Some interesting lines from the North American Carmelites:
Is it necessary to enroll people in the Scapular Confraternity for them to share in the spiritual benefits attached to the scapular?
No, those who wear the scapular out of devotion, practice the Order’s spirituality, yet who have no formal association to the Order share in a spiritual affiliation to the Carmelite Order. It gives them the assurances of the graces pertinent to this sacramental. Indiscriminate enrollment in the Scapular Confraternity or other such associations weakens the purpose and mission of those associations and should be avoided.
If a person wears the scapular, but has no formal association to the Order, does that person still gain the benefits associated with the scapular?
A person who wears the scapular and practices the spirituality of the Carmelite Order has an affiliation, loose as it may be, to the Carmelite family and so shares in the graces traditionally associated with the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. However, simply to wear the scapular without accepting the responsibilities attached to it would be to reduce this precious sacramental to the status of a charm or good-luck piece.
Six practical ways of affiliation ate recognized by the Carmelite Order:**
1. The religious men and women of the Order and aggregated institutes
2. The Secular/Lay Order (Third Order).
3. Members of public associations and confraternities of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, such as active communities of the Scapular Confraternity.
4. Those who have been invested in the scapular, practice the Order’s spirituality, and have been granted some association with the Order.
5. Those who wear the scapular out of devotion, practice the Order’s spirituality, hut who have no formal association to the Order.
6. Those who are committed to practice the Marian characteristics of Carmelite Spirituality but use outward forms other than the Brown Scapular to express this devotion.
What is this Carmelite spirituality that one must practice in order to have an affiliation with the Carmelite Order?
The spirituality of the Carmelite Order is one of the preeminent spiritual traditions of the Catholic Church. It is difficult to reduce this spirituality to a few sentences. One who wears the scapular should certainly reflect upon the teachings of the great Carmelite saints, three of whom are doctors of the Church.
A few basic introductory principles of Carmelite spirituality would be;
1. frequent participation in the Mass and reception of holy Communion;
2. frequent reading of and meditation on the Word of God in Sacred Scripture;
3. the regular praying of at least part of the Liturgy of the Hours;
4. imitation of and devotion to the Mary, the woman of faith who bears the Word of God and puts it into practice;
5. the practice of the virtues, notably charity, chastity (according to one’s state of life), and obedience to the will of God.
So for now- simply have it blessed and wear it .. ...and be committed to the Marian aspects etc and be devoted to Our Lady and Follow Christ! :)
Then after one is Catholic - if one wishes one may be enrolled in the confraternity one may explore this and be so invested and enrolled if one so decides.