Note: I missed Day 1 of NaBloPoMo so am ineligible for a prize or something. No matter. I was never on time for parties anyway. What follows is the prompt for Day 2: Tell us the story of a piece of jewelry you own. Where did it come from, and what does it mean to you?
I’ve never been one to wear much jewelry. A wedding ring, a medal around my neck, and a wristwatch have been the staples for years. In 2007 I stopped wearing a wristwatch when the wristband broke and getting it fixed was too time consuming. The advent of cell phones pretty much doomed the wristwatch anyhow. I grew up dreaming of the day I’d have a beautiful pocket watch on a chain for my adult years, but when I was eight I sadly learned that pocket watches were no longer used. I still pause by displays that contain a pocket watch however, and long for their return.
Anyhow, this leaves me with two jewelry pieces. I’m choosing to write a bit about the medal that adorns my neck.
I’ve worn this medal around since 1999, and on Dec. 8th (Feast of the Immaculate Conception) of that year, consecrated myself to Mary. January 1, 2000 (also my birthday AND Mary’s feast day) I joined the Militia Immaculata.
My medal is small and inconspicuous. It has power unknown to most people.
“It” is the Miraculous Medal, worn on a chain around many Christians’ necks for nearly 180 years – from peasants to great saints like Maximilian Kolbe. St. Max is my patron saint and his life has been a source of ideas and inspiration for me. He referred to the medal as a “spiritual silver bullet”. I agree with him.
Nov. 27th is the 180th anniversary of the apparition of Mary to St. Catherine Labroure (1830) that led to the creation of the medal. The Blessed Virgin, who had been appearing since July of that year to the young novice of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, asked her to have a medal struck that would bring great graces to those who wear it with “great confidence.”
Do I always bear this “great confidence”? No. Do I believe this medal some sort of superstitious talisman or “lucky charm” that will protect me? That depends. Protect me from what exactly? Can I still be physically harmed in an accident or by a criminal? Of course. But I wear it to protect something far more precious to me than my physical body.
From the AMM’s website:
There is no superstition, nothing of magic, connected with the Miraculous Medal. The Miraculous Medal is not a “good-luck charm”. Rather, it is a great testimony to faith and the power of trusting prayer. Its greatest miracles are those of patience, forgiveness, repentance, and faith. God uses a Medal, not as a sacrament, but as an agent, an instrument, in bringing to pass certain marvelous results. “The weak things of this earth hath God chosen to confound the strong.”
To me it serves as a reminder of who I am and who I strive to be. I fall…I fail. But I always have the option of picking myself back up, brushing away the dust and starting over. We all do. But too often we lose sight of this ability that lies within us and we stop getting up. We stay put. We pout. We mope and complain about the bad breaks and unfairness of it all. I know this because I do that too.
But then I recall what’s around my neck. I am reminded of who I am; that I have promises to keep. So I get up and move ahead undeterred. Bruised, but never broken.
And that has made all of the difference.
For more information, read The Miraculous Medal and Its Meaning.