Do you wear a Carmelite Brown Scapular? I do. I wear one because I am a professed Lay Carmelite. But wearing the Brown Scapular is not limited to members of the Carmelite Order. Those outside the order are welcome to find out the meaning of the scapular and to wear it for religious purposes. We Carmelites consider those who are devoted to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Brown Scapular to be members of our family, too, but on a more informal basis.
I found this video posted at the official website of the Carmelite Order: here. If you can’t find it on the home page, you may want to try the page about Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
When I watched the video I was pleased to hear that it presents the true meaning of the scapular, which is part of the Carmelite tradition. We Carmelites look upon the scapular as a sign of Mary’s motherly protection. It has a spiritual meaning; it is not magical; it is not a superstition.
The scapular stands for a personal commitment to follow Jesus in emulation of His most perfect disciple, Mary. The narrator told of four ways that Mary followed Jesus.
1) Mary was open to God and to His will in the events of her daily life in Nazareth. So we want to open ourselves to God and do His will, too.
2) Mary listened to God’s Word in the Bible. She believed it, and she put it into practice. We who wear the scapular strive to do that as well through our practice of Lectio Divina.
3) Mary noticed God’s presence in her life through constant prayer and contemplation. Prayer and contemplation is a major component of the Carmelite way of life, too. The scapular reminds us of that.
4) Mary was involved with people. We know she was involved with her family. For example, when learned that her older cousin, Elizabeth was pregnant she visited Elizabeth and helped her. So the scapular reminds Carmelites and others who wear the scapular that we want to have mercy on others and attend to their needs according to our talents.
Watch the video for yourself to learn something about the Brown Scapular devotion and more.
I was surprised to find that this video was not produced by Carmelites, but by Fr. James Kubicki, S.J., the national director of The Apostleship of Prayer. It’s really not surprising to find a Jesuit priest who has devotion to the wearing to the Brown Scapular. Many people the world over practice this devotion. If you do, you can renew your commitment to live in allegiance to Jesus Christ by following the lead of Mary. If you do not, pray about it. Maybe this devotion could bring you closer to Jesus through Mary.
Note: the video refers to the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. That feast day is July 16th, but as I mentioned earlier in this post, I just found this video today.