What is the tradition and main purpose for saint medals? I want to be ready to answer any protestant objector. I also have a Divine Mercy Medal since this isn’t a saint medal what is the tradition behind this?
Medals in general, whether they depict Saints or something else, like the Divine Mercy image, are meant to be visual reminders. Additionally, if they’re blessed by a priest, they can be “sacramentals” ie: ocassions of God’s grace. The difference between Sacrament and sacramental is that in the latter case, grace doesn’t come from the object… God just uses it as an occasion of grace… this might be hard for Protestants to understand…
Some medals, like the Miraculous Medal, are based on visions, private revelations, etc, and have promises attached to them. If you’re talking to a Protestant, make sure they first understand it’s not like magic or superstition…
"First a definition: a sacramental is a sacred sign that signifies effects obtained through the Church’s intercession. While all of the seven Sacraments are Christ-instituted and always do exactly what they signify ex opere operato (“from the deed done”), sacramentals are usually Church-instituted (though some are Christ-instituted). They work through the power and prayers of the Church (ex opere operantis Ecclesiae) and, subjectively, ex opere operantis, that is, through the pious disposition of the one using them. Sacramentals drive away evil spirit, and when piously used, remit venial sin and prepare the soul for grace.
Sacramentals can be material things (blessed objects, such as scapulars, Rosaries, Crucifxes, medals, Holy Water, etc.) or actions (the Sign of the Cross, genuflection, prayers, the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday, etc.). Note that only a priest has the power to bless an object and make it a sacramental. Lay Catholics are free to bless objects, even using the prayers priests use – and we do so often in blessing our children, blessing meals, blessing Advent wreaths or Mary Gardens, etc. – but our blessings act as “mere” pleas to God. Priests alone have been given the power to bless with a guarantee, as it were, and it is they and they alone who can take a new Crucifix or Rosary and turn them into sacramentals with the power and prayers of the entire Church behind them."
What should one do with a small medal of St. Dominic that was given to them? Any suggestions???
In the church, we pray to several different saints: normal people who lived extra-ordinary lives for Christ. People wear their medals as a special offering for them to watch over us and pray for us, as we try to model our lives after them.
Personally, I wear a St. Joan of Arc medal because she is my special patron, and I try to follow her example of strengh.
Keep it in your vehicle’s rear view mirror
give it to a Catholic child
attach a ribbon to it and use it as a Bible marker.
Contemplate on the Saint’s virtues.
Medals remind us to pray, esp. for those things needed for others outside of ourselves and our families.
Probably the most important thing you’ll have to do when explaining about medals is to assure the objector absolutely that they are not objects of superstition and they are most certainly not “lucky charms”. No one is required to wear - or even own - a holy medal, so in themselves they do not contribute to one’s salvation. However they are often important to those who have a devotion to a particular saint or who have a belief in a particular revelation (such as the Miraculous Medal) - they can remind the person to invoke the aid of the saint, help one feel closer to the saint, or to implement Christian values more vigorously in their lives using the saint as a model.