2/22/2013 11:35:20 AM
What is a Scapular?
A scapular (Latin for "shoulders") is a piece of cloth that monks wear over their shoulders. It is supposed to be representative of the gentle yoke of Christ.
It has long been believed that the scapulars themselves provided the wearers with God's protection. In the 13th century an English Carmelite monk had a vision of Mary regarding the scapular. In his vision he claimed that Mary promised him that "whoever died in it would not suffer everlasting punishment and would quickly be released from purgatory." This special loop hole that guaranteed an instant ticket to Heaven became known as the Sabbatine Privilege. As one might imagine, this Marian devotion became immensely popular amongst Catholics. Modern scapulars which have been greatly reduced in size to simply a cord around the neck with two small pieces of cloth are no longer just worn by monks but by anyone interested in taking advantage of this privilege.
The biblically discerning Christian is well aware that this belief and practice is not only not found in God's Word but that it is in direct opposition to the gospel. Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ's work on the cross (Eph 2:8-9, Rom 3:24-25). We are to make God our refuge (Ps 16:1) not some physical adornment that can be worn around the neck. Some might try to reason that their trust is in Christ and such devotional devices simply merit additional grace to further their salvation and keep them from purgatory/hell. The problem with this reasoning is that it assumes that we have something to contribute to what Christ has accomplished and paid in full on the cross. When we try to add seemingly good works to Christ's Work, we nullify God's grace (Rom 11:6).
Jesus abundantly satisfies the mind, heart and soul of those who truly belong to Him. In contrast, those who claim He is their Lord and Savior, but in reality are unconverted, continually are searching for other things to fill and supplement what they have yet to find in Jesus.