Sacramentals (objects that help us grow closer to God through grace) such as Miraculous Medals and scapulars are often a part of daily Catholic life without much thought or intention. We are given these objects for a religious celebration, such as our First Communion or Confirmation, and don't really understand their significance. Living with sacramentals looks different in different homes and cultures!
My post prominent Marian sacramental is the Miraculous Medal that I keep in my car. It is hanging around my rear-view mirror along with a beautiful Jerusalem Cross that was brought back from the Holy Land as a gift. My medal was blessed by a bishop and given out at church camp two years ago. At the time, I wasn't sure what to do with this blessed object so I just hung it in my car. But since my Marian consecration, the Medal has become a reminder that I have dedicated this and every day to Mary and serving her Son. It also reminds me to make the most of my time in the car and spend it with God.
The other sacramental we keep in our home is another Jerusalem Cross that has been blessed and hangs above the entrance of our home. Whenever I see the cross there, I am reminded of a quote that was displayed in the Catholic school I attended as a child:
"Be it known to all who enter here that Christ is the ever-present..."
The cross serves as a reminder that in this household, we serve the Lord. Just like the Miraculous, both have a clear purpose in my prayer life. They are not talismans, used to protect or prevent something. My sacramentals have clear purpose in my faith to bring me closer to God; they are intentional, blessed objects.
What about you? What sacramentals do you have and how do they support your faith?
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Our son has been a pretty easy baby, but the first two months were more difficult than I liked to admit or share but one of the first things I learned as a new mama was how much help I needed. My own mother came and stayed with us for the first week or so after he was born and I can't imagine doing that first week without her. Just the fact that someone was there preparing meals for my very hungry self was such a blessing. I also found help in my spiritual mother, who is truly the Lady of Perpetual Help and a new mama's spiritual best friend at 2 am.
Early on, our little guy wasn't gaining weight has fast as the doctors would have liked, so they recommended we breastfeed every two hours. This is much worse than it sounds for two reasons:
One rough, sleep-filled night, I finally hit my breaking point and knew that I needed help. I wasn't being the best mom this little one deserved. I was mad at an infant. A helpless baby. Which sounds ridiculous, but its the truth. I was furious with him for his very nature that depended on me so deeply. I was ashamed of how selfish I felt.
But when I saw my rosary, dusty and untouched for months, sitting on my bedside table, I knew who I needed help from in the 2 am stillness that had been shattered by my son's wails. As I walked him around the room, I murmured the rosary in his ear, dedicated each decade to my need for the patience and grace to be a better mother. I was confident that my mother, who always heard our cries, would hear the urgency in my prayers for help now.
Just as Mary was able to help St. Juan Diego has his mother, she was also able to help me. Motherhood is such a transition, but after my 2 am rosary, my transition really did become much easier. I've felt myself become more nurturing and patient over the last year (that's right, my son is almost a year old!!)
My devotion to Mary has grown over the last year because I felt so connected to her as a fellow mother. The next time you feel yourself running out of patience and grace, reach out to Mary through the rosary or just humble, intentional prayer and ask her to help you. Trust her, she is always there to help her children.
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