Saturday, July 11, 2009


Blessings on the Holy Father on this his name day. Rather than give the life of St. Benedict of Norcia, patron of Europe, I thought I'd do a brief piece on St. benedict's medal to which I have some devotion. All the inscriptions are in Latin. The medal has on one side an image of St. Benedict holding up a cross in his right hand and with the Rule or Gospels in his left. To his right is a raven carrying off a poisoned loaf and to his left a poisoned cup (both attempts to kill him). Above the cup and the raven are the Latin words:

Crux s. patris Benedicti
(The Cross of our holy father Benedict).

On the margin of the medal, encircling the figure of Benedict, are the words:

Eius in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur!
(May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death!).

On the reverse side starting at the top (the medal shown above is different than the one I describe as it lacks the IHS and instead starts with PAX) we have the letters
IHS which, of course, are the first three letters of Jesus in Greek. Next going to the right around the rim we have
Vade Retro Satana
(Get behind me Satan)
and then
Numquam Suade Mihi Vana
(Do not suggest vain things to me).

The we have Pax (Peace) after which there is

Sunt Mala Quae Libas
(They are evil things that you offer)

followed by
Ipse Venenum Bibas
(Drink the poison yourself).

Around the cross in the centre are four letters

C, S, P, B
Crux s. patris Benedicti
(The Cross of our holy father Benedict).

On the vertical of the cross from the top down are the letters

Crux Sancta Sit Mihi Lux
(May the Holy Cross be Light to me).

On the horizontal there are

Non Diabolos Sit Mihi Dux
(May the Devil not be my guide/leader/commander).

The medal has its origin in Benedict's own struggles with temptation and his conquering them with the sign of the cross. Over time is has developed into its present form and comes in many sizes, sometimes coloured with enamel.
In these difficult times for Christians any aid we can get in resisting the wiles of the enemy and remaining faithful to Christ are very welcome. May Benedict bless, protect, guide and intercede for his namesake the Holy Father and lead Europe back to Christ.

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