Can you imagine being awaken by an angel, and this angel telling you to follow her because the Blessed Mother wants to speak with you? I wonder at that moment if St. Catherine Laboure, being half asleep, thought she was just dreaming.
I think it’s important to recall the humility of Catherine when we consider wearing the Miraculous Medal. It’s not a charm meant to show off holiness or perform magic, but a message from heaven. Our Lady is calling upon us to not forget her Son and our purpose in this life – to love and serve Him. As someone who has visited the Miraculous Medal Shrine in Philadelphia during every “urgent need” of my life, I didn’t start wearing one until this year!
Here are five reasons why I wear a Miraculous Medal:
I am being reminded daily to “listen to my Mother”
– As a mommy of a three and a half year old boy, I’ve been hearing the word “no” a lot. Me: “Xavier, go to the potty” Xavier: No Me: “Don’t say no to me, just do it” Xavier: “No!”. This happens countless times a day. As you can imagine, this can be extremely frustrating. I wonder if Mary gets frustrated with us. Almost 200 years ago Our Blessed Mother instructed Saint Catherine Laboure to “have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around their neck.” Our Blessed Mother also told Catherine, “Now it must be given to the whole world and to every person.” For almost two hundred years this message has been available to us, yet I still do not have one around my neck. I wonder if Mary feels how I feel after a 30 minute debate with a three year old on why he has to at least try to pee.
It’s known as the “Miraculous Medal” for a reason, and I love a miracle!
When the medal first came into being, it was called the Medal of the Immaculate Conception. In less than ten years it became known at the Miraculous Medal because of the many graces and wonders that quickly became associated with wearing it. According to one source, between 1930 and 1950, more than 750,000 favors were granted and registered in just the city of Philadelphia alone. Our Blessed Mother wants us to ask her for prayers. Our Lord wants us to go to Him and tell him what is on our minds and in our hearts. Having this medal around our necks at all times is a constant reminder to pray. And as Mary promised, those who wear it will receive great graces.
Heroic men and women have worn it and encouraged others to wear it.
Two particular individuals come to mind: St. Maximillian Kolbe and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Before St. Maximillian courageously gave his life for another man, he started a movement and an organization, known in English as the Knights of the Immaculata. He made the Miraculous Medal the insignia of the group and had each member wear the medal. He said it was a “silver bullet” against evil. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, known for her charitable work throughout the world, called it a “medal of charity” and gave it out by the hand full. She said that the medal is a sign that God loves each and every individual at each and every moment of our lives.
It’s a reminder to ASK for help!
The images on the medal were designed by the Blessed Mother and spoken to St. Catherine Laboure. Our Blessed Mother said that the rays coming from some of her fingers demonstrate the graces God gives through her to those who ask and are open. There are some fingers where no rays are shown. Mary said that is to demonstrate the graces that are not given because they were not requested of her. Just another reminder of Matthew 7:7; “Ask and it shall be given to you”.
It’s a symbol of what is most important.
As I write this, my Facebook profile picture includes an opaque flag of France to show my support and prayers for those who have suffered a great tragedy. There is a U.S. flag hung outside the front door of our home to demonstrate patriotism. We often wear colors to support those effected by different diseases and when we are cheering for our favorite sports team, we wear the appropriate jersey. All of these have some importance in our lives. But what is most important? For me, it is my faith. If signs and symbols are important for the lesser things, why not show my enthusiasm for the greatest blessing of all – faith in Our Lord and the love of our Mother.
You can get a FREE Miraculous Medal! The Central Association of the Miraculous Medal‘s (which is celebrating it’s 100th anniversary this year!) primary mission is “to render honor to Mary Immaculate and to encourage the use of her Miraculous Medal with prayers and devotions to her”, offers a free Miraculous Medal to anyone living in the United States. Click here to get a free Miraculous Medal.