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The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

- Arlette Azavedo.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a title traditionally given to Our Blessed Virgin, in honour of her having given the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel to Saint Simon Stock on 16 July, 1251. In answer to Simon’s appeal for help for his oppressed order, she appeared to him with a scapular in her hand and said: "Take, beloved son this scapular of thy order as a badge of my confraternity and for thee and all Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire. It is the sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant".

The first privilege the Virgin Mary grants us wearing her Brown Scapular is eternal salvation, if we wear it constantly until death. Such is the meaning and importance of the first privilege of the Brown Scapular, which is expressed in the words: "whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire”. The Brown Scapular is a sign of consecration to Our Lady and her way of life. Through it we enter into a covenant of love and trust with her. The Scapular finds its roots in the tradition of the Order, which has seen in it a sign of Mary’s motherly protection over us. It stands for a commitment to follow Jesus, like Mary, the perfect model of all the Disciples of Christ. This commitment finds its origin in baptism by which we become children of God. It reminds us of the example of the saints of Carmel, with whom we establish a close bond as brothers and sisters to one another. It is an expression of our belief that we will meet God in eternal life aided by the intercession and prayer of Mary. It is a sign of Mary’s protection and of belonging to the family of Carmel, voluntarily doing the will of God.

As Our Lord taught us to say the Our Father, Our Blessed Mother taught us the value of the Scapular. When we use it as a prayer, Our Lady draws us to the Sacred Heart of Her Divine Son. It is good, therefore, to hold the scapular in the hand, as we pray. Infact, a prayer offered while holding the Scapular is as perfect as a prayer can be. It is especially in time of temptation that we need the powerful intercession of God’s Mother. The evil spirit is utterly powerless when the wearer of a scapular faces temptation, calling upon the Holy Virgin in this silent devotion. Our Scapular, then should take on the deep meaning for us. It is a rich present brought down from Heaven by Our Lady herself who promises to each one of us to wear the Scapular devoutly and religiously, it is her garment and to be clothed in it means we continually are thinking of Our Lady, and she in turn, shall always think of us and help us to secure eternal life.

As we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on 16th July, let us pledge to wear the Scapular and give it to our family members and our loved ones too. When we wear the Scapular, Mary is continually protecting us and loving us as her special children and we, in turn, are thinking of her and loving her as our dearest Mother. Hence, wear the Scapular with love and with confidence in Our Heavenly Mother.