The Miraculous Medal Opens Doors — and Hearts
To share the medal with friends, family and strangers is to become a champion of Christ in the most humbling way.
A simple gesture can give someone hope. By the power of God’s grace, how can I take one step to give a person a change of heart in a world of increasing darkness? I was excited to learn that it can be so easy to do so, after attending a training session sponsored by the St. Paul Street Evangelization at my local parish. Thinking I was going to be taught complex arguments in apologetics, by contrast I was surprised that the crux of their course in spreading the faith was simply encouraging Catholics to offer the Miraculous Medal to people.
There is something attractive and noble in that medal. The view of Mary in her humility, innocence and purity is in stark contrast to most impressions of women made today. Who is this graceful woman? What is the cross and the strong capital “M” on the other side? Without saying anything more than, “Would you like to have a Miraculous Medal?” I have found some people to be absolutely delighted to be offered one while others must make a decision in the face of a deeper question underneath it all. “What is a Miraculous Medal?” was one response, while another person, a grocery store clerk, asked if I could please wait while she put it safely away in her coat before she continued to ring up my groceries. There’s no need to go into a big discussion about why I’m Catholic — I just offer the medal as my fellow parishioners and I were trained to do and sometimes add, “We all need miracles.”
I want to increase hope in my country and the world. I want to inspire goodness and purity. How can I say all of this to people I meet in a store parking lot, who may never learn about the availability of Catholic classes in apologetics or other online resources? The medal is a simple statement to explore the faith more, but also for people to know that there is this Woman who is their Mother who loves them so much without intimidating them — and yes, by her being countercultural.
For each strong “No!” to my sharing the medal, there is one unforgettable jubilant response overflowing with gratitude and thanking me for my kindness. Isn’t it worth enduring any rejection just to see one face thrilled to see and be given a medal of Our Lady? If nothing else, whether the medal is accepted or not, another person and I can agree to pray for each other.
When I was growing up in small town Ohio, I was inspired by the words of St. Bernadette inside the dome of our parish named after Mary’s Immaculate Conception. “I am the Immaculate Conception,” the words that the Blessed Mother said to young Bernadette were bold and large inside that church dome above my head each Sunday. The Woman depicted in statues of Mary was mild and loving, although noble. But there was something unforgettably profound about those words she had spoken, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” The words on the Miraculous Medal that surround Mary are also deep in their command for respect: “O Mary Conceived Without Sin Pray for Us Who Have Recourse to Thee.” They are unforgettable, as is the image of her, whether the medal is accepted or not.
The choice to offer the medal to people is comparable to strewing rose petals from God in the path that he chooses. One has no control over who will accept it and who will not. I pray to the Holy Spirit through Mary to reach anyone who can be helped by the Miraculous Medal in any way, to share the faith with people who may not be responsive to the Catholic faith by other means. To offer the medal is to choose to be the champion of Christ in the most humbling way, in the manner which worked for his Mother. “You are my light, please be my companion.” is one quick prayer I say before doing what seems like the impossible.
I hope others will consider taking the training offered by the St. Paul Street Evangelization and store some medals in their pocket when the Holy Spirit calls for action. Particularly if I had no faith at all, I would want someone to offer a medal to me. Thank you, Lord, for your grace, which gives us the power to love each other in magnanimous ways!