OUR LADY OF THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL
Psalm 119, Verse 63
I am the friend of all who fear you, of all who observe your precepts.
Those that love the Lord's service, naturally associate with kindred spirits—with those that fear him, and keep his precepts.
These two features identify the same character: as cheerful obedience is always the fruit of filial fear. These then are the Lord's people; and union with Him is in fact union with them. Sometimes the society of the refined and the intelligent (Elitists) of this world may be more agreeable to our natural taste. But ought there not to be a restraint here? Ought not the Christian to say —"Surely the fear of God is not in this place"? "Should I love them that hate the Lord?" Let those of us, who must live in close, and to a certain degree necessary, contact with the world, subject their hearts to an evening scrutiny on this subject. Has the society of this day refreshed my soul, or raised my heart to spiritual things? Has it promoted a watchful temper? Or has it not rather "quenched the spirit" of prayer, and restrained my intercourse with God? To meet the Christian in ordinary courtesy, not in unity of heart, is a sign of an unspiritual walk with God. Fellowship with God is "walking in the light." "Fellowship one with another" is the natural flow. "The communion of saints" is the fruit and effect of communion with God. The calls of duty, or the leadings of Providence, may indeed unavoidably connect us with those, who "have no fear of God before their eyes." Nor should we repel them, by religiously affecting a sullen or uncourteous habit. But such men, whatever be their attractions, will not be the companions of our choice. Fellowship with them is to "remove the ancient landmark"; to forget the broad line of separation between us and them; and to venture into the most hazardous atmosphere. If indeed our hearts were ascending, like a flame of fire, with a natural motion heavenwards, and carrying with them all in their way, the choice of the companions of our pilgrimage would be a matter of little importance. But so deadening to our spirit is the conversation of the men of this world (however commanding their talents, or interesting their topics), that even if we have been just before enlivened by the high privilege of communion with God, the free and self-indulgent interchange of their society will benumb our spiritual powers, and quickly freeze them again. To underrate therefore the privileged association with them that fear God, is to incur—not only a most awful responsibility in the sight of God; but also a most serious hazard to our own souls. If then we are not ashamed to confess ourselves Christ-fans, let us not shrink from walking in fellowship with Christians. Even if they should exhibit some repulsive features of character, they bear the image of him, whom we profess to love inexpressibly and incomparably above all. They will be our companions in our eternal home; they ought therefore to be our brothers now. How sweet, and holy, and heavenly, is this near relation with them in our common Lord! Shall we not readily consent to his judgment, who pronounced "the righteous to be more excellent than his neighbor?" "Iron sharpeneth iron." If then "the iron be blunt," this will be one of the best means of "whetting the edge." The most established servants of God gladly acknowledge the sensible refreshment of this union of heart. It is marked in the word of God as the channel of the communication of heavenly wisdom—as a feature in the character of the citizens of Zion, and especially as that disposition, which is distinguished with manifest tokens of the Savior’s presence; and which the great day will crown with the special seal of his remembrance. "They that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened, and heard it"and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels."
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
In the year 1830, Our Lady appeared to St. Catherine Laboure, a Daughter of Charity in Paris, and told her that God had a mission for her. Standing upon a globe, the Virgin Mary held a golden ball which she seemed to offer to God, and on her fingers were rings with gems that emitted rays of light. She told St. Catherine, "These rays symbolize the graces I shed upon those who ask for them. The gems from which rays do not fall are the graces for which souls forget to ask. The Blessed Virgin instructed St. Catherine to have a medal made of these images, and she promised many graces to all who wear it.
Meaning of the Medal
Here, we see a woman, the Mother of God, encircled by a short and famous prayer: "O Mary conceived without sin. . . . " Being conceived without sin—the mystery of her Immaculate Conception—means that from the beginning this woman was full of grace. Mary stands on a globe, the world. Around her feet a twisted serpent, the devil, struggles for mastery. It is a conflict between good and evil. Satan's is a world of darkness and disgrace; Mary's is a world of light and grace. But hers is the victory won by Christ—the light of the world. So, we see the light and grace of Christ flowing from her hands; and those who choose grace rather than darkness turn to her for help: "pray for us who have recourse to thee."
On the back of the medal we see a large letter M with a cross above it. M is for Mary and Mother because she is indeed the Mother of God's people—a people founded on the twelve Apostles, signified by the twelve stars arranged around the rim. The two hearts are those of Jesus and Mary. God's message for Mary was one of suffering "a sword will pierce your heart too"—just as the heart of her Son would be pierced by a soldier's lance. The showing of the two hearts in one grand alliance is a reminder of God's love for us. Mother and Son are united in the work of redemption as Christ offers himself on the cross and Mary stands compassionately at his feet, assenting in faith so that the world might be saved. The medal, then, is a summary in itself of the Church's teaching on Our Lady—a mini-catechism of the faith for everyone.
The MI Movement
One of the most celebrated cases of a conversion, through the use of the Miraculous Medal, was that of the agnostic, Alphonse Ratisbonne. In January 1917, while still a seminarian at the Conventual Franciscan Friars' Seraphicum in Rome, St. Maximilian Kolbe heard the Miraculous Medal conversion story of Ratisbonne. This wonderful account inspired St. Maximilian to recognize the powerful role that God had given Mary in the work of leading people to conversion and growth in holiness. He understood that the Miraculous Medal symbolized her active presence in the Church as Mediatrix of All Graces. For the next nine months St. Maximilian meditated upon the Miraculous Medal, the apparition of Our Lady to St. Catherine Laboure, and the marvel of Ratisbonne's conversion.
On the evening of October 16, 1917, St. Maximilian was ready to put these Marian insights into a concrete plan of action. He gathered six Franciscan companions in a room at their seminary on Rome's Via San Teodoro to establish what he called in Latin the Militia Immaculatae (MI), that is, the "Knights of the Immaculata." This movement, which now numbers millions of members worldwide would bind people together around one compelling and fruitful ideal: spiritual union with Mary the Immaculata. This ideal would attract various kinds and classes of people (clergy, religious, and laity), stirring each to form a person-to-person relationship with Mary by means of the "Act of Total Consecration," and entrustment of self to her.
St. Maximilian made the Miraculous Medal the insignia of the MI movement. He recommended that people wear it as an external sign of their Total Consecration to the Immaculata. Mindful of Mary's promise to St. Catherine that "all who wear it will receive great graces," St. Maximilian saw the medal as a means of safeguarding the consecration. It reminds MIs that by their consecration they are to belong to Mary, work for her, and become one with her, so that she might act through them as her instruments.
The Miraculous Medal helps MIs to love Jesus through Mary, so as to hasten the transformation of individuals, families, and society into a "civilization of love."
Purpose of the MI:
Pursue the conversion and growth in holiness of all people, under the sponsorship of the Blessed and Immaculate Virgin Mary.
May I join the MI?
All Catholics are welcome to join. One's "work" in the MI is simply to live the spirit of Total Consecration to Mary as taught by the saints and popes. MIs try to bring the presence of Mary into daily life, by offering up daily duties, prayers, sufferings, and good works for the conversion and sanctification of souls. MIs need not attend meetings, nor pay dues, nor follow complicated rules.
Miraculous Medal Invocation Prayer
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you, and for all who do not have recourse to you, especially the enemies of the Church and those recommended to you.
Meditation Prayer with the Miraculous Medal
Mary, this medal is a sign and a guarantee of your presence. You are present because your power is present, your voice is present and your love is present. Therefore, O wonderful Sinless Woman and our Mystical Mother, we call on you now to fulfill your guarantee. Bring us the great graces you promised to those who carry this medal, especially to those who wear it around their neck. Make us perceive our presence now and always. Make us consciously experience your power, your love and your guidance, that in their strength we may begin to share in your perfect response to God and to each of his creatures, and join in your war with the ancient Serpent. Help us utterly abandon our self-centered feelings and preoccupations. Help us hear and understand you. Teach us to listen and learn. Help us respond to you today and always;, that made one with you we might more fully respond with the rest of the Church to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, participating in their life and unity.
· Octave of Christ the King
ü I plan to attend Mass daily or via EWTN or the internet
ü Mediate on the virtues of Mary (Humility, Generosity, Chastity, Patience, Temperance, Understanding/love and Wisdom. One for each day.
ü Fast doing the Daniel fast (Monday-Saturday).
ü Exercise-Universal Man Plan.
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