Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
The Brown Scapular
The scapular is essentially a “habit”. Those who are enrolled by the Church are associated in varying degrees with the Carmelite Order which is dedicated to the service of Our Lady for the good of the whole Church. “All of us who wear this holy habit of Carmel are called to prayer and contemplation,” charity and humility. (St. Teresa of Jesus)
The scapular on our part is an expression of our confidence in Mary’s care. It shows our willingness to witness to our baptismal adoption and to being Her children, as well as our desire to be clothed with Her virtues, with Her contemplative spirit and with Her purity of heart. Those wearing the scapular are expressing that they are not self-sufficient, and that they need Divine help, which in this case they are seeking through Mary’s intercession. Through the scapular they reach out to Her who “occupies a place in the Church, which is the highest after Christ and also closest to us”. If we are to be clothed in Mary’s habit, we would strive to be clothed also with Her virtues.
Do not expect that simply to wear the scapular would obtain eternal life. Nor have an unfounded belief in the sacramental itself. Sacramentals were instituted and approved by the Church and produce grace “ex opere operantis”, by virtue of their ecclesiastical approval AND the dispositions with which they are used.
THE SABBATINE PRIVILEGE: is a secondary privilege of the brown scapular. It is derived from the Bull of Pope John XXII that the Mother of God most urgently recommended to him the Carmelite Order and its members. That She herself would graciously descend on the Saturday (Sabbath) after their death and liberate and conduct to heaven all who were in purgatory.
Some conditions apply....We must:
*Faithfully preserve chastity according to our state in life;
*Recite devoutly each day the Little Hours of the Blessed Virgin. However, all those who are bound to read their Breviary, fulfill the obligation of reciting the Little Hours. Persons who cannot read must observe all the fasts prescribed by the Church as they are kept in their home diocese or place of residence, and must in addition abstain from flesh meat on all Wednesdays and Saturdays of the year, except when Christmas falls on one of these days. The obligation to read the Little Hours and to abstain from flesh meat on Wednesday and Saturday may, on important grounds be changed for other pious works as prescribed by your confessor.
(from Catholic Encyclopedia, Scapular-
Sabbatine Privilege, Joseph Hilgers)