Many people use the scapular or other objects of devotion without knowing its true meaning, or even as an amulet, something magical that “brings good luck”, which frees from the “evil eye” or similar things, as if the true sense did not derive from the heart who uses this or that object, because its true meaning is that of indicating something that is within oneself, in one’s own faith, in one’s own purposes and in one’s own conversion. Many use crosses, medals, rosaries and scapulars of Our Lady of Carmel as a fashion, because they use this or that artist.
But what is the true meaning of the scapular?
The scapular is an apron used by the monks while working so as not to dirty the cassock. Put on the shoulder blades, the scapular is a part of the habit that still today uses the Carmelites.
Over time a reduced scapular was established to be given to lay faithful. In this way, those who use it can participate in the spirituality of Carmel and the great graces linked to it, including the Sabbath privilege.
In his bull called Sabatina, Pope John XXII states that whoever uses the scapular will quickly be freed from the pains of Purgatory on the Saturday following his death. The advantages of the Sabbath privilege were confirmed by the Sacred Congregation of Indulgences on July 14, 1908.
The current scapular is made of two squares of brown fabric joined by cords, which have on one side the image of Our Lady of Carmel and on the other the Heart of Jesus, or the coat of arms of the Carmelite Order. It is a miniature of the Carmelite habit, which is why it is made of canvas. Those who wear the scapular become part of the Carmelite family and consecrate themselves to Our Lady. The scapular is therefore a visible sign of the covenant with Mary.
What is it for?
The scapular is an outward sign of Marian devotion which consists in the consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary, through the inscription to the Carmelite Order.
The scapular of Carmel is a sacrament. According to the Second Vatican Council, it is a question of “sacred signs by which, in imitation of the sacraments, they are signified, and spiritual effects are obtained through the intercession of the Church” (SC 60)
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“The devotion of the scapular of Carmel brought a copious rain of spiritual and temporal graces to the world” (Pius XII, 6 August 1950).
The devotion to the scapular of Our Lady of Carmel began with the vision of St. Simon Stock. According to tradition, the Order of Carmel went through a difficult phase in the years 1230-1250.
Arrived recently in Europe expelled from the Muslims by Mount Carmel, the Order was living a critical moment. The Carmelite friars encountered strong resistance from other religious orders. They were hampered and even mocked for their way of dressing. The future of the Carmelites was led by Simone Stock, a man of faith and a great devotee of the Madonna.
It is important to underline some attitudes that must be assumed by those who wear this Marian sign:
- Put God first in his life and always try to do His will.
- Listening to the Word of God in the Bible and putting it into practice in life.
- Seek communion with God through prayer.
- To open oneself to the suffering of one’s neighbor, solidarising with him in his needs and trying to provide for it.
- Frequently approaching the sacraments of the Church, the Eucharist and confession.
Papaboys Editorial Office (Source: www.iltimone.org )