As a cradle Catholic, I have worn different religious medals,
crosses and crucifixes at different times in my life. I recall
wearing a St. Christopher medal throughout my high school and
college years and a Marian medal for much of my early adult
Long before I became an oblate, I was intrigued about the St.
Benedict medal due to the symbolism and prayers embedded within it.
However, it wasn't until during and after my novitiate and studies
that I began to truly appreciate the beauty and power of this
As an oblate living in the world and surrounded by friends and
families from many different Christian traditions, I have found the
sharing of this simple medal to be a spiritual gesture that
Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Evangelicals and non-practicing
seekers alike are drawn to and for good reason. It is profoundly
My "little apostolate" of prayer, catechesis and ecumenical
outreach is assisted by the medal. I give the medal to people for
graduations, sacraments, birthdays, anniversaries and other big
life events. I also do this for individuals and families going
through grief, sickness, loneliness, death and other crises.
I typically begin with the proper of the day/hour of the Divine
Office followed by an investiture of the medal. The medal serves as
a permanent reminder of that day and their faith (or their desire
for faith) and God's love for them.
As readers of this blog know, it is important to have the medal
blessed by a priest using the ancient Benedictine prayer rubrics.
My "blesser-in-chief" is none other than Fr. Benedict Meyer, OSB,
of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, who assists in my apostolate through
his priesthood, personal prayer and keeping my steady supply of
medals blessed and ready for use.
Even though the medals are pre-blessed, I typically recite the
prayer to the recipient so they can fully appreciate the protection
and graces for the person who carries or wears it with faith.
Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Who made heaven and earth.
In the name of God the Father almighty, who made heaven and
earth, the seas and all that is in them. May this medal protect its
wearer against the power and attacks of the evil one.
May all who wear these medals devoutly be blessed with
health of soul and body. In the name of the Father almighty, of his
Son Jesus Christ our Lord, and of the Holy Spirit the Paraclete,
and in the love of the same Lord Jesus Christ who will come on the
last day to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire.
Let us pray. Almighty God, the boundless source of all good
things, we humbly ask that, through the intercession of St.
Benedict, you pour out your blessings on those who wear this medal
devoutly and earnestly strives to perform good works.
May they be blessed by you with health of soul and body, the
grace of a holy life, and remission of temporal punishment due to
sin. May they also, with the help of your merciful love, resist the
temptations of the evil one and strive to exercise true charity and
justice toward all, so that one day they may appear sinless and
holy in your sight.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
After doing this for just a few years, I have lost track of just
how many medals I have given to people. It is not unusual to have a
friend, family member or neighbor comment on how much they love
wearing (or carrying) the medal. A brother-in-law of mine survived
a terrible accident on a construction site when he was carrying his
medal. It was the feast day of St. Benedict when it happened and he
credits the saint with interceding for him.
A devout sister of mine wears it daily. On a mission trip to
Haiti, she gave medals to each member of the mission team as well
as a local Haitian boy. My cousin hangs the medal over her bedroom
mirror so it's one of the first things she sees each day. A
friend's son has worn it throughout his entire college football
Men from my parish wear it, as do friends and classmates from my
children's multi-denominational Christian school. I have also given
the medal to people with an uncertain faith in the hope it might
All these people from so many different backgrounds and
traditions tell me pretty much the same thing. The medal and what
it both contains and symbolizes provides them a feeling of peace,
love and spiritual protection. This humble oblate wears a St.
Benedict medal as his habit and also a St. Thomas More medal, as
the great layman is the namesake and inspiration of my
As Benedictines, we are naturally drawn to the medal - not as an
object - but as a reminder of God's desire to protect us and ensure
our salvation through His Son. My experience as an oblate in the
world has taught me that the beauty and power of the medal is also
appreciated by Christians of all types and can be offered as a
bridge to unite us all as Christ himself prayed for.
"I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe
in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you,
Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that
the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the
glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one…" (John
Mother Mary, pray for us! St. Benedict, pray for us! Father, Son
and Holy Spirit, pray for us!