While baptism is a one-time event in a Christian’s life, there are many signs and symbols in the Church that remind us of that important moment in our lives.
One sacramental devotion that recalls our baptism and points us to our ultimate goal of Heaven is the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
The popular version of the Brown Scapular consists of two small pieces of brown cloth, linked by ribbons and worn over the shoulders underneath clothing. The word scapular comes from the Latin for shoulder, and it resembles in miniature the poncho-like cloak worn over the shoulders as part of many religious habits.
According to the Directory on Popular Piety, the Brown Scapular is a visible reminder of baptism.
The Scapular is imposed by a special rite of the Church which describes it as “a reminder that in Baptism we have been clothed in Christ, with the assistance of the Blessed Virgin Mary, solicitous for our conformation to the Word Incarnate, to the praise of the Trinity, we may come to our heavenly home wearing our nuptial garb.”
This is referring to the imposition of a white garment at baptism, which has much symbolism, as the Rite of Baptism explains.
N., you have become a new creation, and have clothed yourself in Christ. See in this white garment the outward sign of your Christian dignity. With your family and friends to help you by word and example, bring that dignity unstained into the everlasting life of heaven.
The Brown Scapular has a similar purpose of encouraging those who wear it to live a life of virtue, united to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
It is fitting then that whenever someone puts on a Brown Scapular, they should remember their baptism and their duty to bring “unstained” the “white garment” of their soul to Heaven.