Hello Rosary lovers! In this post we will answer the query: do I need the Brown Scapular to pray the Rosary? This is a great question and one which reveals already a knowledge that the Brown Scapular and the Rosary are sisters.
However, this doesn’t mean that you need the Brown Scapular in order to pray the Rosary. Nor does it mean you need to pray the Rosary before you decide to wear the Brown Scapular.
Every Catholic is absolutely 100% free to either pray the Rosary and not wear the Scapular, or free to wear the Scapuar and never pray the Rosary. Catholics are also 100% free to not wear the Scapular and not pray the Rosary (so long as we have some daily prayer/s or devotion/s to God).
Now it is true that often the Scapular and Rosary have been combined by saints. For instance, St Dominic’s statement is really well-known: ‘One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world.’
There’s also a great quote from St Alphonsus Liguori: ‘Those who say the Rosary daily and wear the Brown Scapular, and who do a little more, will go straight to heaven.’ That is an awesome statement from no less than a DOCTOR (yes, a Doctor) of the Catholic Church.
The saint suggests that a terrific foundation for any holy life is the daily recitation of the Rosary combined with wearing the Brown Scapular. Only ‘a little more’ is required for such people to reach heaven, because they are already so well set-up for living outstanding lives of holiness.
With testimony like this, we may wonder why any Catholic hearing this would ever want to NOT pray the Rosary daily or to wear the Brown Scapular. And yet, we are under no obligation WHATSOEVER from the Church to do either. It is completely up to us and our spiritual lives.
And that’s as it should be. We are not all robots and we are not all cut from the same cloth. We aren’t at all the same. We don’t pray the same way and we don’t all shine with exactly the same virtues. We are a Body, the Body of Christ. As such, we all have different gifts and different strengths.
What we are obligated to do as Catholics
The Church obligates us to do the minimum because she loves us and wants what is best for us. She knows we are lazy by nature and that if she didn’t obligate us, many of us would not go to weekly Mass, many of us wouldn’t EVER fast or abstain from meat, many of us wouldn’t go to Confession at least once a year. And so on.
We are weak, we forget things, and frankly we often presumptously assume that all is probably fine anyway with God and ourselves. But to be presumptuous about God’s mercy or God’s work in our lives is not a good way to approach our relationship with God. We should always have a humble lack of certainty that God will have mercy on us. Certainly he doesn’t have to, and we cannot have certain knowledge that we will get to heaven someday.
We DO have to attend Mass weekly, at least. We DO have to do penance every Friday, and to fast, at least on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. We DO have to Confess our sins and receive the Eucharist at least once a year. And we DO have to provide for the Church financially (if we are able) according to our ability. This is enough to keep us in the Church and to keep us in a decent relationship with God.
Optional Extras for those serious about becoming saints
And yet, for those who want more, more, MORE of Christ, there is so much MORE the Church offers. But – again, like a good Mother – she doesn’t obligate us to do these things.
For instance, many Catholics go to Mass daily. This is the most powerful, sublime, godly, Christ-like and loving thing any Catholic can do. It’s the BEST devotion any Catholic can ever have. Even if they don’t receive the Eucharist everytime they go, merely attending and listening devoutly to Mass as often as they can will have a tremendous impact on their lives and on those they love.
It also has a tremendous impact on the entire world and on the living and the dead, because when we participate in Holy Mass, we participate in helping the Holy Souls in purgatory and in aiding the living to come to repentance.
I, for one, would LOVE to be able to attend Mass daily. Not because I particularly want to. The truth is that I don’t particularly want to, my nature turns away from such a seemingly arduous discipline. And yet, I have read enough Catholic spiritual books to know for sure that this is the devotion of devotions.
Frequent Mass attendance is FAR more powerful than the Rosary and Scapular combined. It is far better a spiritual devotion than weekly Confession. It is far better a spiritual devotion than anything you can think of, because every other spiritual devotion takes its life and soul and power from none other than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Mass is everything! Everything!
And so, if I could give myself to just one spiritual devotion, it would be daily Mass attendance. Because I know the worth of it, I know that this is what every saint testifies to, this is the whole trajectory of what the Church teaches. To be in the constant presence of the Eucharist, which is the Source and Summit of our Faith. Our Faith begins and ends with the Eucharist. It is both the Start and the Goal of our Faith. It is the Holy Gospel of God. It is Christ himself.
But, at the end of the day, it really is up to you. No Catholic has to attend Mass daily. Even with all the magnificent blessings in this life and the next that daily Mass offers, the Church still only asks us to attend once a week, and on Holy Days of Obligation. That’s all.
Our answer to this question will determine how much we participate in all the many other things the Church offers us, but which she doesn’t command of us. She commands us to do the minimum to keep us in relationship with God and herself. But she OFFERS us the rest. The choice then, is freely up to us.
The Brown Scapular and the Rosary fall very much into this ‘offer’ category. The Church offers them to us, and they are very powerful spiritual devotions. Our Lady, Mary, certainly seems to highly approve of them, a lot, judging from the private revelations to various saints and at Fatima.
Personally, I think the Brown Scapular is one of the easiest ways to get to heaven eventually. Because all you have to do is to get a priest to enroll you, and then all you do is WEAR IT! That’s all! Have you ever heard that the Church offers you a path to heaven simply by wearing a sacred object, and doing nothing else with it? That’s the Brown Scapular.
But, again, we are not all the same. We need to follow the Holy Spirit in each of our lives. Some things work for some of us and other things work for others. It is always a wise approach in the spiritual life to try to be yourself and not try to be something or someone else (have a look here).
I hope that fully clears up this question. If you have any other questions, or wish to make a comment, feel free to get in touch 🙂
God bless you all