29 August 2023

The Miraculous Medal

 A week ago ... well, August 22, to be pedantic ... Octave Day of the Assumption ... Pusey's Birth Day ... Saint John Henry Newman, weeks before his Admission to Full Communion in 1845, began to wear the Miraculous Medal.

Months later, his closest woman friend, Maria Giberne, painted a portrait of Newman and St John in their room in Rome, with Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal between them. 

There's a longish three-year-old article by me on Newman and the Miraculous Medal in the Archive of this blog; my intent is si vivo to reprint it in November at the time of the Festival of the Medal. 

But ... well ... I take this opportunity again to nag you to wear the Medal. If the practice was good enough for the finest mind of the nineteenth century, it ought to be good enough for us.


But I urge you also to remember blessed Edward Bouverie Pusey, a great (in Fr Aidan Nichols' phrase) 'Separated Doctor of the Catholic Church'. Like many 'Tractarians' and post-Tractarians, he wrote extensively on Typology: he may never have worn the Medal, but its spirit was in him. 

You won't have forgotten that Typology as a word comes from the Greek verb tuptein: what you do when striking a coin or medal or seal so that it has corresponding images on both the obverse and the reverse.

I wonder how Pusey, with his distinctively Anglican and Patristic mindset, would have explored the themes of the Miraculous Medal, and its Antitypology. For myself ...

... I might have attempted to begin through those haunting words in the last chapter of the Song of Songs: "Set me as a seal upon thy heart, for love is as strong as death" (htham ...leb; sphragida ... kardian; signaculum ...cor)

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