October 13, 2010

The Cross of St. Benedict

[First posted some years ago, but a new comment has arrived today]

Contrary to what you may have read or heard, the real front of this medal is the side with the Cross bearing the initials of several prayers. The real back of the medal bears the image of St. Benedict. Christ’s Cross on the front, St. Benedict on the back!

The prayers whose initials mark the Cross invoke the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross as the force that vanquishes evil.

The vertical beam of the Cross has five letters,
standing for Crux Sancta Sit Mihi Lux (“May the holy Cross be a Light for me”).

The horizontal beam of the Cross also has five letters,
standing for Non Draco Sit Mihi Dux (“Let not the dragon be my guide").

The four large letters at the angles of the Cross,
C, S, P, B,
stand for Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti (“The Cross of Holy Father Benedict”— a reference to St. Benedict, not to the present pope).

Above the Cross is the word PAX (“Peace”). This is the first word the Risen Christ spoke to his Apostolic Church after he died on the Cross and rose from the dead in triumph over sin, death and evil.

Going clockwise from the word PAX are the letters
and then,
standing for:
Vade retro, Satana! Nunquam suade mihi vana! Sunt mala quae libas. Ipse venena bibas! “Go away, Satan! Never sway me with vanities!
The offerings you pour are evil. Drink the poisons yourself!”

The back of the medal shows St. Benedict holding a cross in one hand and the book of his “Rule” (monastery regulations) in the other.

On either side of him are the words: Crux S. Patris Benedicti (“The Cross of Holy Father Benedict”— again, a reference to St. Benedict, not to the present pope). Below St. Benedict’s feet are these words: Ex S M Casino MDCCCLXXX (“From the Holy Mount of Cassino, 1880”). On that date, the Archabbey of Monte Cassino first issued this medal. Inscribed in the circle surrounding St. Benedict are the words: Ejus in obitu nostro presentia muniamur (“May his presence protect us at our death”).

Approved Blessing of
the Cross of St. Benedict

The Cross of Saint Benedict is a sacramental that may be blessed legitimately by any priest or deacon— not necessarily a Benedictine. 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, earth, the seas and all that is in them,
I exorcise this medal against the power and attacks of the evil one.
May all who devoutly use this medal
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, the dead and the world by fire.

Let us pray.

Almighty God, the boundless source of all good things,
we humbly ask that you pour out your blessings + upon this medal
through the intercession of Saint Benedict.
May those who devoutly use it
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.
With the help of your merciful love,
may they also 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.
We ask this though Christ our Lord.

The medal is then sprinkled with holy water.
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The medal is available online.