Reader Althea R. e-mailed the following comments about spirits of the dead haunting the living, and questions about the powers of the St. Benedict medal:
“I have one of your books. You are just like my grandma because she also has those trance moments.
“My lola is an open channel. She is always haunted by her dead relatives, friends and even engkanto.
“My lola’s brother and his wife died 15 years ago, yet he is still very much around. We have offered prayers and Masses for his soul, but it seems these are not effective at all. We think he still doesn’t recognize the fact that he is already dead.
“He is greedy with things and envious of my lola. I heard there was a big misunderstanding between them. She said she had forgiven him, but I think she is not over the incident that happened to them.
“Anyway, my lola wears the St. Benedict medal blessed by a Benedictine monk all the time, yet her brother still possesses her whenever she goes into a trance or when spaced out. Why doesn’t the medal work on her brother? Sometimes even my lola’s brother’s wife comes after my lola wears the medallion.
“Do you have any explanation for this?”
Sign of the cross
Frankly, I would rather that you ask a Benedictine priest this question. But here’s what I can tell you about the history of this medallion and its powers, which I gathered from a brochure published by the St. John’s Abbey Press of Collegeville, Minnesota, and with Nihil Obstat by Alexius Hoffman, OSB, and Imprimatur by Joseph F. Busch Epilopus Sti. Clodoaldi on Nov. 13, 1923.
The medal was associated with St. Benedict as patriarch of Western monasticism and founder of the Benedictine Order. It was his devotion to the Cross, the sign of redemption, that gave rise to the medal of St. Benedict.
“The saint often employed the sign of the cross to work miracles and overcome the devil and his temptation.”
“In 1741, Pope Benedict XIV, moved by the many favors which God had shown through the medal, approved it and enriched it with numerous indulgences.”
Among the powers given by the Church to the medal are the following:
1. “To protect those who wear it from the snares and temptations of the devil;
2. “To protect them from lightnings and tempests, from pestilences, sicknesses and poisons;
3. “To bestow upon them His blessings, both temporal and spiritual.”
Against the devil, but not the spirits of the dead
According to the brochure, numerous facts exist to prove the efficacy of the medal by its pious use and invocation of St. Benedict.
There is no special way to carry or apply the medal. It may be worn about the neck, attached to the scapular or the rosary, or otherwise carried in a person’s pocket or purse. It may be dipped into the water or medicine to be given to the sick, or it may be applied to their wounds.
Often it is placed in the foundations of houses, hung over doors and barns, or attached to automobiles to call down God’s blessings and protection. No particular prayers are prescribed.
Why doesn’t the medal work against your lola’s brother and wife? Maybe because they are not the devil. Remember, the medal is made to protect one against demonic possession, not against spirits of the dead. Also, I have found it does not work against elemental creatures or nature spirits.
But maybe you should ask a Benedictine priest from San Beda College, the Monks of the Monastery of Transfiguration in Bukidnon, or the Sisters of St. Scholastica’s College for further explanation. I just based my reply on what I have read and experienced.
There is a local version of the St. Benedict medal called the San Benito, which is available in Quiapo, Manila, but this is not commissioned by the Church. It is used as an amulet by local believers.
Attend the Practical Mind Dynamics Seminar on May 11-12, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the next “Soulmates, Karma and Reincarnation” seminar on May 18, 1-7 p.m., and the “How to Heal Yourself Through Visualization” seminar on May 22, Wednesday, 6-9 p.m., at Rm. 308 Prince Plaza I, Legazpi St., Greenbelt, Makati City. Call tel. nos. 8107245, 8159890, 0908-3537885 or 0929-4187011; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.jimmylicauco.com.