Tag Archives: symbolism


Front of the medal

The Cross

“[…] There is the image of St Benedict carrying in his right hand the Cross of Christ. It is known that St Benedict had a special devotion to the Cross and this has been passed on to succeeding generations of Benedictines. The Cross is the Christian symbol of salvation, which St Benedict used to evangelise others for Christ.

The holy Rule

In his left hand St Benedict holds the holy Rule, which he wrote for the life of his monks.

Other symbols and inscriptions

On the pedestal on the right of St Benedict we see a poisoned cup, shattered when St Benedict made the sign of the Cross over it. On the pedestal to the left we see a raven about to take away a loaf of poisoned bread. The bread had been sent to St Benedict by a jealous enemy and the raven saved Benedict from eating it. Above the cup and the raven are the Latin words meaning ‘the Cross of the Holy Father Benedict’. Under the image of St Benedict are the Latin words meaning ‘from holy Monte Cassino 1880’, reminding us that this medal was struck to commemorate the 1,400th anniversary of the birth of St Benedict. Round the margins of the medal, encircling the image of St Benedict, are the Latin words meaning, ‘May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death.’

Reverse of the medal

There is a Cross, and written down the Cross are the first letters of the Latin words meaning, ‘The Holy Cross be my light.’ On the horizontal bar are the first letters of the Latin words meaning ‘Let not the dragon be my guide.’ In the angles of the cross are the first letters of the Latin words meaning ‘the Cross of the holy Father Benedict.’ Round the margin are the first letters of the Latin words meaning ‘Be gone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil! Drink the poison yourself.’ At the top and the bottom of the Cross are ‘peace’ and ‘IHS – Jesus’.

Use of the medal

The medal can be worn, or carried, and it calls down God’s blessing and protection upon us through the intercession of St Benedict.”

– From: Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris / June 2015

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Posted by on July 11, 2015 in Words of Wisdom


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“[Pope Benedict XVI] recalled the moment during a priest’s ordination in which he dons the liturgical vestments, saying: ‘In this exterior gesture the Church wished to make the interior event clear to us, and the task that arises therefrom: to don Christ, to give oneself to Him as He gave Himself to us. This event, this ‘donning of Christ,’ is represented ever and anew in each Mass.’

The liturgical vestments, then, Benedict XVI commented, ‘illustrate what it means ‘to don Christ,’ to speak and talk ‘in persona Christi’.’

The amice, he continued, ‘used to be placed over the head like a kind of hood, thus becoming a symbol of that discipline of the senses and the mind which is necessary for the celebration of Mass.’ The texts that interpret the alb and the stole ‘evoke the festive robes that the father gave to the prodigal son when he returned home dirty and in rags. When we celebrate the liturgy, acting ‘in persona Christi,’ we are all aware just how far from Him we are, how much dirt there is in our own lives. Only He can give us the festive robes, make us worthy of presiding at His table and of serving Him.

In donning the alb, said the Holy Father, ‘we must remember that His suffering was for me also. And only because of His love is greater than all of my sins can I represent Him and be a witness to His light… We ask the Lord to eliminate all hostility from our hearts, to remove all feelings of self-sufficiency and truly to dress us with the robe of love, that we may become people of light and not of shadows.

The Pope then went on to recall that the chasuble represents ‘the yoke of the Lord which has been imposed upon us as priests… To bear the Lord’s yoke means above all learning from Him, being always ready to go to His school. We must learn mildness and humility, the humility of God which was expressed in His becoming man.”
– From “Christ to the World” (International Review of Documentation and Apostolic Experiences) N 4 Jul-Aug 2008 Vol. 53; original title: “Symbolism of Liturgical Vestments”.

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Posted by on September 13, 2013 in Prayers for Ordinary Time


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