A very well-known, and beloved Marian devotional, the scapular is considered a sacramental. That means that it is a sacred sign instituted by the Church, used to sanctify different circumstances of life. Let’s discover what is a brown scapular and how do Catholics wear it.
What is a brown scapular
The brown scapular that we used to wear, is made of two rectangular pieces of cloth attached by strings. Yet, the origin of this religious article dates back to 1251, when the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Simon, prior general of the Carmelites. According to tradition, Mary appeared to him surrounded by angels and gave him the scapular as the new, powerful habit of his order.
Initially, the scapular was much bigger than the one we wear nowadays. Actually, it was a piece of religious habit used to cover the shoulder (in fact, the word “scapular” comes from Latin scapula that means “shoulder”). The scapular is still a part of the Carmelites official habit. Those who wear it, devote their lives to the Virgin Mary.
How do Catholics wear the brown scapular nowadays
The brown scapular that everyone can wear, is a practical religious article. As we said, it is made of two pieces of cloth kept together by a string. People used to wear the scapular as a necklace under the clothing. The two pieces of cloth represent the Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It symbolizes salvation, protection against all dangers, and peace.
Why do Catholics wear the scapulars?
The scapular is not a magic amulet, it is a devotional that declares our filial relationship with the Virgin Mary. Any Catholic can wear it, even children, and there is a scapular investment ceremony which a priest can perform. When we decide to wear it, we renew our commitment to live in faith and devotion.