By Gene Zannetti
Growing up, the Brown Scapular was a concept that I knew of but did not fully understand. It was part of my Catholic heritage, an item known to carry a profound promise: those who died clothed in this scapular would be spared the eternal fires. Despite this, my own devotion had been limited to wearing a cross around my neck.
As the years passed, curiosity led me to delve into the rich tradition and the miracles linked to the Brown Scapular. I discovered the essence of the Sabbatine Privilege – a remarkable assurance from the Virgin Mary. This privilege holds that those who are enrolled in the Brown Scapular, who faithfully recite the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary or, as permitted, the daily Rosary, and maintain chastity in accordance with their state of life, are promised Mary’s aid after death. Specifically, she will intercede to ensure their release from purgatory on the Saturday following their passing.
Fatima Connects to the Brown Scapular
My understanding deepened with the revelations of the Fatima message. The Brown Scapular, I came to realize, was more than a symbol of personal devotion; it was a divine instrument given to humanity to confront global crises and to hasten the victory of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Sister Lucia, one of the visionaries of Fatima, conveyed heaven’s strategy to combat the threats of the time, encapsulated in the Blue Army Pledge. This pledge was a call to arms for Catholics to oppose the spread of communism, symbolically referred to as the “Red Army.” The Blue Army Pledge includes:
- To offer up every day the sacrifices demanded by one’s daily duty;
- To say five decades of the Rosary daily while meditating on the mysteries;
- To wear the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as a profession of this promise and as an act of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary;
- To practice and promote the devotion of the Five First Saturdays, with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, by going to confession, receiving Holy Communion, reciting five decades of the Rosary and keeping Our Lady company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary.
Recognizing the scapular as a sign of personal consecration to the Blessed Virgin and armed with the promise of divine grace, embracing the scapular became an obvious choice for me. It was not just about personal salvation; it was a participation in a celestial plan for peace and the salvation of many souls.
Not Just Personal Devotion
In embracing this venerable tradition, my commitment has expanded beyond personal devotion; it has grown into a mission of spiritual advocacy. Through “Spiritual Strength,” my apostolate dedicated to fostering Marian devotion, I’ve taken up the mission to disseminate the Brown Scapular as widely as possible. The inception of the “Scapular Trunk Club” was born out of this mission – a novel initiative where we, a group of devout Catholics, purchase these sacred garments in large quantities. We keep these symbols of faith in our vehicles, a mobile repository of grace, ready to share the gift of the scapular with those we encounter in our daily travels.
This practice has transformed the trunk of my car into a treasure chest of spiritual tools. It’s an endeavor that goes beyond mere distribution; it’s an act of evangelization, an invitation to a deeper faith life for fellow believers. Each scapular handed out is an opportunity for a soul to be touched by grace, to be reminded of the Blessed Mother’s protective embrace and to help save the world. I have seen firsthand the impact of this simple yet profound gesture – eyes that light up with recognition, hearts that are stirred by the promise of heavenly aid and spirits that are bolstered by the tangible connection to Our Lady.
My journey with the scapular has become a cornerstone of my public apostolate. Whether I’m leading a retreat, delivering a speech or participating in Catholic events, I am never without a supply of these brown woolen emblems and a pamphlet explaining how to enroll. They are not merely giveaways but sacred invitations, each enrollment a personal consecration, each scapular a testament to our ancient faith alive and active in the modern world.
More Than Fabric
The Brown Scapular is more than fabric; it is a sacramental, a silent prayer that continuously whispers for Mary’s intercession. It is a commitment to live a life pleasing to God, under the gaze of the Holy Mother. When I speak of the scapular to the curious, the seeking or the faithful, I speak of it as a strategic imperative – a call to arms in the spiritual battle that rages unseen but is felt in the trials and tribulations of our time. It is an armor of faith against the pervasive darkness, a badge of courage for those who choose to wear it.
I passionately encourage all who seek divine comfort and who strive for the salvation of their soul to take up this practice. To wear the Brown Scapular is to signal a readiness to participate in the grand narrative of salvation history. It is a commitment that follows Our Lady’s request at Fatima – a personal pledge to aid in the eventual triumph of the Immaculate Heart.
As a Catholic, I cannot think of a more profound, more accessible way to engage in the life of the Church and to draw upon the promises of heaven. In a world that often seems on the brink of despair, the Brown Scapular stands as a beacon of hope, a reminder of the power of faith, and a tangible link to the communion of saints. It is a gift of our faith, a heritage of our forebearers, and now, a personal crusade to which I have dedicated my life’s work.