Jesus through His Blessed Mother, and thus is a sure sign of our salvation.   This tradition has been passed down for almost eight centuries in the Holy Catholic Church.  It draws its spiritual strength from the graces Our Lady obtains for us through her intercession before her Son because of our professed devotion. 

This external sign displays the inward commitment to follow Jesus in the footsteps of the most perfect disciple, His Blessed Mother.  This means abandoning our selfish will, in order to completely follow Our Lord’s Divine Will for us.  On this journey we pledge to take Mary as our Mother, teacher and guide in loving Jesus above all things- as she has done this more perfectly than any other creature since He was conceived in her womb.

In 1251 Our Blessed Mother appeared to St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite monk, offering him the Brown Scapular and stating, “This shall be a privilege for you and all Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall not suffer eternal fire.”  Once again, the strength of this promise lies in the recipient’s complete surrender to the Divine Will through a special love and prayerful devotion to Jesus through Mary.  This is the essence of the Carmelite Spirituality.  In time, the Holy Catholic church extended this special privilege to all laity who chose to embrace and follow this Carmelite spirituality in their daily lives. 

This tradition continues through modern times, where Christians have the opportunity to unite their hearts with such beautiful Carmelite Saints as St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Therese of Lisieux (The “Little Flower”) in living out this spirituality.  People who choose to do so must be formally enrolled by a Priest or authorized person.  In the event that the scapular needs to be replaced, one does not have to formally enroll again.

Mary appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the last apparition at Fatima, where she was pleading with souls to become vested in the Brown Scapular as a sign of consecration to her Immaculate Heart.

The pledge of the Brown Scapular binds us to live as true witnesses to the light of Christ.  This is lived out most meaningfully and apparently in our daily lives by the way we forgive and share His love with one another.  This spirituality is enlivened through prayer, especially that of the Most Holy Rosary, and nourished by studying the Word of God, receiving the Sacraments and spreading true devotion to Jesus through Our Blessed Mother.

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