The purpose of using the medal is to call down God’s blessing and protection upon us, especially through the intercession of St. Benedict. By the conscious and devout use of the medal, it becomes a constant silent prayer and reminder to us of our dignity as followers of Christ.
The medal is a prayer of exorcism against Satan, a prayer for strength in time of temptation, a prayer for peace among ourselves and among the nations of the world, a prayer that the Cross of Christ be our light and guide, a prayer of firm rejection of all that is evil, a prayer of petition that we may with Christian courage “walk in God’s ways, with the Gospel as our guide,” as St. Benedict urges us.
On the face of the medal is the image of Saint Benedict. In his right hand he holds the cross, the Christian’s symbol of salvation. In his left hand is his Rulethat could well be summed up in the words of the Prolog exhorting us to “walk in God’s ways, with the Gospel as our guide.”
On a pedestal to the right of St. Benedict is the poisoned cup, shattered when he made the sign of the cross over it.
Above the cup and the raven are the Latin words: Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti (Cross of the Holy Father Benedict).
Around the margin of the medal is the legend Ejus in obitu nostro præsentia muniamus (May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death).
Below Benedict we read: ex SM Casino MDCCCLXXX (from holy Monte Cassino, 1880). This is the medal struck to commemorate the 1400th anniversary of the birth of Saint Benedict.
The reverse of the medal bears a cross with the initial letters a rhythmic Latin prayer: Crux sacra sit mihi lux! Nunquam draco sit mihi dux! (May the holy cross be my light! May the dragon never be my guide!).
The initial letters of Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti stand in the angles of the cross.
Around the margin of the back of the medal, the letters V R S N S M V – S M Q L I V B are the initial letters of a Latin prayer of exorcism against Satan:
Vade retro Satana!
Nunquam suade mihi vana!
Sunt mala quae libas.
Ipse venena bibas!
Never tempt me with your vanities!
What you offer me is evil.
Drink the poison yourself!)
At the top of the cross usually stands the word Pax (peace).
Approved Blessing of the Medal of St. Benedict
Medals of Saint Benedict are sacramentals that may be blessed legitimately by any priest or deacon – not necessarily a Benedictine (Instr., 26 Sept. 1964; Can. 1168). The following English form may be used.
V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. 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, I exorcise these medals against the power and attacks of the evil one. May all who use these medals devoutly be blessed with health of soul and body. In the name of the Father + almighty, of the 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 Saint Benedict, you pour out your blessings + upon these medals. May those who use them devoutly and earnestly strive to perform good works be blessed by you with health of soul and body, the grace of a holy life, and remission of the temporal punishment due to sin.
May they also with the help of your merciful love, resist the temptation 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. This we ask though Christ our Lord.
The medals are then sprinkled with holy water.