The Saint Benedict Medal
The famous St. Benedict Medal originates in the Middle Ages when St Benedict himself was widely venerated and the basic design incorporated the Cross in honor of his own veneration of the Holy Cross and the many miracles he is said to have wrought through the Sign of the Cross and the great power he exerted over evil spirits through the same Sign. On the medal itself, one side represents St. Benedict hold the Cross in one hand and his Holy Rule in the other. Around the outer image of the medal on this side are the words “May his presence protect us un the hour of death”, in Latin. Fr. Bernard Gervais, O.S.B. writes, “St. Benedict has ever been the patron of the dying, because of the circumstance attending his own most glorious death, for he breathed forth his soul while standing in prayer before the Most Blessed Sacrament.”
On the opposite side, an image of the Cross is most prominent the arms of the Cross hold a 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!). Around the Cross appear the Latin letters C S P B Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti (The cross of our holy father Benedict). At the top of the medal is the word “Pax”, a Benedictine motto, and around the outer edge of this side, are a string of letters which represent verses, composed in Latin, which are attributed to St. Benedict, V R S N S M V – S M Q L I V B, Vade retro Satana! Nunquam suade mihi vana! Sunt mala quae libas. Ipse venena bibas! (Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself!). Never let it be said St. Benedict was wishy-washy. The St. Benedict medel, as any medal, is worn to help invoke God’s continual blessing and protection upon the wearer, in this case through St. Benedict’s particular intercession. As a sacramental, it serves as a continual silent prayer, an invocation of the power of the Cross against Satan and for strength in the face of temptations. Benedict oblates commonly wear the medal with the Cross facing forward.