The Medal of Saint Benedict
by Fr. Bernardine Patterson OSB
As its history shows, God has already bestowed many great favors on the faithful through the Medal of St. Benedict many years before it obtained the solemn recognition and approval of the Church. Need this seem extraordinary to us? Is it not wonderful that God should mercifully look down on those who place their trust in the Cross and call upon Him in their danger and needs in the name of the Christ crucified?
Again, is it not the teaching of the Church that our prayers will be more readily heard, our wants more speedily supplied, when we place them in the hands of some such influential person at the heavenly court as St. Benedict! And what is the right use of the Medal of St. Benedict but a practical devotion to the Cross of Christ and mark of confidence in the intercession of that great servant of God, Benedict, who has so well taught us this devotion by his word and example?
Devotion to the Medal of St. Benedict is, above all, devotion to the sign of our salvation. We may truly say that the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is the main object of this devotion, as it was faith in the sign of the Cross which gave rise to the Medal. Its primitive form shows us the Cross only with the letters inscribed upon it; and to this day it is called the Medal or Cross of St. Benedict.
But the value of the Medal grew as time went on. The Church, the infallible interpreter of the divine was not slow to recognize God's special blessing upon it. Following in the way pointed out to her by God in dealing with the Medal in the past, the Church adds those favors which it is in her power to grant. She raised the Medal of St. Benedict to the dignity of a sacramental with a blessing of its own, and enriched it with numerous indulgences.
From her very origin the Church has been accustomed to bless and dedicate various objects to pious uses. Among the objects for which a special form of blessing is given, we find the Medal of St. Benedict. It is in fact the only medal in existence which is honored with such a blessing in the Roman Ritual. One great advantage of this singular privilege is that in the prayers used for the blessing we have an authoritative explanation of the use and object of the Medal. We cannot do better therefore, than learn from the Church herself the spirit in which we should make use of this devotional object which she recommends so warmly.
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