Scapular Devotion and genuine piety!
The Church celebrates the optional memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The Words of Our Lady to Saint Simon Stock are “Accept this Scapular. It shall be a sign of salvation, a Protection in danger and a pledge of peace. Whosoever dies Clothed in this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.” The Blessed Virgin Mary is a very caring Mother who clothes us with grace and takes our supernatural life under her maternal protection and she works toward its flowering in our temporal and eternal life. As beautiful as the foregoing words about Our Lady and our spiritual life are true, we the devotees of the Brown scapular still have a great responsibility to reflect what the scapular gift and devotion should be. Therefore, we need to guard against abuses of the Brown scapular devotion.
ABUSES OF THE BROWN SCAPULAR DEVOTION
It is important to note that the Brown Scapular is a sacramental. “Sacramentals … are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments…. By them men are disposed to receive the chief effect of the sacraments, and various occasions of life are rendered holy” (C.C.C. 1667). Note that sacraments operate Ex Opere Operato (that is “from the act done” or they do not operate on the subjective attitudes of the minister or the recipient) but in the case of Sacramentals their efficacy depends on the prayers of the Church and the faith, disposition and commitment of the wearer or recipient of the sacramental. It is wrong to see Sacramentals (scapular) as charms, magical objects, or amulets. Therefore, the scapular is not a talisman as many scapular devotees think. For you to enjoy the benefits of the scapular you just have to make effort to live a simple and good life, clothed or consumed in the virtues of Jesus and Mary and by their benevolent act, they will grant you unmerited favours, privileges and blessings beyond your imagination and human explanation. There is no room for living a sinful life and still expect miracles to happen in your life just because there is a scapular on your neck. Such a mentality is as worst as the sin against the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: “O Mary, Beauty of Carmel, make me worthy of your protection, clothe me with your scapular, and be the teacher of my interior life” Amen.