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St. Benedict Happy Death Crucifix
Happy Death Crucifix - or - Crucifix Medal of St. Benedict - or - Benedictine Crucifix - or - St. Benedict Jubilee Crucifix
Among the numerous Sacramentals Holy Mother Church offers to bring help to the dying, She certifies the Cross of a Happy Death and the Medal of St. Benedict. The Popes have granted a Plenary Indulgence to this combination under the usual conditions.
To facilitate the gaining of this indulgence we have the Cross of a Happy Death supporting the Medal of St. Benedict which is placed in the center on the back of the Cross.
St. Benedict died with this hands raised to Heaven, to the surface of an altar, even to the Body and Blood of the Saviour, as afterwards he would receive. In this manner, one unites one's death with that of the Saviour, because the Eucharist is certainly the representation of the death on the cross of Jesus on Calvary. The Medal of St. Benedict on the cross calls to our mind this Saint's glorious death. This Saint as one of the Patrons of a happy death repeatedly calls us as he said when appearing to St. Gertrude: Whosoever reminds me each day of this time when the Lord chose to honour and sanctify me with this great dignity, so will I stand fast by such a one in his hour of death and bestow on him a triumphant death, thwarting all of the assaults which Satan will direct against him. Through my protective presence he will enter into eternal gladness.
One of the inscriptions on the medal brings this wish in prayer form to mind: (Ejus in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur) We desire you in our hour of death to be our armor by your property and presence.
There is something of a certainty in regard to the plenary indulgence one can then gain if one is wearing the Cross of a Happy Death and Medal of St. Benedict in his hour of death.
The Cross of a Happy Death must be blessed by a priest who has the power for this purpose; who has the same prerogative for the Medal of St. Benedict. This combination loses its value if one puts it up as a sales item after it has been blessed. (accepting a donation is fine)
What must one have to understand about a Plenary Indulgence?
When the soul is before God, before Whom he or she will appear, indebted, since they have offended Him. Sin has brought about a two-fold damage - the guilt and the punishment due to sin. (reatus culpae, reatus paenae)
An act of perfect love to God out of repentance for having offended Him, bound up with the will to go to Confession as soon as one is able, so that the guilt and all sins are forgiven, and then the soul itself is again transformed into sanctifying grace. The Church admonishes us to do this as quickly as possible. Following the disposal of the guilt of sin (through Confession and absolution), there remains the punishment due which the soul must compensate for. While full compensation for the guilt of sin is accomplished, it is rare that repentance is sufficient to attain full remission of all of the punishment due to it.
This, from the Divine Justice will not confer complete remission by means of Divine Visitation for which the cleansing operation for our impatience all too often raises. Just as little are we capable of voluntary mortification to which a transitory earnestness inspires us to liberate us from the entire punishment due to sin. We shall lay claim to the same infinite Merits of Jesus and those of the Saints provided out of the treasury of the Church.
The Pope and the bishops from whom this spiritual depository is maintained, grants the same indulgence in which the indebtedness is repaid by the Divine Justification. We are baptized and are in the state of grace, so we know we have a share in the superabundance grace provides us to be participants in the Mystical Body of Christ and share in the common benefits of the Saints.
Consequently, one who is not in the state of grace (someone who has not obtained absolution through Confession) has no portion in the operation of Christ on this indulgence. The indulgence is outside the Sacramental release of the temporal punishment due to sins truly FORGIVEN.
Through Ecclesiastical Authority, however, she draws what is profitable out of the infinite treasury of the mutual participation of the saints, as the Canon (of 1917) says (Canon 911).
When one member has more than enough in profitable accumulation, the excess comes to another, being in the need thereof. The Indulgence is either Plenary or Partial according to the circumstances, if the Church wants the full remission of the temporal punishment or only a part thereof omitted. It is dependent on our disposition if one gains himself a Plenary Indulgence in its full effectiveness. The freewill inclination to weigh our sins to lighten them already hinders us in gaining a Plenary Indulgence. In this decline one will gain only a Partial one. The Church therefore, knowing our weakness and imperfections on this account propagates the number of Plenary Indulgences, making it possible to gain one - it only a Partial Indulgence.
With regard to indulgences (Plenary or Partial) there are likewise prayers, or spiritual exercises such as the Cross, Rosary, medals and so forth, provided they brought no harm and will not be sold. The indulgence of the Crucifix has been centered or bound to the Corpus, that of the rosary on the beads.
The Plenary Indulgence of the Cross of a Happy Death
In regard to the temporal punishment the dying are obliged to endure in the Cleansing Flames the Cross of a Happy Death has mentioned. They are provided with a plenary indulgence that one can gain in the hour of death.
Pope Saint Pius X says: That true believer which if such blessing of the Cross is not even appertained to him, kissed or otherwise touched, one can gain a plenary indulgence, under the stipulations that he had confessed and received Holy Communion or was prevented, at least repents his sins, that he called the Holy Name of Jesus with devotion and accepts death with resignation from the Hand of God as atonement for his sins. (Holy Office, June 11, 1914)
This Cross is likewise for a lifetime and is particularly useful in sickness if it teaches us to unite our sufferings with those of the Savior and offer them with Him as a sacrifice to the Father.
This indulgence as already mentioned, how it is centered on the Corpus, thus displayed, if this Corpus become despoiled or defaced its effectiveness has expired. The Cross is constructed of pleasing materials but it can become impaired, however without loss of the indulgence. But the Corpus must be made of durable material. Lead, tin, glass or pewter are strictly prohibited. Therefore the substantial material is used in its construction as you would desire.
The Cross Medal of St. Benedict and Indulgences
The medal of St. Benedict is very old. It is particularly thought to be from the eleventh century, owing to the recovery of a youth named Bruno, a monk at the Benedictines who would later become Pope St. Leo IX.
On one side of the medal is the picture of St. Benedict, with a cross impressed in the hand. On the other side a larger cross with a beginner's book with several Latin words. While the supporting frame is the main element, it will be referred to as the Cross-Medal of St. Benedict.
Frequently one associates the Saint with a cup and a serpent. One calls to mind how close the Saint came to death with the cup full of poison before him, as he had reached for it, that one observes the power of the sign of the Cross he made over it. That death poison knew the Cross, not to oppose the Lifesign made over it, and the glass mug shattered as if a stone had violently struck it says St. Gregory. And likewise to bring to mind this miracle the letters are placed on the cross-medal. The St. Benedict's medal will be used effectively with faith in all spiritual and material instances as the instances take place. It is particularly effective against contagious disease, poison, determined sickness, witchcraft and temptations of the devil. It has become spread by the missionaries all over the world.
Medal of St. Benedict
The letters on the reverse side of the medal and their meaning:
C.S.P.B. - Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti - the cross of holy father Benedict
C.S.S.M.L. - Crux Sancta Sit Mihi Lux - May the Holy Cross be my light
N.D.S.M.D. - Non Draco Sit Mihi Dux - May the dragon be not my leader
V.R.S. - Vade Retro Satana - Be gone Satan! (away Satan!)
N.S.M.V. - Non Suade Mihi Vana - Entice me not with deceits
S.M.Q.L. - Sunt Mala Quae Libas - What you offered is evil
I.V.B. - Ipse Venena Bibas - Drink your poison yourself
A plenary indulgence at the hour of death will protect those who wear the medal of St. Benedict and who subsequently fulfill the stipulations.
1. To commend the soul to God
2. To confess and receive Communion, or if that is not possible to call out the name of Jesus with a heartfelt repentance.
Of the other indulgences, this medal has preserved, which Pope Benedict XIV in his letter of March 12, 1742 take notice of, We solely agree: a plenary indulgence under the usual stipulations (confession, Communion, prayer for the Holy Father) on all great feasts (Christmas, Epiphany, Candlemas, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi, the Assumption, the Immaculate Conception, the birthday of the Blessed Virgin, feast of All Saints, feast of St. Benedict). If one has the custom of once a week to: 1) pray the rosary; or 2) teach the Faith; or 3) visit the sick; or 4) give alms to the poor; or 5) to attend Holy Mass.
Numerous partial indulgences for: visits to the sick; visits to the Church; teaching children the Faith at home or to underprivileged relatives; celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; attending Mass for the welfare of Christian sovereigns or prays for the government; bringing/accompanying the sick to Mass on All Saints' day; prayer before Holy Mass or before the reception of Holy Communion; by your counsel or example converts a sinner will obtain remission of some of the punishment due to your own sins; on Maudy Thursday (Holy Thursday) or on Easter prays for the exaltation of the Church and for the welfare of the Pope; prayer for the extension of the Benedictine Order also obtains a portion of all the good works the Order performs.
The Crucifix Medal of St. Benedict
We have now written about advantages of the Cross of a Happy Death and the Medal of St. Benedict. To understand more extensively about it one has the unique two-fold subject joined into one. We get ourselves one of the Cross-Medals and we kiss it with respect and love the Savour Who hangs on this cross and the medal which represents St. Benedict.
Upon that cross is pronounced the great exorcism, in any case the dedication and Blessing is repeated. It is very commendable at the blessing with the Benedict's Cross to pronounce the little exorcism.
Oh my Jesus through the sign of Thy Holy Cross let all of the evil spirits withdraw from us. In the name of the Father + and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost +. Amen.
We ought to use this Cross daily to worship the Saviour and to beg for the support of St. Benedict against the devil.
NOTE from Ave Maria's Circle: The wording of the above has been updated to more current vernacular. It is taken from an old English translation. It is also a small overview of all the information available on the St. Benedict medal and Crucifix.