The origin of the medal of St. Benedict is very ancient.
It was certainly suggested by the efficacious use that the patriarch made of the sign of the cross against the assaults of the Demon narrated by St. Gregorio.
Benedict XIV established the design of this medal. On one side it carries the image of St. Benedict holding a cross in his hand; on the other side there is a larger cross with Latin initials. Due to the fact that the cross represented here is an essential element of this medal, it is called the Medal - Crucifix of St. Benedict.
On the back there is the effigy of the Saint, holding the cross in his right hand and the Rules in his left hand; on his right there is a cup from which a serpent is escaping (a recollection of the poisoned wine which he miraculously escaped); on the left we have a crow taking away the poisoned bread.
Underneath we can read the words: “EX S.M. CASINO MDCCCLXXXX” (From the Holy Mount Cassino 1880). On the two sides “CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI” (Cross of Holy Father Benedict). Around the image: “EIUS IN OBITU NOSTRO PRAESENTIA MUNIAMUR” (May we be strengthened by his prescence in the hour of our death!).
On the front of the Medal, a Cross is represented which carries several inscription in the arms, the explanations of which follow:
C.S.P.B.: CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI The
cross of our
Holy Father Benedict
C.S.S.M.L.: CRUX SACRA SIT MIHI LUX May the Holy Cross be my light!
N.D.S.M.D.: NUNQUAM DRACO SIT MIHI DUX! May the dragon never be my guide
V.R.S.: VADE RETRO SATANA Begone Satan!
N.S.M.V.: NUNQUAM SUADE MIHI VANA! - Never tempt me with your vanities!
S.M.Q.L.: SUNT MALA QUAE LIBAS What you offer me is evil.
I.V.B.: IPSE VENEA BIBAS Drink the poison yourself!
“PAX” is written under the Cross: the motto of the Congregation of Cassino and of the entire Benedictine Order.
The three internal eulogistic rhyming couplets are part of a very ancient series dating back at least to the XIV century which is accompanied by the figure of a monk with the cross driving away temptation.
They express well the confidence which the faithful had in the defence of St. Benedict against the spiritual and material dangers the devil could procure.
Some scholars have affirmed that with the exception of the one of the Most Holy Virgin, there is no other more widely diffuse Medal than that of St. Benedict. The numerous indulgences which the Holy See has enriched it with, witness its singular prize and together contribute to making it the most dear and precious one to the Christian people.
An unconditional indulgence is accorded at the time of death to all those who wear, kiss or hold the Medal between the hands with veneration, on the following conditions: 1) they commend their souls to God 2) they confess or receive Holy Communion or if this in not possible invoke the Holy Name of Jesus with feelings of contrition, (or with the heart if one cannot speak).
A partial indulgence is accorded to all those who wear, kiss or hold the Medal between the hands with veneration.
Other indulgences have been conceded in the past to the Medal of St. Benedict.
The Medal of St. Benedict is used for all spiritual and temporal needs on condition that it is used with a faithful spirit.This medal is efficacious against epidemics, certain special illnesses and against the spells and temptations of the devil.
It has been widely diffused throughout the entire world by missionaries. This medal also obtains the conversions of sinners, above all on the point of death. The medal helps women in labour and gives God’s protection against the dangers which threaten our lives: it permits a good and Holy death.
The medal of St. Benedict is very ancient. Its popularity was born in the XI century following the miraculous healing of a youth, a certain Bruno, who then became a Benedictine monk and later Pope S. Leone IX.
Benedict is always invoked as the patron of the Good Death. One day he appeared to St. Gertrude, saying: all those who remember me with the dignity which the Lord has honoured and blessed me with, allowing me to have a glorious death, I will faithfully assist at the point of death and will oppose all of the attacks of the enemy in that decisive hour.
The soul will be protected by my presence and will remain tranquil, in spite of all of the attacks of the enemy, and happy will depart towards eternal joy.
Note: The medal-crucifix of St. Benedict must be BLESSED by a priest or by a deacon.