July 11, 2008

The original Original ORIGINAL scapular . . .

. . . comes from before A.D. 547— which is the year when . . .

. . . St. Benedict died.

He was the first to prescribe the use of a "scapular". However, in his time a scapular was still merely a work apron. Over time monks began to see it as a symbol of the work of the Cross. Benedictines made the scapular increasingly longer and began to wear it all the time, not just for work. The habit scapular became a long panel of cloth with a hole in the middle for the head. It is shoulder-wide, straight-sided, ankle-length and square-cornered. The scapular hangs nearly to the ankles both in front of the body and behind. Most of the older religious orders copied the scapular from the Order of Saint Benedict (the oldest religious order).

The small devotional scapular that many Catholics wear is a symbolic miniature of the full-size scapular that monks and nuns have as part of the habit. Like the full-sized habit scapular of monks, the miniature devotional scapular has a front panel and a back panel with cords that pass over each shoulder ("scapula" in Latin) to connect the front and back panels. The brown devotional scapular pictured above is the scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Some time ago I posted a description and images of the parts of the complete Benedictine monastic habit.
Click HERE for it.


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