The Practice of the Brown Scapular

The first time I saw the scapular, which looked like two woolen squares attached to a few ribbons, was around the neck of one of my younger cousins. She was a cradle Catholic and I found it positively bizarre that anyone would choose to wear such a thing. I recall asking her about it once and in her gentle way, she smiled and acknowledged that it was just something she was led to do, that she found worked for her.

Private album.

It left me completely puzzled. Did she sleep in it? Shower in it? What about someday when she’s old enough for prom…won’t it clash with everything? How on earth does one begin to find a dress to pair with that mousy, scratchy brown wool? I was mystified.

If I’m being completely honest here, I waffled between thinking Catholic practices and beliefs were curious but misinformed, or downright idolaters (sorry).

I read a wonderful article recently by someone further along in the practice of wearing a brown scapular than I am (in my three months? now) am today. The Anchoress, in her article on the subject, said that “slow growth is better than no growth”. I completely agree and hope to share someday how wearing the scapular has improved my spiritual walk with God. And maybe by then, I will have also conquered my cravings for meat, which seem strongest now on Thursdays…


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