Catholics/miracolous medal


I have three questions regarding the miracolous medal:
1. Why does the Church teach that wearing a blessed medal will help a person? How can wearing it help someone?
2. How is wearing the miracolous medal different from wearing the brown scapular?
3. Some people say that they recieved many graces and miracles when wearing the miracolous medal. Other people say that they haven't experienced anything special. What does the Church tell those people who say that they haven't experienced anything extraordinary?

1) It is important to note that the Church does not believe that the blessed medals of Jesus, Mary or any saint are magic, good luck charms, or otherwise will bring the person good fortune just because they wear it.  Some Catholics uneducated in the Faith might be superstitious but be assured that the Church does not attribute any magic power to a blessed object or encourage such superstition.   

When an object is blessed the Church is simply asking God to associate the object in question with the power of redemption and that it will serve as a reminder to the people who wear it or look upon it of the blessings and love of God.  The Church also asks God to make the object (since it is associated with Christ) a source of SPIRITUAL blessing to the person.  

Hence--how will wearing the object help the person?  Hopefully the person wearing it, because they are wearing it will remember who they are as a child of God and thus avoid sin and temptation and live a more Christ like life.  It seems to me that it is harder to sin when you are wearing a blessed object--because that object is a reminder of the presence of God and your identity as a redeemed Son of God. Wearing the blessed object I suppose is analogous to wearing a wedding ring.  I would think it would be more difficult to commit adultery wearing a wedding ring which is supposed to be a reminder of your vows and love for your spouse.  

2) The Miraculous Medal originated with a vision of the Immaculate Conception (Mary) to Saint Katherine Laboure. It is an image of Mary as she appeared to Saint Catherine. Catholics who wear it believe that special Graces will come to them at the hour of death through the prayers of Mary on their behalf.  While that is not an official teaching of the Church, nevertheless the idea is certainly in harmony with Catholic teaching.

The Brown Scapular is associated with the Carmelite religious order. It is the habit of the order. There are two forms of the Scapular: a large form and a smaller form.  The smaller form is popular as a devotional religious article among Catholics, the larger form with the Carmelite religious order.  In its smaller form it is really no different from the Miraculous Medal--that is it is simply a devotional religious article.   The promises associated with the scapular is that those who wear it in Faith will be saved.  Originally that referred to those who were faithful to their religious vows in the order of the Carmelites but was later expanded to all who wear it with Faith and devotion.  

The Miraculous Medal, the Brown Scapular and any other religious or devotional article is a "Sacramental."  Sacramentals are simply reminders of God's love for us and of all those who have gone before us marked with the sign of Faith (the saints of God, the Holy of God) and they can be through a prayer of blessing said over the article by a priest a source of spiritual blessing to those who wear them.

3) Remember that in the Bible---Jesus did miracles and extraordinary things like curing people and expelling demons. However---the REAL miracles that Jesus performed was the forgiveness of sin and the bringing of redemption.  REAL spirituality does NOT necessarily entail miracles.  God makes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust.  If a Catholic is wearing one of those religious articles expecting to get some kind of "miracle" that Catholic will likely be disappointed and more to the point--is wearing the article for the WRONG REASON.   

The fruits of REAL devotion and REAL prayer are NOT in whether one receives miracles OR how one FEELS. FEELINGS are not necessarily a reliable indicator of one's progress in the spiritual life.  They CAN be--but they are not the real indicator.   The REAL indicator of fruits of those religious objects lie in whether or not the person is becoming more Christ like in their daily lives. Are they becoming more Holy (morally perfect like God) are they becoming more generous, kinder, loving, etc.  

I will take someone who is more Christ like in their lives as a sign of real devotion and prayer and proper use of the religious articles (Sacramentals) over someone who uses those objects and gets miracles all the time. Miracles are not proof of authentic Faith--the REAL proof is in how one lives their lives.  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Father Dave Bechtel


I am a Catholic priest in good standing and in active ministry in the Diocese of Scranton PA. I can answer most any question about the Catholic Faith, however my area of specialization is Systematic Theology. Systematic Theology is a branch of theology that focuses on the fundamental tenants of the Faith and the Dogmas of the Faith. I have specialization on the Reformation and Catholic vs. Protestant theology/issues and answering Protestant challenges to the Faith.


I was ordained in June of 2008. Since that time the thrust of my ministry has been specialized. In my first assignment I was an assistant pastor. A year later I was sent to work in education. I spent six (6) years in education and have now assumed my first pastorate. While education was the thrust of my ministry, nevertheless I continued to have a hand in parish ministry, hospital chaplaincy and prison chaplaincy. Now that I am out of education I will obviously be focusing more on parish work than specialized ministry. I have two years of formal Clinical Pastoral Education and prior to ordination I successfully pursued Board Certification for health care ministry through the NACC. My certification needs to be renewed and I plan to seek dual certification in health care ministry (NACC and APC) when I renew my certification. I have a breadth of experience working with Protestant ministers and collaborating with them to achieve the goals of hospital pastoral care and chaplaincy. These ministers run the spectrum from the liberal to the conservative.

Bachelors of Science-- University of Scranton PA Masters of Arts Theology--- Saint Mary's Seminary and University Baltimore MD Masters of Divinity--- Saint Charles Borremeo Seminary Philadelphia PA Board Certified Chaplain (up for renewal)

©2017 All rights reserved.