November 27, 2023 5 min read
Among all the sacred Memorials of this day, we find it particularly useful to recall the gift given by Our Lady to the humble St. Catherine Labouré on November 27, 1830.
On that very Advent Eve, in the second apparition, the Virgin appeared to her, dressed in a white silk dress, holding the world in her hands, clasping it at the level of her heart.
The image was enclosed in an oval frame, as if outlining the outline of a medal, surrounded by an inscription in gold letters, "O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you" — an unusual invocation at that particular moment. Then the frame rotated on itself and there appeared the letter “M”surmounted by a cross and, below, two hearts: one surrounded by the crown of thorns, the other pierced by a sword.
The Virgin asked the young novice to have a medal struck according to the vision she had and to spread this image throughout the world. The girl wished she could convey at least the explanation of the two symbols, but she was told only, "The letter M and the two hearts say enough!"
Paris was then ravaged by a cholera epidemic. After some resistance, the medal was made by a Paris goldsmith, and there were so many healings and graces of conversion that in only a few years it was necessary to mint millions of copies.
The newspaper La France, in 1835, was already claiming that the little sacred object had become "one of the greatest signs of the faith, of the last times."
And when, in 1854, Blessed Pius IX would define the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, recognizing that "it was a truth tenaciously guarded in the hearts of the faithful," it could also be based on the fact that there were already at least ten million Christians who wore the Miraculous Medal. (Mess. Rom.)
Catherine described it thus: "I saw the Blessed Virgin, her stature was average, and her beauty such that it is impossible for me to describe her. She stood, her garment was of silk and of the color of aurora-white, collared, and with plain sleeves. From her head descended a white veil down to her feet, her face, was quite uncovered, her feet rested on top of a globe—or rather on top of a half-globe—and under the Virgin's feet, there was a greenish snake mottled with yellow. Her hands, raised to the height of her belt, naturally held another smaller globe, representing the universe. She had her eyes turned to the sky, and her face became radiant as she presented the globe to Our Lord. All of a sudden, her fingers became covered with rings, adorned with precious stones, which cast luminous rays. While I was intent on contemplating her, the Blessed Virgin lowered her eyes toward me, and a voice was heard saying, ‘This globe represents the whole world, particularly France and every single person...”
“I here cannot repeat what I felt and what I saw, the beauty and splendor of the rays so dazzling!... and the Virgin added, ‘They are the symbol of the graces that I shed on the people who ask me for them.’
“I understood how sweet it is to pray to the Blessed Virgin, how many graces She grants to the people who pray to Her, and what joy She has in granting them.
Among the gems there were some that did not send forth rays. Mary said, ‘The gems from which no rays depart are symbols of the graces that one forgets to ask Me. Among them the most important is the sorrow of sins.’”
When St. Catherine Laboré, had in her hands the first Miraculous Medal, she kissed it, and then said, "Now it must be spread."
From these words of the humble Saint, the little Medal soared in popularity, and the devotion quickly spread around the world.
By 1876, when Sister Catherine died, there were more than a billion medals in circulation Graces and miracles were gradually multiplying, working conversions and healings, aid and blessings for souls and bodies; for this reason the medal soon earned, from the people, the name "Miraculous."
The mission entrusted by Our Lady to St. Catherine Laboure, to spread the Miraculous Medal, also concerns us who should feel honored by this mission of Grace.
St. Catherine Labouré made herself a zealous distributor of the Medal for more than 40 years! Among the old, the sick, soldiers and children, wherever the Saint passed she gave everyone the Medal.
St. Therese, as a child, would put them in the pockets of the workers' jackets, often even secretly, without their knowledge.
St. Maximilian Kolbe, called the Miraculous Medals "ammunition," and obtained many prodigious graces and conversions.
St. John Vianney, the Curé d'Ars, in the last years of his life, carried pockets bulging with Medals and Crucifixes, and always returned with empty pockets ...
St. John Bosco made his boys wear the Medal around their necks, and thanks to it no one was infected with cholera during an epidemic.
St. Pio of Pietrelcina always kept Miraculous Medals in his pocket to distribute; and he died with these medallions in his pocket.
Finally, let us remember that, this sacred object, donated from Heaven, is the only object of devotion to have received from Pope Leo XIII the privilege of its own Liturgy, to be celebrated precisely this day, November 27.
Having finished the Novena, or the Triduum for the Miraculous Medal, it concludes on the 27th with attending Holy Mass, those who can, go to confession at least during the week and make today:
O Mary conceived without original sin, Mother of God and Mother of men, disciple of Christ Jesus, you are blessed among all women and all generations proclaim you blessed.
Model of consecration to God, whom St. Catherine Labouré, who came to lose her mother, chose you for her Mother, in my turn I choose you for my Mother, in order to consecrate myself to God the Father.
Standing at the foot of the Cross, your Immaculate Heart was pierced with pain as with a sword, and your Heart was united with the Heart of your Son.
As grace flows from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, upon us all, passing through your hands, accept my whole being, dispose of me, body and soul, to walk in the wake of Christ and receive light and strength from the Holy Spirit.
As a sign of this consecration, I will carry the holy Medal with confidence so that the God of Love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, may reign in my baptized heart and in all hearts.
To Him be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen)....
O Mary conceived without original sin, pray for us who have recourse to you. Grant me to praise you O Blessed Virgin -- give me strength against your enemies.
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