Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
A Sign of Mary
One of the signs in the tradition of the Church from many centuries ago is the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It is a sign approved by the Church and accepted by the Carmelite Order as an external sign of love for Mary, of the trust her children have in her, and of commitment to live like her.
The word scapular indicates a form of clothing, which monks wore when they were working. With the passage of time, people began to give symbolic meaning to it: the cross to be borne every day as disciples and followers of Christ. In some religious orders, such as the Carmelites, the Scapular turned into a sign of their way of life. The Scapular came to symbolize the special dedication of Carmelites to Mary, the Mother of God, and to express trust in her motherly protection as well as the desire to be like her in her commitment to Christ and to others. Thus it became a sign of Mary. Basically the scapular devotion is a consecration. It is an outward sign to remind Christians that just as they have been engrafted into Christ in Baptism, and so are His, so they have put on the life that Jesus received from Mary, the perfect model of all the disciples of Christ.