Brown Scapular Enrollment
Jul 16, 2019
Enrollment Mass of the Brown Scapular
Of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
When the clouds of temptation overshadow the day May the the light of Mount Carmel shine down on my way; When the long road is ending, may I go to rest With Mary's brown Scapular over my breast.
Why is this enrollment so significant in the life of a Christian?
The Brown Scapular is a devotion to Mary under her title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It is worn as a sign of love and devotion for the Mother of God. The Carmelite Order, to which the Scapular belongs, originated on Mt. Carmel in the Holy Land and the Scapular is itself a reflection in miniature of the habit (scapular: a sleeveless outer garment falling from the shoulders) which the monks wear as a sign of their vocation and devotion.
The Scapular was presented by Our Lady to St. Simon Stock, the Father General of the Carmelite Order, on July 16, 1251. He was an English hermit. He received the name "stock" because he lived in the hollowed trunk or stock of a tree. In time he became a Carmelite and later the Father General of the order. He led the order during a time of struggle.
The Carmelites originally were hermits on Mount Carmel, near Nazareth in the Holy Land. When they migrated to Europe, in this case England, some saw great wisdom in no longer being hermits and instead becoming friars who would work among the people. St. Simon guided them through this state of transition. In the year 1251 a most momentous vision took place. St. Simon Stock, newly transplanted to England, prayed earnestly to Our Lady for help. Then: To him appeared the Blessed Virgin with a multitude of angels, holding the Scapular of the order in her blessed hands.
Our Lady gave St. Simon a scapular for the Carmelites with the following promise, saying: Receive, My beloved son, this habit of thy order: this shall be to thee and to all Carmelites a privilege, that whosoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire. It shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger, and a pledge of peace.
Another important aspect of wearing the Scapular is the Sabbatine Privilege. This concerns a promise made by Our Lady to Pope John XXII. In a papal letter he issued, he recounted a vision that he had had. He stated that the Blessed Virgin had said to him in this vision, concerning those who wear the Brown Scapular: "I, the Mother of Grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I shall find in Purgatory, I shall free, so that I may lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting."
According to Church tradition, there are three conditions necessary to participate in this Privilege and share in the other spiritual benefits of the Scapular: wear the Brown Scapular, observe chastity according to your state in life, and pray the Rosary. In addition to the Sabbatine Privilege, enrollment in the Brown Scapular also makes a person part of the Carmelite family throughout the world. They therefore share in all of the prayers and good works of the Carmelite Orders. Participation in the Carmelite family also, of course, places you in a special relationship with the Carmelite saints, especially St. Elijah, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Therese of Lisieux, and, most importantly, Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Once enrolled, the enrollment is for life and need not be repeated. Anyone, adult or infant, who has not previously been enrolled may be enrolled in the Brown Scapular.
The Brown Scapular is one more precious reminded of our being active members in the Body of Christ. Living our lives of faith in such a way as to bring more honor, more healing, more love to Christ’s Body as a whole and to each member and their own families individually. One more means by which we assist God our Father in answering the prayer “Thy Kingdom Come on earth as it is in Heaven.” By means of this devotion we literally have Heaven and its power draped around our necks and more so over our hearts.