Yank- “OUCH!” I got rope burn on my neck for the billionth time. I have been in the habit of wearing a brown scapular around my neck since I made my First Communion twenty-some years ago. For those that are unfamiliar with the practice, it is a special devotion that many Catholics do to honor Our Lady. We wear a brown cord with 2 brown wool cloths attached to it. It is worn around the neck with one cloth worn in the front and the other in the back.
It is a brilliant habit. Mary told St. Simon Stock that anyone who wore this scapular shall never suffer eternal punishment (hell). I’m not going to lie that I have had scrupulous moments in my life where I may have forgotten to put it back on after a shower and I panicked, praying that I would make it back home before I died.
That’s not exactly the point… it isn’t magic or a lucky charm. It is a physical reminder that if we cling to Our Lady’s mantle, like a little child, she, like any loving mother, will protect us.
So now why am I getting choked out by this beautiful sacramental? Because I have a two-year-old. My dear little Lucy developed the habit of rubbing my scapular against her nose when she was tired. She would drift off to sleep with my scapular in her tiny little hands. It became her most essential comfort item and reached for it anytime she was upset or exhausted. It was adorable when she was 6 months old. It is borderline torture now that she is 2!
When she is tired, she storms up to me and aggressively yanks at one of the cloth pieces and turns it so that it is closest to her, then puts it up to her face. Yes, I really have had rope burn marks on the back of my neck from her pulling! My poor scapulars have a very low life expectancy, so I tend to stock up on them. As a matter of fact, I just received my latest Amazon package of them yesterday. It was a pack of 20…
Little Joe is 7 months and has just started taking a liking to it as well… O boy!
This has always been a weird subject for me. I was flattered by the fact that the very smell of me could comfort a child, yet somewhat exasperated by it because Lucy was obnoxious about it!
Our priest gave an incredibly moving homily on the scapular last week in honor of Mary here in the month of May. I was so moved by his words and meditated on them more deeply. It was then that I realized the irony of what my babies were doing. They were doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing by symbolism of my scapular.
Lucy comes to me for comfort when she is upset, or to find rest when her little body is so weary from a busy day of play. She knows that I can take these problems from her and help her regulate and sort them out. It brings tears to my eyes thinking about how that is exactly what Mary wants from me, only she isn’t a sinful woman like I am and never gets exasperated by me. She waits patiently for me to run to her with my problems and dump them on her. She gives my soul the quiet rest that it needs from this chaotic world that we live in.
My scapular rests upon my heart, much like Lucy does when she runs to me. If I close my eyes, I can swap out the characters. I become a small child, like Lucy, and I run to my Mother Mary and rest my head against her heart.
Sweet Mama Mary, thank you for loving me despite my many shortcomings. I give you everything that I do have so that you can polish it and present it to Our Lord. Teach me to be more like your Son. I ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Until next time, your sister in Christ,
*Originally published on May 15, 2022 at catholiccountrychronicles.com