The Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, also known as the Brown Scapular, is one of the most popular Catholic devotions.
It was given by the Blessed Virgin Mary herself to the Carmelite priest, St. Simon Stock. On July 16, 1251, Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, and gave him the scapular with the following incredible promise:“Whoever dies invested with this Scapular shall be preserved from the eternal flames. It is a sign of salvation, a sure safeguard in danger, a pledge of peace and of my special protection until the end of the ages.”
A Shortened Stay in Purgatory
The Blessed Virgin Mary promised those who wear the Brown Scapular that she herself will deliver her faithful children who have worn the Scapular devoutly from Purgatory, soon after their death, in particular the first Saturday after death.
This promise was given to Pope John XXII, who said that the Blessed Virgin Mary gave him this message in a vision: “I, the Mother of Grace, shall descend on the Saturday (Sabbath) after their death and whomsoever I shall find in Purgatory, I shall free, so that I may lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting.”
According to Church tradition, there are 3 conditions that need to be fulfilled in order to obtain the benefits of this Privilege:
- Wear the Brown Scapular regularly
- Observe chastity according to one’s state in life
- Pray the Rosary
This “Sabbatine Privilege” was promulgated and taught through the famous Bull Sacratissimo Uti Culmine (Sabbatine Bull) of Pope John XXII in 1322 and given definitive ratification in 1908 by the Holy See.
3 Indulgences we can receive through the Scapular
There are many powerful indulgences that one receives by wearing the Scapular. Indulgences are "a way to reduce the amount of punishment one has to undergo for sins”. The Church teaches that every sin we commit on earth merits for us a corresponding punishment of purification in Purgatory. When we confess to a priest, we receive absolution and forgiveness for our sins from the Lord, through the priest. However, the corresponding punishment for those sins remain, and we will need to “pay” for them in the purifying flames of Purgatory.
We are given by the Church, however, various means to gain indulgences, so that we can pay for our sins and reduce the amount of time we will undergo in Purgatory. One of those ways to earn indulgences is through wearing the Scapular.
There are 4 indulgences we can receive through wearing the Scapular:
- A plenary indulgence on the day of receiving the Scapular. Conditions: Confession and Communion.
- Plenary indulgence at the moment of death. Conditions: Confession, Communion, and devout invocation with the lips, or at least with the heart, of the Holy Name of Jesus.
- Each time the Scapular is kissed – 500 days indulgence.
Do you wear the Scapular? If you and your family still has not adapted this pious practice, we highly suggest you do so!