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What is a Scapular?

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These bits of cloth worn about the neck are an important reminder.

When I was perhaps 13 or 15, my brother went to Marine Corps boot camp in San Diego. I was terrified for him. I wrote him a lot of letters and prayed for him daily. And I performed an important devotion, the Green Scapular or Badge of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Here's what happened...

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
3/14/2023 (2 weeks ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Scapular, meaning, purpose, what is, Catholic

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - I was deeply rooted in my faith by my family and some wonderful clergy who taught and inspired me. Even as a child, I was fascinated by the Bible, its stories, the stained glass at Church, and so many other Catholic things. Many of these things were mysteries to me, as I was still young, and did not enjoy the benefit of a formal Catholic education. Sadly, catechism classes were woefully inadequate. Fortunately, I was an avid reader.

For me, there was no question. When I compared my Catholic faith to that of my Protestant friends', there was no contest. I knew, even then, that the Catholic Church was my home. And soon I would understand why, because I would learn my history. But at age 14, I was barely going into high school and I was happily attending Mass and praying in the chapel during Eucharistic Adoration.

At that time, someone gave me a precious gift. Unfortunately, that person's memory is faded with time, and I cannot remember their name. But I remember the gift, a Green Scapular. I read the booklet that came with it, and immediately began the devotion. My priest blessed it for me and then I devoted my own prayers to my brother, to help him through boot camp, and to share in his certain suffering. With permission from my catechist at the time, I prayed on my knees, on the hard, tile floor. And it worked. My brother graduated with praise from his drill instructors.

As for me, I have carried that scapular with me. It went into my wallet as a child. And it has been in every wallet I've carried since. For me, it represents Mary's deep affection for me as a servant of Jesus Christ. In the darkest moments of my life, I've been able to look at it and remember that I am not alone. It has given me spiritual strength and courage. When I feel doubt over a decision, I remember my scapular, and I choose according to Christ.

This green bit of cloth is dingy and worn. But it is one of my most cherished possessions. And I would gladly give up many of my present possessions to retain it.

There are many scapulars. They are represented by small bits of colored cloth, worn by a cord around the neck. Brown and Green are the most common colors, but they can come in many others as well.

The scapular is a reminder to a Christian that they are devoted to God, and their faith practice. It is a wearable sign, which is kept private out of humility. But each day, when the wearer sees it, they are reminded of their pledge. It reminds us to pray, and to remain faithful.

In return for our devotion, there are spiritual promises that come with each scapular. Typically it involves some kind of grace, the kind that helps us with our ordinary struggles. For almost four decades, it has always worked for me.

Your Catholic Voice Foundation will soon offer beautiful scapulars to Catholics who support the educational apostolate of Catholic Online School. Although the details are not yet known, (I will know more in about two weeks) these will soon be available to us.

If you are fortunate enough to be given a scapular, please complete the devotion and keep it close as a reminder of your pledge. Live fully your Christian promises and watch what happens. AMEN.

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Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you.

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We ask you, humbly: don't scroll away.

Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you.

Help Now >

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