March 16, 2022 6 min read
Saints are like "human books" through which God keeps writing new Gospel chapters. Saints are pages full of love who testify all the wonders made by God the Savior for our redemption.
Each and every Saint is a unique precious flower on earth, whose roots sink into the fertile ground nurtured by the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ Our Lord, cast from the fructuous tree of the Holy Cross.
These mystic flowers (the Saints) spread holy fragrances from the Sky and are watered by God through a rain of blessings to diffuse the masterpiece of Love and Truth.
Yes, Love can’t be disjoined from Truth. It would be as eradicating a plant from the soil and pretend it could blossom and fruit without the nurture it needs.
In the same way, Saints draw from God’s source.
As if we were drowned in an immense garden, the garden of the Victorious Church, we can enjoy their colors and smells, to find joyful incitements to keep going ahead in the mission of sanctity.
It doesn’t exist, in fact, a human being not called to this happy and august aim.
Mistakenly, there is a diffuse conviction that Sanctity is opposed to happiness.
But “the world” wrongly describes both of them, while Christianity properly draws them in the light of the Revelation.
He who seeks, finds. Hence it’s useful to seek in the lives of our holy brothers, the Saints, elements to warm up our hearts on the path, sometime algid, towards our full earthly and unearthly accomplishment.
In the life of Saint Benedict of Nursia, expertly narrated by St. Gregory The Great, there are two episodes, amongst others, we should all know, to help our meditation and make our prayers more fervent.
The first episode tells the story of Saint Placidus (Patron of Novices), who in the attempt of fetch water from a lake, accidentally fell into it and, out of a sudden, he was carried away by the current, almost drowning.
Saint Benedict from his cell, mysteriously realized what was happening to his young disciple. Immediately alerted Saint Maurus: “Run Maurus, run… Placidus went to fetch some water, he fell into the lake, and waves are taking him away”.
Maurus asked and obtained blessing from St. Benedict and run to save the boy. What happened was so amazing that, after Apostle Saint Peter, didn’t happen for centuries.
Maurus did not realize that, in his haste to reach Placidus, he had run out upon the water, caught him by his hair, and rescued him from the waters. Only after bringing Placidus back to shore, Maurus realized about the miracle.
Seized by sacred fear, he run to Benedict to tell him what happened. Between them, they started a humble sacred competition to attribute (one to the other) credit to the extraordinary happening.
The dubious event was sorted by young Placidus who mentioned to have seen above him the Abbot mantle. Signal that the faith of the Founder made the miracle whose Maurus, for obedience, was the executor.
This episode confirms us that wherever there is pray, faith and obedience, that’s where God’s intervention get manifested. A mysterious interaction that makes us do amazing things beyond our hopes and conscience of the events.
St. Benedict was in pray while God revealed him the danger, and him, watchful, like Jesus asked all of us to be, was able to rescue young Placidus. As it was used to say the humble God servant Don Dolingo Ruotolo from Naples, Vigilance is a human attitude that matches with divine prayer and puts into action the Holy Trinity.
The blessing request that humbly Maurus asked and obtained can’t be disregarded. This reminds us we are mere tools that execute Sky’s musical notes, but only if perfectly tuned under the wise holy fingers of the Divine Musician.
While praying we are carefully listened by the Lord. He puts his ear on our chest, because he is interested only to listen to our heart.
While we pray with a sacred rosary, or other objects like the Sacred Medals, which are sacramentals, and hence have a “spiritual effect”, we use something that goes beyond the “spiritual symbol”. Not everyone understands that prayer, if enriched by such “holy signs” empowered by Church’s request, make us capable to open a dialogue with the Almighty.
Unfortunately, there is not a strong belief to obtain every possible good through the tools God gave to every human being to resort to Him. Very often pray is undermined by lack of trust.
The second episode is still captured by “The Life of Saint Benedict” and narrates about the power of unceasing pray and the resurrection of a young boy.
While Benedict was working in the fields with his brothers, a farmer got to the monastery. He was torn with pain and was carrying in his arms the body of his deceased son. When he went back to the monastery, Benedict found the man in tears, imploring him to raise him from death. The dramatic request of the dad, was echoed also by the other monks, but Benedict declared candidly that “these gifts are reserved for the Apostles, not for me”. For sure was not something he could do. The father didn’t lose his faith, he insisted he would never leave without his son risen from the dead.. Such faithful perseverance convinced Benedict. He asked to be accompanied to the place where the dead body of the boy was deposed. While arrived, down on his knees and prostrate over the child, he prayed: “Oh Father, don’t look at my sins, but at the worthiness of this grieving father, and bring his child back to life”.
How did it go?
After his pray, the soul of the boy returned back into his little body through jolts and miraculous shakings. Benedict took him by his hands and gave him back to his happy father.
This short trip across the story of Saint Benedict, pushed us to have trust in him, that so strongly had faith in God. We shouldn’t forget that without the evangelical ”bothering” faith of that grieving father, God couldn’t have made the miracle of resurrection, through the intercession of the Founder of the Western Monasticism.
Those who pray Saints are asking help to some kind of holy friends who gladly take the duty to intercede with God. But we should always be tireless. The devout father had to insist with Benedict and so the other monks did.
After such invigorating holy episodes linked to the great Saint Abbot of Nursia, how not mention the portentous medal known as Medal of Saint Benedict? The medal is a powerful help on the spiritual life of those who righteously and devotedly wear it, without indulging in considering it a talisman or an amulet. In the medal are engraved words and symbols to obtain blessing and keep away the infernal enemy, always lurking.
Still from the manuscripts of Saint Gregory the Great, we know that Saint Benedict had a great faith for the Holy Cross. Thanks to this essential symbol he envisioned and tested the power and divine almightiness in his life happenings, transmitting the prodigious and divine portent to the upcoming generations of Benedictines. Such devotion gives origin to the diffusion of the medals, so strictly connected to the supreme Cristian symbol, also knows as Medal-Cross of Saint Benedict.
It is unknown the date the first medal was forged, but the most diffused nowadays is dating back to the Jubilee of 1880, celebrated in San Cassino as homage to 1400th anniversary of the holy monk birth.
The Medal is embellished by illustrations, acronyms, and symbols. For sake of briefness, I will just focus on three of them:
The word Pax, despite being always actual, is not to be intended in its secular meaning, but as conceived by Jesus Christ. Peace or Pax, doesn’t necessarily matches with the illusional absence of conflicts, wars or similar events. Being Peace the greatest of the gifts of the Risen Christ, it is the interior richness of those who do not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rm 12,21) and patience (Gc 1, 2-4), because it has been understood the sense of life as gift to give.
The initials of a Latin prayer: Crux sacra sit mihi lux! Nunquam draco sit mihi dux!,meaning : Holy Cross be my light! The dragon will not be my guide! Such words do remind us that the Holy Cross of Jesus Christ shows us the opposite way to the one the infernal dragon suggests us. The Cross, pillar symbol of the medal, enlightens us the route to Paradise, while the infernal dragon, for those who follow him by refusing the salvation of the cross, do lead us to the abyss of darkness and pain.
On the edge of the Medal, to frame the Holy image of the Saint holding a Cross in his right hand and in the left his Rule for Monasteries, there are two Latin words whose translation means: “May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of death.”. As usual, Christian wisdom brings the attention of the faithful to a “good death”. Saint Benedict has always been considered holy Patron of such immense grace. Let’s remember that “He who dies well, forever lives”. In Montecassino, Saint Benedict died standing, with his arms raised in prayer, supported by his brothers, once he received the viaticum (from Latin “away with you”).
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