Have you ever heard of the brown scapular? Are you aware of the sacramental known as “Our Lady’s garment” that is imbued with the power to save us from eternal damnation if we follow Our Lady’s instructions?
If your answer is no, then you’re probably thinking you should learn more, especially after that last statement.
If your answer is yes, you should still read on! There’s much to know about this powerful spiritual gift given to us by Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whose feast day we celebrate on July 16th.
Below are three questions even some of the most knowledgeable Catholics may have about the brown scapular.
1. What is the history of the brown scapular?
On July 16th, 1251, an English prior general of the Carmelites named Simon Stock was engrossed in prayer to Our Lady, beseeching her to look favorably upon his Order. The Blessed Mother answered his prayer that day by appearing to him, holding the brown scapular in her hand. She told him that all Carmelites who wore the scapular and lived their vocations well would be saved. Specifically, she mentioned to St. Simon Stock that she would take these souls to heaven on the first Saturday after their deaths, a promise known as the Sabbatine privilege. The Carmelites, in later centuries, began to offer the brown scapular to lay people who wished to be affiliated with the order. It is now extended to all who wish to be invested in the Brown Scapular Confraternity (see below).
The Carmelite order received their name from Mount Carmel near the city of Haifa, Israel, considered a holy place even before the birth of Our Lord. In the twelfth century, it became the home of many Carmelites who chose the Virgin Mary as their patroness. The Blessed Mother is referred to as “Our Lady of Mt. Carmel” in this particular apparition to St. Simon Stock for this reason.
2. How do I receive the blessings of the brown scapular?
In order to receive the blessings of the brown scapular, it must first be blessed by a priest and invested in the Brown Scapular Fraternity. Any priest may do this by saying the following words:
Priest: Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy.
Respondent: And grant us Thy salvation.
P: Lord, hear my prayer.
R: And let my cry come unto Thee.
P: The Lord be with you.
R: And also with you.
P: Lord Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, sanctify by Thy power these Scapulars, which for love of Thee and for love of Our lady of Mount Carmel, Thy servants will wear devoutly, so that through the intercession of the same Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and protected against the evil spirit, they persevere until death in Thy grace. Thou who lives and reigns world without end. Amen.
(Priest sprinkles Holy Water) Receive this blessed Scapular and beseech the Blessed Virgin that through her merits, you may wear it without stain. May it defend you against all adversity and accompany you to eternal life. Amen.
I, by the power vested in me, admit you to participate in all the spiritual benefits obtained through the mercy of Jesus Christ by the Religious Order of Mount Carmel.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
May God Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and earth, bless you, He who has deigned to join you to the confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Of Mount Carmel; we beseech Her to crush the head of the ancient serpent so that you my enter into possession of your eternal heritage, through Christ our Lord.
While the Church certainly recommends the scapular devotion, it warns against viewing it as a “good luck charm.” One must still live one’s life in accordance to God’s will and persevere in faith.
3. Are there any prayers associated with the brown scapular?
In addition to the initial enrollment prayer, there are several prayers associated with Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the brown scapular. Reciting these prayers and wearing the brown scapular daily will help you to grow deeper in your devotion to the Blessed Mother. Saying the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary daily is also recommended by the Carmelites to assist in receiving the Sabbatine privilege.
Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel, be our constant hope.
Mary, perfect disciple of the Lord, make us also faithful to him.
Mary, Flower of Carmel, fill us with your joy.
Virgin Mary, Beauty of Carmel, smile upon your family
Sweet Mother of Carmel, accept me as your child.
Holy, Mother beyond compare, remember your children forever.
Holy Virgin, Star of the Sea, be our beacon of Light.
Protecting Veil, shelter us in the mantle of your love.
Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you. Amen.
Prayer of Consecration to Our Lady of Mount Carmel
O Mary, Queen and Mother of Carmel, I come today to consecrate myself to you, for my whole life is but a small return for the many graces and blessings that have come from God to me through your hands.
Since you look with special kindness on those who wear your Scapular, I implore you to strengthen my weakness with your power, to enlighten the darkness of my mind with your wisdom, and to increase in me faith, hope and charity that I may repay each day my debt of humble homage to you.
May your Scapular bring me your special protection in my daily struggle to be faithful to your divine son and to you. May it separate me from all that is sinful in life and remind me constantly of my duty to imitate your virtues. From now on, I shall strive to live in God’s presence, and offer all to Jesus through you.
Dearest Mother, support me by your never-failing love and lead me to paradise through the merits of Christ and your own intercession. Amen.
Three Day Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Oh, most beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven.
Oh, Blessed Mother of the Son of God; Immaculate Virgin, assist me in my necessity.
Oh, Star of the Sea, help me and show me you are my Mother.
Oh, Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart to succor me in my necessity.
(Mention your request here)
There are none that can withstand your power.
Oh, Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. (say three times).
Holy Mary, I place this prayer in your hands. (say three times). Amen.
If you are interested in purchasing a brown scapular, you can do so here online.