Friday, July 15, 2005

The scapular--a garment of grace

July 16 is the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, associated with the brown scapular. This feast can help us reflect on the Biblical theme concerning garments of salvation. The German word for scapular (Gnadenkleid) literally means “grace-garment.” Many references to garments and clothes are scattered throughout the Bible, beginning in Genesis: “And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them” (Gen 3:21). The need for clothing was an effect of their sin. God’s tender action can perhaps be seen as symbolizing the garments of grace that he would bestow through Jesus Christ. Yet God drove them from the garden and blocked the way to the tree of life. In the Book of Revelation, we find Jesus has reversed this: “Blessed are those who wash their robes [in the blood of the Lamb] so that they will have the right to the tree of life” (Rv 22:14)
And in Isaiah:
"I rejoice heartily in the Lord,
in my God is the joy of my soul.
For he has clothed me in a robe of salvation,
and wrapped me in a mantle of justice,...
like a bride bedecked with her jewels."


Moneybags said...

I'm glad to see that you wrote on the scapular. I used to wear one all the time until I lost it, but I recently sent away for one free in the mail. For the postage costs (60 cents) they sent a rosary and a brown scapular. I really enjoy wearing the scapular, and it is probably my favorite sacramental.

Sr. Lorraine said...

Yes, it's a simple way of showing devotion to the Blessed Mother. The brown scapular in particular has been a popular devotion for many centuries.

RAP said...

This morning I was received into the Carmelite Order as a Lay Carmelite. Part of the reception liturgy included being clothed with the brown scapular. Ours is large and is not worn in public, except at our community meetings. I like your reflection, Sr. Lorraine, and the German word, "grace garment" When I don my scapular I will think of it in that way!

Anonymous said...

I have been intrigued by this, as the parish nearest me now that I moved back to Manhattan is the Church of Our Lady of the Scapular and St. Stephen, run by the Carmelites who serve as Chaplains at Bellevue. The homily on Saturday was a wonderful one. It has got me very interested in the Carmelites (but then I walk past the HQ of Opus Dei, and somehow my thoughts change ;-0)