What is a Scapular? Why Are The Catholic Wear a Scapular? RSS
Have you ever wondered why some Catholics wear a brown cord around their neck? Perhaps, you thought it to be a new type of rosary, a baptismal keepsake, or a “trendy” catholic sacramental. But no, all these assumptions are far from the truth. A scapular is more than that! and its evolution will surprise you.
Let us go back in time to discover what this ancient tradition is all about.
Around the ninth century, a monk received the scapular after the profession of vows, and it became known as "the yoke of Christ" (iugum Christi) and "the shield of Christ" (scutum Christi). Over centuries religious orders adapted the basic scapular as they considered appropriate for themselves, and as a result, we have a myriad of distinct designs, colors, shapes, and lengths.
Inspired by the original version, the scapular that the laity wears today is made out of two small pieces of wool, connected by a cord or ribbon, and hangs down one’s front and back. Some scapulars are made out of different materials ( precious metals) and represent devotions to The Virgin Mary, The Sacred Heart or St. Benedict. The most popular one is the brown scapular, known as the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Scapular. The brown scapular was revealed to a Carmelite priest, St. Simon Stock in the year 1251 AD.
Eventually, these smaller scapulars were marks of membership in confraternities, groups of the laity who joined together, attaching themselves to the apostolate of a religious community and accepting certain rules and regulations. However, popularly you do not need to belong to a confraternity to wear one.
One of the primary reasons Catholics wear a scapular today is the promises attached to it. They are guaranteed special protection, the loving intercession of Our Blessed Mother, and a special grace at the hour of death. Scapular wearers will not perish in Hell but would be taken up to Heaven by her on the first Saturday after their death.