We all need them. Whether it’s an alert on our smart phone or a photo of a loved one on our desk, reminders serve an important purpose in our lives. As Catholics we rule when it comes to reminders – think statues, icons, and holy pictures. Sometimes we’re criticized for “worshipping idols.” Those who misunderstand think we’re worshipping our statues when they simply serve as reminders of Our Lord and His sacrifice on the cross, Our Lady’s intercessory role, or the heroic virtues of saints who inspire us in our difficulties.
In the emotional life it’s very helpful to incorporate reminders. A scripture on your bathroom mirror and notes of encouragement can go a long way in keeping us on a positive track. After all, there are enough reminders out there of how bad things are. Newspaper headlines, news, and talk shows can have a cumulative effect of dragging us down. Even certain people in our lives can be negative reminders of all of our screw-ups and shortcomings. To whatever extent we can avoid them we should. But avoiding them altogether is nearly impossible so we need to mount a counter-offensive if we want to keep our heads above the murky waters of doubt and despair.
For me, certain reminders really help me stay focused on God. Religious jewelry, like a miraculous medal reminds me of my devotion to Mary, and more importantly, her intercessory role in my salvation. Originally known as the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, it became known popularly as the Miraculous Medal because so many miracles were attributed to it. Naturally, it’s not the medal itself but the devotion it signifies that makes the difference. I can honestly say that after I began wearing it with devotion some 30 years ago many graces did come as I grew in my faith. I don’t leave home without it!
Think of the Advent Season as Reminder Season. Each nativity scene, ornament, tree, and card are simply reminders of the story of our salvation, the love of God, and the love we share with others. As you plan your gift giving, consider giving “reminders” to friends and family that will bolster their faith and prompt them to think of God’s amazing love for them. One of my favorite gifts I received a couple of years ago from my husband is this bracelet. This one reminds me not of God’s love for me but of what my role needs to be in this mystery of salvation. There have been a couple of times that I started building a head of steam when upset with someone and looking at my bracelet stopped me in my tracks. As the world spins farther and farther out of control, let’s take the prayer of St. Francis to heart and live the message to be channels of His peace.
Wishing you a blessed and beautiful Advent and Christmas.
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