The origin of the Medal of Saint Benedict is very ancient.
The strength of the faith comes from the symbols
It certainly was suggested by the fact that the Patriarch used successfully the sign of the cross against the assaults of the Demon, as related by Saint Gregory.
Pope Benedict XIV settled the drawing of this medal.
On the face
face of the medal is the image of Saint Benedict. In his right hand he holds the cross, the Christian's symbol of salvation. In Benedict's left hand is his Rule for monastic. On a pedestal to the right of Benedict is the poisoned cup, shattered when he made the sign of the cross over it. On a pedestal to the left is a raven about to carry away a loaf of poisoned bread. Below Benedict we read: EX S.M. CASINO MDCCCLXXX (from holy Monte Cassino, 1880). Above the cup and the raven are the Latin words: CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI (The Cross of our Holy Father Benedict). On the margin of the medal, encircling the figure of Benedict, are the Latin words: EIUS IN OBITU NOSTRO PRAESENTIA MUNIAMUR!.
(May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death!)
On the back
of the medal, the cross is dominant. On the arms of the cross are the initial letters of Latin words as explain below:
C.S.P.B.: CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENDICTI
The Cross of our holy father Benedict
C.S.S.M.L.: CRUX SACRA SIT MIHI LUX
May the holy cross be my light!
N.D.S.M.D.: NON DRACO SIT MIHI DUX
May the dragon never be my guide!
V.R.S.: VADE RETRO SATANA
N.S.M.V.: NON SUADE MIHI VANA
Never tempt me with your vanities!
S.M.Q.L.: SUNT MALA QUAE LIBAS
What you offer me is evil
I.V.B.: IPSE VENENUM BIBAS
Drink the poison yourself!
Above the cross is the word PAX (peace), that has been a Benedictine motto for centuries.
The last three verses, in elegy rhymed couplets, have a very ancient origin, at least in the sec. XIV. The series is near a monk dispelling the temptation with the cross. They well show the confidence of the believers in the help of Saint Benedict against the spiritual and material dangers caused by the devil.