My son Gerard and I just returned from a week at Cub Scout camp, where torrential rain and frequent thunderstorms limited the opportunities for fun stuff like hiking and boating. You can imagine the delight of Gerard and his camp mates when the rain let up long enough for the boys to hurry down to the pool for a swim. Gerard removed his mud-stained shirt and put it into a poolside cubbyhole. Then he took off his scapular, kissed it, and laid it on top of the shirt so that it, too, would be nice and dry when he donned it again.
Not all of my boys will remove their scapulars before swimming; Dominic usually wears his no matter what. But Dominic isn’t sensitive to the feel of a soggy scapular. He’s also an extrovert who is eager to engage any human being within earshot. So when Dominic is at summer camp, he often finds himself answering his fellow Boy Scouts’ questions about his scapular: “What’s that string around your neck?” “You mean you have to wear it all the time?” “Is it like a good luck charm?” “So you can, like, kill somebody and still go to heaven?”
Even a discreetly worn scapular can open the doors to evangelization. (It was my future husband’s faithful wearing of the scapular that made me rethink my view of sacramentals – and, by association, of the Church itself – as medieval relics. But that’s a subject for a different post.)
So, at this time of year, when swimwear and seasonal clothing allow scapulars to be more visible, we should be ready to give the facts, history, and promises of the brown scapular to anyone who asks (and maybe even to those who don’t)!
As the Boy Scouts would advise: “Be Prepared.” And, who knows? You may spark someone’s fire of faith!
Copyright © 2013, Celeste Behe