On the lovely day of January 25, I had a massive discovery. About a necklace I’ve owned for hmmmm let’s guess 4 years. I think it’s been 4 years.
1,424 days of cluelessness have passed by before this Tuesday. I’m in the zone of half disappointment in myself and half ecstaticness (youbetcha that’s in my vocabulary). I lied. The ecstaticness zone is taking over the majority of our pie chart.
Because of a lovely lovely Blessed Is She email. Because of a beautiful woman who shared her insight on grace. Because of our Blessed Mother who appeared to Saint Catherine Labouré in 1830. And because of my necklace; a Miraculous Medal…plus a few pals.
Mary the Mother of God (no explanation needed), St. Helena of the Cross (my Confirmation saint) and Mary Magdalene (I quite like woman who have dedicated themselves to the cross) all accompany a crucifix on this necklace. A few weeks ago, my sister asked me who was on each medal each and after I answered her, she said, “wow, you’ve got the whole gang!” Yepppdidoo!
Now back to Saint Catherine who is the star of this show. Partially. Let me explain. 200 years ago in Paris (already sounds dreamy, right?!), a religious sister of the Rue de Bac community of Saint Vincent named Catherine was called to the chapel in her convent by a child’s voice. While she was there, Mary spoke to her saying,
God wishes to charge you with a mission. You will be contradicted, but do not fear; you will have the grace to do what is necessary. Tell your spiritual director all that passes within you. Times are evil in France and in the world. Come to the foot of the altar. Graces will be shed on all, great and little, especially upon those who seek them. Another community of sisters will join the Rue du Bac community. The community will become large; you will have the protection of God and Saint Vincent; I will always have my eyes upon you.
We could just stop there because wow. But the story carries on when Mary appeared to Catherine a second time a few months later. The Blessed Mother revealed herself in a robe and white veil. She was standing on a globe inside an oval frame with the words of ‘O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.’ Light extended from her hands. The oval frame turned around and Catherine saw 12 stars, the letter ‘M’ surmounted by a cross and underneath, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. IS THIS REAL LIFE? YES!
Catherine asked Mary why some of the rays on her hands did not bring light to earth and Mary replied, “Those are the graces for which people forget to ask.” Whooosh. That’s powerful. Full. of. power. And something to seriously ponder. With a capital P. No potatoes included.
Mary told Catherine to take this image to her spiritual director and tell him to put it on medallions. “Have a medal struck upon this model. All those who wear it, when it is blessed, will receive great graces especially if they wear it round the neck. Those who repeat this prayer with devotion will be in a special manner under the protection of the Mother of God. Graces will be abundantly bestowed upon those who have confidence.”
This obedient woman followed through and after a chunk of time, the medallions were approved by the archbishop. He said that the medal was in complete conformity with the Church’s doctrine on the role of Our Lady and had no objections to having them made and distributed. They were insanely popular. Not only that but the original name (“the Immaculate Conception”) was changed to “The Miraculous Medal” because so many miracles happened through it. Potatoes included.
After I finished reading her story, I leapt (probably not as graceful as the word “leap” suggests) off of my bed and checked my necklace front and back. Analyzing it for the first time. And there it all was. Every single part. Just as St. Catherine Labouré saw. All I have left to say is Hail Mary, full of grace!Did I ever think a saint would teach me a thing or 20 about my jewelry? Ha. no. But it happened and on this night, I’m typing away with Grease: Live on TV, Miraculous Medal hanging from a silver chain around my neck and amazement overwhelming my entire being. I’m grateful for this history lesson that brings glory to Jesus’ salvation and faithfulness through His most holy Mother.
I don’t believe that clasping this necklace on will instantly transform me. But I do think that we must prevent any more light (aka grace) to escape Mary’s hands without being utilized by the confident souls in much need of grace. Jesus tells us that “everyone who asks, receives” (Luke 11:10). The last thing I want to do with my time on this earth is live a mediocre life just because I didn’t ask God for more. Placing those daring requests in His hands may be risky but my faith has never failed me. And it never will.
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16.