"The scapular was a long narrow strip of cloth, covering the shoulders and hanging down before and behind to the knees, worn by certain religious orders. Secondly, two small pieces of cloth connected by strings and worn over the shoulders by laymen. The Confraternity of the Scapular is quite ancient. It was inspired and revealed by the Holy Virgin to the blessed Simon Stock, sixth general of the Carmelite Order, about the beginning of the thirteenth century. This venerable religious, who had entertained from his earliest years a truly filial confidence in Mary, was one day in prayer, when the Queen of Heaven appeared to him, surrounded by a multitude of blessed spirits, and holding in her hand a scapular of the Order of Carmel. She gave it to him with these words: “Receive, my dear son, this scapular of thy order, as the distinctive sign of my confraternity, and the mark of the privilege that I have obtained for thee and the children of Carmel. Whosoever dies while piously wearing the scapular, shall be preserved from eternal flames. It will be a sign of salvation, a safeguard in danger, and a special pledge of peace and protection till the end of time.” (Manuel du Scap, by M. de Sambucy, p. 28.)
What are the promises attached to the Scapular? There is a twofold promise!
"Our divine Mother promises, in the first place, to save from the pains of hell those who die piously wearing the scapular." (Thein. Ecclesiastical Dictionary.1900)
"The Blessed Virgin promises, in the second place, that she will come and deliver out of purgatory the wearers of the scapular on the first Saturday after their death" (ibid)
How do you receive these privileges of the Scapular?
To receive the 1st privilege, that of a happy death, in addition to being in the State of Grace, one must "(1) receive the blessed scapular from the hands of a priest who has the power of giving it; and (2) wear it around the neck day and night, in health and in sickness, in life and at death." (ibid)
"To enjoy the second privilege, that is, to have a speedy release out of purgatory, it is also necessary for all the members to observe the chastity proper to their state: virginal chastity in the state of celibacy; conjugal fidelity in the state of marriage; and continence in the state of widowhood. Moreover, for such as can read: to recite daily the Canonical Office of the Church, or the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, according to Roman Breviary. For such as cannot read: to supply for the Office (1) by not failing in any of the fasts prescribed by the Church; and (2) by abstaining from flesh-meat on Wednesdays, in addition to Fridays and Saturdays, except on Christmas when it falls on any of these days. In case of grave hindrance, the abstinence is binding; but it is proper to have recourse to one’s confessor, so as to obtain a commutation." (ibid)
Foreshadowing of the Scapular found in Holy Scripture
Is 61:10 - "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God: for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation: and with the robe of justice he hath covered me, as a bridegroom decked with a crown, and as a bride adorned with her jewels."
Is 22:21 - "And I will clothe him with thy robe, and will strengthen him with thy girdle, and will give thy power into his hand: and he shall be as a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Juda.
Mt 27:28 - "And stripping him, they put a scarlet cloak about him. "
Jn 19:2 - "And the soldiers platting a crown of thorns, put it upon his head: and they put on him a purple garment"
Rev 6:11 - "And white robes were given to every one of them one; And it was said to them that they should rest for a little time till their fellow servants and their brethren, who are to be slain even as they, should be filled up. "
Rev 7:13-14 - "And one of the ancients answered and said to me: These that are clothed in white robes, who are they? And whence came they? And I said to him: My Lord, thou knowest. And he said to me: These are they who are come out of great tribulation and have washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb. "
image used under the Creative Commons attribution- sharealike 3.0. March 2009 John Stephen Dwyer