The brown Scapular (aka Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel) is a brown woolen material worn on the neck by Carmelite Order and other faithful which symbolize physical and external sign of filial relationship between the Blessed Virgin and the faithful who entrust themselves to her protection and have recourse to her maternal intercession.
The feast day of Our lady of mount Carmel is on 16 of July. On this date, the church celebrates the apparition of Blessed Virgin Mary to St Simon Stock a Carmelite, which happened on July 16 1251.
During the apparition, Blessed Virgin Mary handed him a brown Scapular saying “Accept this Scapular. It shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger and a pledge of peace. Whosoever dies clothed in this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.”
The Carmelites have always been devoted servants of Blessed Virgin Mary, which is why the Scapular was given to them to propagate to the whole world, as sign of her love for them and of the whole world.
Pope John Paul II talked about how he wore his Scapular since he was 10 years old. On may 1981, he was shot and during his surgery, he insisted that the doctors should not remove his scapular. The doctors left the Scapular on his neck throughout the surgery. Pope John Paul II knows that the Scapular of our lady of mount Carmel is special gift of love from our lady and he set an example for the faithful to follow because many have deviated from it and have forgotten the way this powerful sacramental enriches our devotional life and the promises attached to it.
Promises attached to the Brown scapular
Pope John XXII had a vision, where Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him and gave him promises to those who wear the brown scapular and devote their life to her. This promises are found in the Papal Bull written in 1322 by Pope John XXII.
The Blessed Virgin Mary promised to save those who wear the brown scapular from hell.
She promised protect them from trials and temptations of the devil.
She also promised to shorten their stay in purgatory. She said that on Saturday after their death whosoever she founds on purgatory, she shall free and lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting.
There are certain conditions that the Blessed Virgin Mary made for faithfuls to be able to receive the promises she made.
1. Wear the scapular always.
2. Being Chaste according to the person state of life (married, single, ordained).
3. Reciting the Marian prayers (e.g The Rosary, Little Office of the Blessed Virgin) daily.
Wearing the brown Scapular means you show your devotion to Blessed Virgin Mary and choose to live following Jesus through Mary who will assist you to do so. During otherwise means you abuse the scapular, missed the meaning of the Scapular and misuses it thinking a sinful life is okay. This makes you ineligible to receive the promises that follows it.
You will understand why the Devil works against those who promote the brown scapular when
you hear the true story of Venerable Francis Yepes. One day his Scapular fell off. As he
replaced it, the Devil howled, “Take off that habit which snatches so many souls from us! All
those clothed in it die piously and escape us!” Then and there Francis made the Devil admit
that there are three things which the demons are most afraid of: the Holy Name of Jesus; the
Holy Name of Mary and the Holy Scapular of Carmel.
Procedures to be enrolled in the Scapular (blessing and investiture)
There no age requirement to be enrolled in the Brown scapular. Any Catholic can be enrolled, some children are enrolled immediately after their First holy communion. One must be enrolled or invested by a Catholic priest or deacon in other to obtain the promises of the brown Scapular.
Priest – Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy.
Respondent – And grant us Thy salvation.
P – Lord, hear my prayer.
R – And let my cry come unto Thee.
P – The Lord be with you.
R – And with your Spirit.
P – Lord Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, sanctify + by Thy power these scapulars, which for love of Thee and for love of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Thy servants will wear devoutly, so that through the intercession of the same Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and protected against the evil spirit, they persevere until death in Thy grace. Thou who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
THE PRIEST SPRINKLES WITH HOLY WATER THE SCAPULAR AND THE PERSON(S) BEING ENROLLED. HE THEN INVESTS HIM (THEM), SAYING:
P – Receive this blessed scapular and beseech the Blessed Virgin that through Her merits, you may wear it without stain. May it defend you against all adversity and accompany you to eternal life. Amen.
AFTER INVESTITURE THE PRIEST CONTINUES WITH THE PRAYERS:
P – I, by the power vested in me, admit you to participate in all the spiritual benefits obtained through the mercy of Jesus Christ by the Religious Order of Mount Carmel. In the name of the Father + and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. + Amen.
May God Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and earth, bless + you, He who has deigned to join you to the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel; we beseech Her to crush the head of the ancient serpent so that you may enter into possession of your eternal heritage through Christ our Lord.
R – Amen.
THE PRIEST THEN SPRINKLES AGAIN WITH HOLY WATER THE PERSON(S) ENROLLED.
St. Alphonsus while alive wore his brown scapular continuously and had a very special devotion to
Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Many years after his burial, his grave was opened; his priestly vestments and body had turned to dust but his scapular was still intact till date. The scapular is now on exhibition in his monastery in Rome.