The time when we could comfortably practice our faith may have passed for our generation in this country. We will continue to stand in defense of our religious freedom, but even if it is protected, the world won’t stop attacking us.
We as the Church militant have a fight before us that may not require swords or guns, but the battle is real. We fight for souls, and we need to be ready.
“Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground.”
While this scripture has a deep and symbolic meaning, our Catholic tradition provides us with a very wonderful symbol, or sacramental, that reminds us of this Truth daily.
The Brown Scapular is a powerful defense in this battle before us, and I believe that we need more Catholics to wear it in our daily journey. Devotion to our Lady will be a strong force in these difficult times today.
While I have seen an increase among some, there are still many Catholics that don’t know much about this wonderful, heavenly gift from Our Lady. I’ll quickly address some of the main questions I hear about this devotion.
Why should I wear it?
It’s a constant reminder of our mission and solidarity with heaven. It also comes with some bold promises of protection against evil. At the apparitions of Mount Carmel, Our Lady promised St Simon Stock that those that die wearing it shall not suffer hell.
Are you saying that a scapular can bring salvation?
Of course a devotional scapular cannot bring salvation, that was won by the blood of Jesus Himself. This promise has conditions. It requires that we keep true to our baptismal promises. Like all other sacramentals, it is an ordinary object that represents greater things happening spiritually.
Do I have to wear it all the time?
It’s best to wear it always unless you are bathing or doing some other activity that requires. It’s not a good luck charm that only blesses you if are wearing it. Unlike the Eucharist or other sacraments, sacraments really are just signs.
Why is made of wool? It feels itchy sometimes.
It’s supposed to be a little itchy. The scapular itch helps to work as a constant reminder of our mission. Feeling tempted? Feeling the itch helps remind you not to fall for it. Kissing your scapular each morning followed by a prayer petitioning Mary for help each morning is a good tradition to follow that reminds us of why we wear it. If you think it’s itchy, remember that it’s not a hair shirt.
I’m interested, but how do I get started?
The brown scapular is a symbol of our devotion to Jesus through Mary. You should get invested with a Scapular by a priest or a deacon right after they have blessed it. The investiture is a quick process of reciting a Marian prayer (Hail Mary, Salve Regina, etc.) while the priest or deacon places it over the recipient’s head and over the shoulders. It gets its names from the bones it rests on – the scapula bones.
This process only has to be done once, but each scapular thereafter should be blessed. You should be able to find a scapular at any local Catholic book store for only a few dollars, or large packs online for very cheap.
To learn more about the scapular devotion visit the sites below.
On Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary.