I have a fondness for St Catherine Laboure, the originator of the Miraculous Medal, whose feast day is today. I was received into the Catholic Church from a very Protestant background and I had a strong resistance to devotional practices involving medals or holy water or material devotional objects in general. When I first heard about the Miraculous Medal, my first thought was "I can see the sense in venerating a relic, but the Miraculous Medal is just a mass-produced piece of metal! What could be special about that!" Some years ago, I was somewhat embarassed to meet a lady after mass at a church I was visiting, and this lady asked me to help her distribute the medals. Then the thought came to me that if God is God, He can work in whatever way He wants, and that includes giving graces through a mass-produced piece of metal. I had unconsciously been setting limits to His freedom of action. Of course for Carmelites the same applies to the Scapular. 'Just' a material thing but associated down the years with a multitude of graces.
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