First, where is Mount Carmel? I don’t know about you, but in all the times I’ve heard of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, I never knew where it was. So, I did what everyone does: I Googled it! Turns out it’s in Israel! Who knew? It is in a mountainous region where Catholic hermits, under the Carmelite tradition, lived, worked and prayed.
It was to St. Simon Stock, Prior General, that Mary appeared in 1251. He had been praying for the Virgin Mary to bless his order with a singular privilege. To him she gave the Brown Scapular. It has two approximately 1.5 inch by 1 inch wool felt pieces on the ends of two pieces of cord, thus making a sort of small apron that one wears around his neck, with one felt piece in front and one in back. The Carmelites who wear this Scapular, and do the work and prayers associated with it will be saved, according to what Our Lady told St. Simon.
Later, the Brown Scapular became a popular sacramental. Now, they are even cast as medals to be blessed and worn around the neck or in a becoming manner, such as a bracelet. This was decreed by Pope Pius X in 1910. In fact, I have one that I never take off.
So, what is required to be saved while wearing the Scapular? Well, here is the list that I followed. Remember that you must do these for five months in a row and wear your Scapular at all times.
- You must attend Mass on the First Saturday (or Sunday if that’s all your Church has, as our tiny village Church does!)
- You must receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation prior to Mass (and do your penance!)
- You must receive Holy Communion
- You must pray the Rosary
- You must keep Our Lady company by spending an hour meditating on the Mysteries of the Rosary with her.
So, get your scapular medals, get them blessed, and start doing the work! Our Lord awaits!