The Miraculous Medal is also known as the Medal of the Immaculate Conception. The design of the Miraculous Medal was directed by the Blessed Virgin herself! Mary has appeared to Believers on a number of occasions. Instructions for designing the Miraculous Medal were given to Sister Catherine Laboure in 1830. Mary appeared to Sister Catherine on three separate occasions.The Front of the Miraculous Medal
The design of the Miraculous Medal is a very detailed one; it is full of rich symbolism. On the front of the Medal, Mary is portrayed standing on top of a globe. One foot is crushing a serpent. Mary is depicted at the top of the world as a symbol of her position as Queen of both Heaven and Earth.
The symbol of the snake (serpent) is an important one in the Christian faith. It is generally considered a symbol of Satan. The serpent is also associated with Pagan faiths. Mary crushing the snake reminds Believers that Satan and all this works are powerless before God. It could also be interpreted as a sign of Christianity as the True Faith.
The Miraculous Medal also includes the year 1830, in recognition of the year Sister Catherine was told to have the Medal struck. A reference to Mary being conceived without sin is also included. Rather than being born as the result of an Immaculate Conception, Mary was chosen to give birth to Jesus because she was “sinless” and “blessed among women”.The Back of the Medal
The reverse side of the Medal shows the letter “M” encircles by 12 stars. The letter M has a cross arising from it. Below it are two hearts with flames coming out of them. One heart is portrayed as being pierced by a sword, while the other one is encircled by thorns.
The 12 stars can be interpreted as symbolizing the 12 Apostles. Stars are also used to symbolize other things. They are associated with knights (who, in turn, symbolize what we consider to be noble and honorable), the military, and justice (consider the shape of a sheriff’s badge).
Stars are also mentioned in the Book of Revelation. In Saint John’s vision, he saw a woman wearing a crown made up of 12 stars. The woman was “clothed with the sun”; the moon was under her feet.
The letter M with the cross arising from it symbolizes Mary’s close connection to the Church. The cross is a very powerful symbol of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. The two hearts remind Believers of Christ’s passion.
The symbol of a heart surrounded by thorns serves as a reminder of Jesus’ love for the people, which eventually resulted in his crucifixion, death, and subsequent resurrection. The heart pierced by the sword is a symbol of repentance.Why Wear the Miraculous Medal?
According to the Blessed Virgin Mary, those who wear the Medal will receive great graces from God. The Medals were first distributed in Paris in 1832. A number of people reported that they received the gifts of peace, better health, and prosperity after wearing the Medal.
Rather than consider the Medal to be a good luck charm, Believers are directed to consider it as a reminder of their Faith. Those who walk in the way of Christianity need never be alone. The gifts from God are available to everyone who asks for them.Just Ask
During one of the times Mary appeared to Sister Catherine, the Blessed Virgin was seen wearing a number of rings. Rays of light were seen streaming from many of the rings. However, some of the rings were dark. Sister Catherine was made to understand that these favors were available, but that no one had asked for them.
The Medal becomes a reminder that Christians are directed to take their concerns and requests to the Lord in prayer. Help and guidance are always available; one only needs to ask for them. The Bible says, “Ask and you shall receive”.