Today is the principal feast day of the Carmelite Order. Through the efforts of the crusader Berthold, a group of hermits living on Mount Carmel were organized into an Order after the traditional Western type about the year 1150. Oppressed by the Saracens, the monks slowly emigrated to Europe. During the night preceding the sixteenth of July, 1225, the Blessed Virgin is said to have commanded Pope Honorius III to approve the foundation. Since the Carmelites were still under constant harassment, the sixth General of the Order, St. Simon Stock, pleaded with the Blessed Virgin for some special sign of her protection. On July 16, 1251, she designated the scapular as the special mark of her maternal love. That is why the present feast is also known as the feast of the Scapular. The scapular, as part of the habit, is common to many religious Orders, but it is a special feature of the Carmelites. A smaller form of the scapular is given to lay persons in order that they may share in the great graces associated with it. Such a grace is the "Sabbatine privilege." In the so-called Bulla Sabbatina John XXII affirmed that wearers of the scapular are soon freed from the flames of purgatory, at least by the Saturday after death. The confirmation of theBulla Sabbatina was promulgated by the Sacred Congregation of Indulgences, July 4, 1908.
Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
Things to Do:
- Wearing the Brown Scapular is not an automatic guarantee of salvation. It is not a magical charm, nor is it an excuse to live in a way contrary to the teachings of the Church. It is a sacramental which has been approved by the Church for over seven centuries and is a sign of one's decision to follow Jesus as did Mary, the perfect model of all the disciples of Christ. In addition to being an introduction into the Family of Carmel, the Brown Scapular is an expression of our belief that we will meet God in eternal life, aided by the intercession and prayer of Mary. While sacramentals prepare us to receive grace if we are in the right disposition, the Church emphasizes that only sacraments can confer sanctifying grace. (see Catechism, no. 1670.)
- Pope John Paul II has worn the scapular for a long time. The Holy Father's talk on the Scapular of Carmel, A Treasure for the Church.
- For the definitive treatment on the brown scapular, read The Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Catechesis and Ritual.
- Watch this You Tube video to learn more about devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
- From the Catholic Culture library, the Scapular Devotion, a description of Different Kinds of Scapulars, The Brown Scapular and information on the Scapular Medal.
- Learn more about St. Simon Stock and the Brown Scapular.