Thursday, November 19, 2009

Benedictine Medal

Since we are hosting visiting monastic men and women this week perhaps it is a good time to share the medal of St. Benedict that many of us wear and that appears in many logos and through most Benedictine institutions--and the meanings behind all the symbolism on it.

One side of it has St. Benedict holding a cross in one hand and the Holy Rule in the other. On both sides of the statue are the words: Crux S Patris Benedicti: "The Cross of Holy Father Benedict." Under his feet are Ex S M Cassino, MDCCCLXXX: "From the Holy Mount of Cassino, 1880." Around the circumference is, Ejus in obitu nostro presentia muniamur: "May we be protected by his presence in the hour of our death."

The other side features the cross of St. Benedict with many letters.

The four letters around the center, CSPB, stand for "The Cross of Holy Father Benedict."

In the center cross are the letters CSSML-NDSMD: Crux Sacre Sit Mihi Lux-Non Draco Sit Mihi Dux: "May the sacred cross be my light--let not the devil be my guide."

Around the edge are VRSNSMV-SMQLIVB: Vade retro Satana! Nunquam suade mihi vana! Sunt mala quae libas. Ipse venena bibas!: "Begone, Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! Evil is the cup you offer. Drink the poison yourself!"

And at the very top is the word, Pax, peace.

The best place to find them is at Liturgical Press. They are available in gold plating, silver, or these jubilee ones, with gold and blue and red. Their sizes are compared to coins. The most popular size I've seen is about one inch in diameter--a nickel!