Monday, March 3, 2014

Medjugorje Message - Wear Something Blessed

Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic speaking to pilgrims in Medjugorje

If you have been following my blog, then you certainly have become familiar with Medjugorje and the main core messages given to us by Our Lady with her "little stones." In addition to these, Our Lady gives us many other messages as well and today's post focusses on one of these messages, "...[T]hat we wear something blessed on us." This is Our Lady's recommendation that Vicka has revealed to us, one that personally resonates with me in a big way. I hope that at the conclusion of today's post, it will be likewise for you.

This Medjugorje message comes to us through the visionary Vicka, the oldest of the visionaries who continues to receive daily apparitions. The prayer mission Our Lady gave to Vicka is to pray for the sick. Vicka currently lives in Bosnia-Herzegovina in a small village, Gradac which is only a few kilometers north of Medjugorje. Vicka typically provides talks to pilgrims from her home, which the above photo captures. You can view one of her talks at my sidebar's Vimeo video, which includes the message of today's post. If addition, you can read Vicka's talk to pilgrims from, Vicka About Our Lady "The Young People Live in a Very, Very Difficult Situation."

Our Lady's message of "wearing something blessed" is of great significance for us on our earthly pilgrimage because it specifically deals with how we can better protect ourselves against Satan. Our Lady has communicated to Vicka that Satan works very hard to disturb our prayers and take away our peace. To remedy this, Our Lady has told Vicka that the strongest weapon in our hands against Satan is the Rosary. In addition, Our Lady recommends that we wear something blessed, "Dear Children! Today I call you to place more blessed objects in your homes and that everyone put some blessed objects on their person. Bless all the objects and thus Satan will attack you less because you will have armour against him." (July 18, 1985) 

You might be asking yourself, what specific blessed medal or object would properly comply with Our Lady's recommendation. To help you make an appropriate selection, there are many approved and well known medals and objects, long established within the Church. I would like to recommend three in particular: the Miraculous Medal, the Brown Scapular and the St. Benedict medal. Anyone one of these objects suffices to meet the requirements from Our Lady and if you so chose to, you could wear all three.

Miraculous Medal
Two images of the Miraculous Medal, back and front.
Miraculous Medal
The Miraculous Medal is one that was designed by the Blessed Virgin Mary herself. Our Lady commissioned the design in 1830, as a mission to St. Catherine Labouré, a novice in the community of the Daughters of Charity in Paris. Saint Catherine was specifically told by Our Lady, “Have a medal struck upon this model. Those who wear it will receive great graces, especially if they wear it around the neck.”

The specific meaning of each side of the medal has been referenced from the Association of The Miraculous Medal, a Vincentian Community in Missouri, a generous group that offers a free Miraculous Medal to visitors at their site:
  • Front - Our Lady is standing on a globe, as Queen of Heaven and Earth, crushing the head of a serpent beneath her feet. The crushing of the serpent is to proclaim Satan and all his followers are helpless before her (Gn 3:15). The year 1830 marks the year of the medal's commission to St. Catherine. The reference to Mary conceived without sin supports the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. 
  • Back - There are twelve stars, one for each Apostle, who represent the entire Church as it surrounds Mary. The cross symbolizes Christ Our Redeemer, and our redemption, with the bar under the cross, a sign of the earth. The “M” stands for Mary, which illustrates Mary’s close involvement with Jesus and our world. The two hearts represent the love of Jesus and that of Mary.

For further reading on the Miraculous Medal, I would also recommend Father Robert J. Billett, C.M.F. article, St. Catherine Labouré and the Miraculous Medal - The Virgin Mary inaugurates the Marian EraIf you do decide to obtain a Miraculous Medal, you will need to make an appointment with a priest for its investiture, a special blessing. 

Brown Scapular
An image of the Brown Scapular.
Brown Scapular
The Brown Scapular is the physical object worn by many Catholics as part of the Brown Scapular Devotion, a universally established devotion in the Church since the seventeenth century and is considered together with the Rosary, a customary form of Marian devotional practice. The scapular that you see from the image associated with this post derives from a religious garment that religious would wear over their shoulders, that would extend to the front and back. From this devotion, there are two main aspects that one should come to know and understand: the Scapular Promise and the Sabbatine Privilege:
  • Scapular Promise - Wearing the Brown Scapular is a physical confirmation in one's confidence in the intercession of Our Lady to obtain for those who wear it, the grace of final perseverance or a "happy death." The two general conditions necessary to obtain this benefit are: first, one must honour Mary by wearing the Scapular faithfully until death and two, endeavour to sincerely lead a Catholic life. The revelation of this promise was made by Our Lady to St. Simon Stock, Prior General of the Carmelites (1247-1265), whom she communicated to and stated that all who wear the Scapular will not suffer the eternal flames of hell. This assurance by Our Lady has become known as the Scapular Promise
  • Sabbatine Privilege - Our Lady's aid may be confidently expected in purgatory for those who have worn the Scapular and fulfilled two other conditions: the first, the practice of chastity according to one's state of life and two, the daily recitation of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin. The second condition, praying the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin can be commuted, that is substituted with other prayers, typically five decades of the Rosary or some other pious practice such as fasting. This commute must be given by a Catholic priest. A similar commute can be given to substitute the abstinence of meat on Wednesday and Fridays, an original form of penance associated with this devotion and forms part of living a Catholic life together with prayer. The specific aid that one can be assured of from Mary is that after death, upon the first Saturday, one will be released from purgatory. This release from purgatory on the first Saturday is the Sabbatine Privilege.
An essential aspect of the Brown Scapular Devotion is to obtain the Blessing and Enrolment. This can be obtained within a group setting or an individual one. For individual purposes, there is the option of a short form of investiture, whereby a priest or deacon recites a Marian prayer, such as the Hail Mary, Memorare or Salve Regina, while placing the scapular over the head of the individual to wear it. Once completed, the individual is invested. It does not matter whether you choose to invest within a group setting or on an individual basis, just so long as you are invested. In so doing, you properly receive the Brown Scapular and begin your devotion following Jesus in a closer manner, in the example of Mary, Our Mother.

St. Benedict Medal
An image showing the front and back of the St. Benedict Medal.
St. Benedict Medal (Jubilee Medal of 1880)
Saint Benedict (480-547), one of the greatest saints in the Catholic Church, with his deep faith in the Cross had performed many miracles. His faith and special devotion to the Cross was passed on to succeeding generations of Benedictines, who received this special gift and made it available to the universal Catholic Church through the creation of the St. Benedict Medal.

The medal that we have today was designed and created in 1880 under the supervision of the monks of Montecassino, Italy to mark the 1400th anniversary of the birth of St. Benedict. Prior to this time, other medals were created but not as complete and thoroughly designed as the most current one, referred to as the "jubilee medal." The medal of St. Benedict is one of the Sacramentals of the Church, whose value and power must always be attributed to the merits of Christ, to the efficacious prayers of St. Benedict, to the blessing of the Church, and the faith and disposition of the person using the medal. The spiritual benefits for those that wear this metal are many and not limited to the following:

  • It wards off from both the soul and the body all dangers arising from the devil
  • The Medal is powerful in obtaining for sinners the grace of conversion
  • It obtains protection and aid for persons tormented by the evil spirit, and in temptations against holy purity
  • It procures assistance in the hour of death
  • It has often proved an efficacious remedy for bodily sufferings, and a means of protection against contagious diseases
  • Expectant mothers have obtained special assistance for a safe delivery
  • In time of storms, tempests and other dangers on land and sea it has been found to be a protection

Being the sacramental that it is, the St. Benedict medal has been long been regarded as an efficacious instrument to protect all who wear it from demonic attacks and obtaining many special graces. This medal can be worn around your neck, attached to a scapular or Rosary or carried about somewhere on you. Before you actually use this medal, you first must obtain an Approved Blessing from a priest or deacon. Below are the design details of the St. Benedict medal:

Front Side of St. Benedict Medal
  • An image of St. Benedict, with a cross in his right hand and the Rule For Monasteries in his left
  • To the right of St. Benedict on a pedestal is a poisoned cup, shattered when he made a sign of the cross over it. To the left, a raven on a pedestal carrying a loaf of poisoned bread sent by a jealous enemy to St. Benedict
  • Above the cup are the Latin words, Crus s. patris Benedicti (The Cross of Our Holy Father Benedict)
  • On the margin encircling the figure of St. Benedict are the Latin words, Eius in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur (May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death)
  • Below St. Benedict's feet we read, SM Casino MDCCCLXXX (From Holy Montecassino, 1880)

Back Side of St. Benedict Medal
  • The Latin word, Pax at the top which means Peace
  • The cross image is dominant with the Latin inscriptions on the arms, Crux sacra sit mihi lux! Nunquam draco sit mihi dux! (May the holy cross always be my light! May the dragon never be my guide!)
  • In the angles of the cross, the letters CSPB which stands for Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti (The cross of our holy father Benedict)
  • Around the margin are the letters, VRSNSMV-SMQLIVB, which is a Latin prayer of exorcism against Satan, Vade retro Satana! Nunquam suade mihi vana! Sunt mala quae libas. Ipse venena bibas! (Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself!)

May Our Lady Queen of Peace, inspire and guide you in your selection.

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