On this day, the Church celebrates the Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Tradition tells us that Our Lady presented St. Simon Stock with the brown scapular in 1251. Just what is a scapular? According to the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy:
The scapular is an external sign of the filial relationship established between the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Mount Carmel, and the faithful who entrust themselves totally to her protection, who have recourse to her maternal intercession, who are mindful of the primacy of the spiritual life and the need for prayer.
Even though I am a cradle Catholic and have always gone to Mass regularly, I used to think that people who wore scapulars were a little flaky. Rather than just be “normal” like me, I believed that those “scapular wearers” were oddballs who embraced apparitions and phony visions of the Blessed Mother. Why can’t they just be “regular” Catholics, like me instead of believing in something superstitious like the scapular? Most of all, I would never wear a scapular because someone might see it and think I’m weird.
How do I feel now? Every morning I kiss my brown scapular and say to Our Lady, “Blessed Mother, I am all thine and all that I have is thine!” I then put on the powerful sacramental knowing that Mary will help me to stay close to Jesus as I do battle with the forces of evil (and don’t kid yourself…they are all around us!) that threaten me constantly. I wear Our Lady’s scapular because it is a sacramental which better disposes me to receive the grace that I need to be a better Christian. I am proud that I wear the scapular and I hope people see it for what it is, a visible sign of my love for Mary and my trust in her intercessory powers. Most importantly, I wear the scapular because I am a comfort-loving, cowardly, self-centered sinner and I desperately need Mary’s help to keep me close to her Son and help me remain on the road that will lead to Eternal Life in Heaven.
That’s why I wear a scapular!