My first sacramental medal was a dainty crucifix on a delicate chain. This was given to as a gift to wear as I received the Sacrament of Baptism. As a result, I have worn various Catholic medals during different seasons of my life, for varying reasons. Catholics cherish these pendants because it reminds them of God's grace. Religious jewelry also serves as a visual identification of our Faith.
Any Catholic of any age can incorporate Catholic medals and pendants into daily wear, as subtle reminders of our obligation to live out our faith in every situation. There are four beloved Catholic medals, easily recognizable and traditionally loved, with rich histories.
1. The Miraculous Medal
Our Blessed Mother Herself designed the Miraculous Medal. Through a series of visions, the Immaculate Conception, the Miraculous Medal was shared with St. Catherine Laboure. In 1830, Our Lady shared the images with St. Catherine and detailed the symbolism behind each aspect of the design. In addition, Mary promised that great graces would be conferred upon the wearer of her Miraculous Medal. If a person remained true to their faith and consistently prayed, they would receive the promised graces.
With the approval of Holy Mother Church, the medal was produced and shared widely starting in 1832. The front shows Mary standing as Queen of Heaven and Earth, crushing the head of a serpent with her foot. Also, the words around Our Lady read: O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. On the back of the medal, there are three different symbols we will see. We see 12 stars, two hearts (the love of Jesus and Mary), and an upper-case "M" intertwined with a cross. The upper case "M" intertwined with a cross symbolizes Mary's inseparability from her Son.
2. The Crucifix Necklace
Wearing or displaying the crucifix, rather than a bare cross, is a Catholic particularity. Jesus endured suffering and death for our sake to achieve redemption for us which is the main focus that Catholic Medals have. Our wearing of the body of Christ on the cross carries heavy meaning.
First, the physical display of the crucifix around our necks is a sign to the world that we believe in the saving power of Jesus through His death and resurrection.
Second, literally wearing the cross of Christ on our own bodies every day reminds us that we can bind our own daily sufferings, great and minor, to that ultimate suffering of our Lord and offer them as a pleasing sacrifice to God.
Finally, the presence of the crucifix prods us to clothe ourselves with Christ-like attitudes and actions, and to mirror ourselves after the suffering Savior we wear unashamedly.
There are innumerable styles from which to choose to suit your preferred look.
3. Four Way Cross Necklace (or Five-Way)
Can any Catholic medals evangelize? Four Way Crosses can! The Four Way Cross is a style, popularized in the sixteenth century. This results in the combination of five of the most beloved Catholic medals into one. Which are the following: Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Joseph, St. Christopher, the Miraculous Medal, and the Dove (Holy Spirit).
Therefore, the Four Way Cross is the perfect gift to visually teach the Catholic Faith in one simple item.
4. Patron Saint Medals
Patron saint medals are special pieces of Catholic jewelry that we wear to remind us of our relationship with our heavenly friends. They to prod us to pray to ask for Saint's intercession, and to assist us in imaging how we should live in imitation of Jesus Christ.
When we recite the Apostles Creed, we attest to our belief in the "communion of saints," the mystical union of members of the Church, believers still on Earth and those who have passed onto their eternal reward. St Paul refers to a "cloud of witnesses" in Hebrews 12:1, reminding us that the saints are indeed very much alive in Jesus. In fact, many saints have been known to say that they would do more to help us when they are in heaven than when they are on Earth.
As Catholics, we honor those who have run the good race and become friends with them. We ask them to pray for us, just as we often ask friends and family to pray for us when we have a special intention.
There are patron saints for virtually every cause, every state in life, every hardship. Spend time poring over the many saints in this online catalog, learn about their biographies and heroic virtues, and make new heavenly friends!
Each of the medals we have discussed are significant in their own way and also serve as a visual identification of our Faith. Check out a few of our favorites below!
Leave a comment and tell us about your favorite Catholic Medals?
Which is your favorite to wear? We’d love to know!