child, who loves his mother dearly, wishes to be continually
with her all the days of his life. But it is impossible
to be with her physically, and so he wishes, at least, to
have her in his thoughts. But again, because his mind and
his thoughts are subject to distractions, he resorts to
a means that the natural instinct of the human heart suggests.
He selects some article, which he thinks might prove dear
to the mother whom he loves so deeply. It is usually an
article of little or no value in itself, but it serves admirably
the purpose for which he uses it. He carries it on his person
to help him keep the thought of his beloved mother always
in his mind and in his heart.
custom, suggested by nature, is as old as the human race....
We must not wonder, therefore, that Christ, who is represented
in the Canticle of Canticles, says to His Spouse, the Church:
"Put Me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal
upon thy arm" (Cant. 8: 6).
This request of the Spouse in the Canticle, the Church
has always fulfilled to the letter: first morally by bearing
on her spirit the seal of her divine Founder, Jesus Christ;
and then materially by using the sign of the cross in all
her external operations.
request which Christ asked of the Church in the Canticle
of Canticles is the same request which our Blessed Lady
now asks of all her children: 'Put me as a seal upon
thy heart." This we do by wearing her medal
upon our breast.... The purpose of this discourse is to
show that Mary's medal is important in itself; that it is
a powerful means of obtaining temporal favours; that it
is still more powerful in obtaining spiritual graces and
blessings; that this is true of medals in general and of
the Miraculous Medal in particular.
of the various ornaments used by the ancient Romans was
a kind of medal made of gold, silver, and sometimes even
of leather. It was a small case or locket containing amulets
or charms, which they believed had special power against
sorcery, witchcraft, and other such like evils.... Unfortunately
this superstitious practice is still in vogue at the present
time, not only among people who are still pagan, but even
among certain Christians, who either wear various pendants
on their own person or have them worn by their children
with the belief that they have the power to protect them
from evils. Since through this practice they attribute to
something a power which it certainly does not possess, and
render to something a worship which it does not merit, they
not only do not obtain what they desire but they offend
God and commit sin.
opposition to this superstitious practice of the pagans
and poorly instructed Christians, however, we have the beautiful
practice of the true and intelligent Christians, who honour
our Blessed Lady through the becoming devotion to, and respect
for, the medal. This devotion is approved by the Church,
most pleasing to God and our Lady and meritorious for us,
her clients. It consists in wearing on our person the medal
that bears Mary's image and is blessed by the Church. All
intelligent Catholics understand that this medal, of whatever
material it may be made, has no power in itself. But it
is blessed by the Church and receives its efficacy from
our Blessed Lady whom it represents, and from the devotion
that we have toward her and the confidence we place in her.
devotion of our Lady's medal is most pleasing to God and
to Mary herself. As a sovereign is pleased to see his soldiers
willingly wearing his uniform, and a master is pleased to
see his servants joyfully wearing his livery, God and our
Lady take a special delight on seeing so many of us distinguishing
ourselves as servants of God and children of Mary by wearing
the medal. The medal is not only pleasing to God and to
Mary, but advantageous to us. When our Blessed Lady looks
down upon us and sees us decorated with her medal, she will
be all the more disposed to look on us as her dear children
and to shower upon us her choicest favours and graces from
heaven. By wearing her medal Mary will always be nearer
to us and we to her. What an advantage when we are in need
of her help in our necessities. Moreover, our Lady's medal
resting on our breast night and day cannot but prove a continual
reminder that we are Mary's children, and it must serve
as an incentive to live a holy life.
since the medal is blessed and approved by the Church, and
is so pleasing to God and our Lady and so advantageous to
us, it is evident that it is important in itself, and that
it should play a large part in the life of every Catholic.
And who will refuse or neglect to wear it? Should we have
failed to wear it in the past let us resolve to do so for
the time to come.
Lady's medal is a powerful means of obtaining temporal favours.
The annals of the Church are filled with examples. Among
countless other sources we have Catholic Letters, of
Turin, Italy. We shall select only a few of the many cases
which are on record there.
have the case of a young girl of fifteen years who was stricken
with spinal meningitis. In a medical consultation her case
was pronounced most critical. She was told by her physicians
that should she ever get better it would take a very long
time. With a heavy heart the girl's mother had recourse
to Mary and asked the prayers of her devout clients everywhere.
She received the gift of a blessed medal, which she hung
around the sick girl's neck, and at noon on the next day
she felt so well that she asked to be allowed to rise from
bed. Since her request could not be granted, as her physicians
ordered her to be moved as little as possible, she kissed
the medal again and again. She rose from bed and stood erect
unaided, something she had not been able to do for five
months. She dressed herself without help, came downstairs,
and remained there the rest of the day. Her cure was complete
and permanent (1883).
next is the record of a priest who was seized with a violent
throat affliction. He could not swallow anything, not ever
his own saliva. His jaws were closed and his lips parched;
his respiration was blocked; he feared he was about to breathe
his last. While those around him wept and wailed he had
recourse to the Comforter of the Afflicted and the Health
of the Sick. He asked his sister to procure for him a medal
of Mary, Help of Christians, which she placed on his pillow.
After a good night's sleep and rest, he awoke next morning
without the slightest throat trouble, with a clear voice,
whereas before he could not utter a word. Thus by means
of Mary's medal he obtained a complete and permanent cure,
where all the remedies of the medical art were of no avail
we could continue to discuss individual cures indefinitely,
let us pass on to general cases of cures obtained through
our Lady's medal. When, in the year 1844, an epidemic of
cholera raged in many parts of Italy and France, a great
number of the faithful applied to the sanctuary of Mary,
Help of Christians in Turin, requesting to have blessed
medals sent them. They were convinced that our Lady would
cure or save from the dread disease all who made their peace
with God and wore the medal. More than four hundred thousand
medals were sent out from that sanctuary to Italy alone....
Forthwith letters poured in to the sanctuary from all parts
of Italy and France testifying to the cessation of the cholera
and the cures wrought by our Blessed Lady in favour of those
who placed such confidence in her and in her holy medal.
Many testified on oath that very few of those who wore the
medal were stricken by the malady and that those few who
happened to be stricken were cured.
important temporal favours may be, spiritual favours are
incomparably more valuable. And if Mary is so generous in
bestowing temporal favours through the devotion to the medal,
she is much more generous with regard to spiritual favours.
Indeed, spiritual favours and graces are her first concern.
In the first place, Mary's medal cannot but have a special
efficacy in protecting us against the devil and his temptations.
For, after Jesus Christ, the devil dreads no one more than
Mary, who, by bringing forth the Redeemer of the world,
"crushed his head, according to the divine prediction:
"I will put enmities between thee and the woman,
and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and
thou shall lie in wait for her heel" (Gen.
3: 15). Next to the cross on which Christ died to
redeem and save mankind, our most powerful weapon of defence
is our Lady's medal. Therefore, we should arm ourselves
with this weapon against this terrible enemy of our souls.
This does not mean, however, that our Lady's medal will
be of any help to us if we do not make the right use of
it. We may wear the medal and yet fall into grave sin if
we do not correspond with God's grace, which He gives to
all of us in general and to each of us in particular according
to our needs. But we must admit that those who wear Mary's
medal receive from her special help, which, provided they
correspond with God's grace, enables them to keep the devil
away and to resist him should he approach to tempt them.
annals of our Blessed Lady are one continual succession
of triumphs and victories of her devoted clients over the
enemy of their souls through the devotion to her medal.
And how many cases have never been and never will be placed
on record. They are known only to God and the individual
soul and our Blessed Lady through whose intercession they
have been obtained. Many have remained immersed in sin and
vice for years and years, deaf to every voice of God and
man, until some... friend handed them a medal of our Lady
and persuaded them to wear it. Then it was seen how they
burst into tears of compunction, how they hastened to the
tribunal of Penance to make their peace with God, how they
gave up sin and began a Me of fervour and holiness in which
they persevered until the end.
miracles wrought by our Lady's medal are most evident among
the sick and the dying. It happens all too frequently that
some of these postpone indefinitely the making of their
peace with God, or obstinately refuse to prepare for death.
After having tried in vain for weeks, and months, and sometimes
for years, relatives and friends finally have recourse to
Mary and to her medal. Should the sick patients reject the
medal, sometimes they hide it under their pillow or somewhere
in their clothes, and it scarcely ever fails to produce
the intended effect. How many obstinate sinners owe their
death-bed repentance and their happy death to Mary's medal!
number and different kinds of medals are legion. Here we
are concerned only with medals of our Lady. And among these,
the one known as the Miraculous Medal occupies a most prominent
place.... (It) was revealed to Zoe Laboure, a member of
the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, known in
religion as Sister Catherine.... Our Lady appeared to her
three different times in the year 1830, at the motherhouse
of the community in Paris. The first apparition occurred
on July 18, the second on November 27, and the third in
December. Sister Catherine says that during the second apparition
our Lady appeared as if standing on a globe, with a globe
in her hands. Dazzling rays of light emanated from her fingers
as from rings set with precious stones. These were symbolic
of the graces, which would be bestowed on all who asked
for them. The Sister says that around the obverse, or front
of the medal appeared an oval frame bearing in golden letters
the words: "O Mary, conceived without sin,
pray for us who have recourse to thee"; and that
on the reverse appeared the letter M, surmounted by a cross,
with a cross-bar beneath it, and under all the Heart of
Jesus, surrounded by a crown of thorns, and the Heart of
Mary pierced with a sword.
the second and third of these apparitions a command was
given to have a medal struck according to the model revealed,
and a promise of great graces was made to those who wear
it when blessed. On June 30,1832, the first medals were
struck, and with their distribution the devotion of the
Miraculous Medal spread rapidly throughout France and then
to every part of the Catholic world. At once great and extraordinary
graces were received through this medal....
devotion to the Miraculous Medal is one of the most widespread
of all our devotions. The novenas held in our churches and
chapels bear ample testimony of this. This devotion (received)
new life with the canonization of Sister Catherine Laboure
on Sunday, July 27,1947.
O Mary, conceived without
who have recourse to thee!
Discourses on our Lady, by Fr. O'Rafferty.
O Blessed Virgin,
as it is impossible for one who does not honour thee,
one whom thou dost not help, to be saved,
so it is impossible for him who commends himself to thee,
for him whom thou dost favour, to be lost.
spend some time at a cemetery this month, praying the rosary
for the dead who have died in the Lord. The bleakness of
the season, with bare trees, dead leaves blowing about in
the cold wind, and in general the death of nature, helps
us to meditate on death. Try praying your rosary at the
cemetery. There is much food for thought.
sorrowful mysteries, especially, should be brought clearly
to mind. Therein we consider the physical pains that led
to the death of our Saviour. The memory of like physical
pain is around us. Yet, Christ suffered more than all; He
took on the sins of the world.
glorious mysteries are a happier subject for our pious imagination.
Christ ascended to prepare a place for us, and these very
graves shall one day be opened by angels. Those who now
rest beneath our feet shall return to life, for the general
Judgement. Often Catholics are laid to rest, clasping their
rosaries. One day Mary's servants shall rise, clasping these
the joyful mysteries may be related to the graveyard. What
greater purpose did Jesus have, coming into this world,
than to suffer and die for our salvation? He went about
His Father's business; He was obedient unto death. Our Blessed
Mother treasured all these words in her loving heart.
27 is the feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. Profit
by this devotion.
to you in devotion to the Blessed Virgin, I am,