I examined my “medal pin” and discovered the clasp for St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was broken, and the medal gone. “Yes! I’m missing Edith Stein.” The next day, Corinne returned my “girlfriend” to me. “I found it in the parking lot, and thought of you right away. I didn’t know it was yours … but something told me to pray for you right then.”
I smiled and thanked her. My girls were at work again.
Since January, I have carried over my heart five religious medals: My favorite saint is St. Scholastica, St. Benedict’s lesser-known twin sister, who used her powers of intercession to move the stubborn heart of her brother. St. Teresa Benedicta, the Jewish convert and philosopher who died at Auschwitz, understands what it is to be forced apart from loved ones. St. Teresa of Avila, patroness of migraines and strong-willed women, I had recently replaced when the original medal (I had picked it up at her childhood home in Avila, Spain) disappeared during my move. No sooner did I replace it, I found the original – and so had a spare to give a young woman who has been taking care of Sarah. She recently decided to being RCIA – and is also a migraine sufferer.
These three “heavenly girlfriends” have always been close to my heart, and in the past I’ve worn them – along with a Miraculous Medal of the Blessed Mother – anytime I’ve done any serious writing, asking for their intercession. But since Christopher left us in January, I’ve taken to wearing them over my heart, along with a fifth medal, St. Christopher’s. It seems only appropriate to add him to the group.
Now, not all Christians – not even all Catholics – wear religious medals. To some, this kind of thing borders on superstition. In reality, these kinds of tangible faith signs are at the very heart of the Catholic sacramental worldview: because we are by nature embodied souls, God reveals the hidden mysteries of our faith through the “stuff” of the physical world. These small bits of precious medal remind me in a powerful way of my faithful intercessors in heaven, who radiate the kind of perfect love that is at the very heart of the most blessed Trinity.
At the end of this month we will be celebrating All Saints Day, when we remember the communion of saints that is all around us, interceding on our behalf. How do you keep the saints close to your heart?