About Me

My photo
Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Nuu Nuu Land

Here's two comments we must address:

When we sold my parents' house after their deaths, I put Miraculous Medals in inconspicuous places. I also put a rosary high on one of the shelves in my Dad's tool shed. A protestant minister bought the house. I keep looking for his name in the list of RCIA catechumens.

I do have a question... is it wrong to treat these metals like charms? I'm thinking of the protestant minister who bought the house of the above poster. Wouldn't he be scandalized to find medals planted like talismans around the house? (And, what do you think of the practice of burying statues of St. Joseph in order to sell a house?) I thought that it was the devotion to Mary that was directly inspired by the medal that worked miracles... not the object, itself.

However, I never knew it was a sin to believe in luck. Do you mean it's a sin to believe that some things happen randomly and you may be the recipient of a happy accident, such as a winning raffle ticket?

Ugh. It makes sense that we'd have this conversation right after we've also discussed the endless denominations and what everyone believes and doesn't believe and why many people think Catholics are crazy.

You have to admit, at least to yourself, that if someone told you when they sold their house that they left lucky pennies everywhere for the new recieptients, you'd just think it was kind of sad.

I'm not suggesting that the Miraculous Medal IS a lucky charm. What I am suggesting is that you be very careful about treating it as one. A charm is a thing that contains power in and of itself. Sacramentals are not charms. They are reminders. They help us focus.

And speaking of luck, yes, it is a sin to believe in luck. To believe in luck is to believe that God is just leaving us to the wind, some of us to randomly experience good fortune. Doubly random as sometimes we do pray and get Him involved in our fortune and some times we just say, "Good Luck!" Face it, the root word for 'good' is God, as in 'good-bye' really meaning "God be with you", but we are not invoking God's help when we say good luck. Not if we are being honest with ourselves.

I have the flu. Can you tell?

Leaving medals all over the place may be well intentioned, but, cut it out. It really seems as though you think the medal has some sort of power on it's own when you do that. Surely you can see how confusing that is.

If that isn't enough for you, keep in mind that the Blessed Mother asked that the Miraculous Medal be worn. Of course, that's before it was actually called the Miraculous Medal. But we knew what she meant. It's okay to carry it, too. But once you start stashing it...I think we're heading out to nuu-nuu land.

As far as I know, there is only one sacramental that is can be left behind to do it's work and it's still not because it's a charm. The Green Scapular is meant to heal the sick and call the fallen away back to the Church. You can give it to the person and they can say the prayer on it. OR...and this is the good part...if they won't take it and say the prayer on it, you can leave it in their nightstand or slip it into their purse and YOU say the prayer on it and it will still call them back to the Church. It's Stealth Catholism.

As for burying St. Joseph. I've talked about this practise before.

I need fluids.


Anonymous said...

Where can I get a miraculous medal?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your answers, Sister Mary Martha! And, I really enjoyed your post on St. Joseph statues. I had never thought of it in that light, before.

I am sorry you are suffering from the flu. I'll pray for you.

Please say a little prayer that I won't actually throw my three-year-old out the window.

Sarah - Kala said...

You can order MM's on line from just about every Catholic site out there in web-land and/or you can check out a local Catholic bookstore. For starters.

SMM, I will pray for your health.

Married2ajoseph: St. Josemaria said that when people bother you, you should look at them and say: You sanctify me! So, tell your tot that and know you are not being mean or saying anything ugly you'll regret later. It's helped me (and I have a teenager now). I'll be praying for you, too. Remember: God loves you like no one else!!

Anonymous said...

God bless you, Sister. Hope you feel better soon.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Sister. But I'm still not sure I understand why the Green Scapular can be used as "Stealth Catholicism" while the Miraculous Medal cannot. If the person who left those medals also prayed for the people who found them, what could possibly be wrong with that?

Barb Szyszkiewicz said...

While "Anonymous" has a point with that last question, I do want to stay that leaving those medals (or other sacramentals) "around" can also invite abuse. It's one thing if they fall into the hands of someone who becomes curious about what they are and what they mean, and ultimately learns something and maybe even believes, as a result. It's another thing if they fall into the hands of someone who has no clue what they are and what they mean, and just tosses them out with the trash--or worse.

Anonymous said...

I worry about sacramentals falling into the wrong hands, too. But, I try to remember that they're meant to aid us, not to give us something else to worry about. The Holy Eucharist, OTOH, is something we should take great care of, of course.

Journey of Truth, I like your suggestion. I am a bit afraid of what tone I may say, "You sanctify me!" and what sorts of implications that may carry, sometimes. (Just in case anybody is worried, I am not seriously tempted to throw my kid out the window.)

Anonymous said...


Call your local Catholic parishes and find out if there is a Legion of Mary there. If so, the L of M would be delighted to give you a medal, with a little leaflet explaining it, free of charge.

Anonymous said...


The difference between the Green Scapular and pretty much everything else is in who says the prayers.

If you place a green scapular with anyone, you say the prayers. If you give a different sacramental to someone, that person says the prayers.

If you give a sacramental to someone, you should have a reasonable sense that they will eventually say the prayers, although you don't have to know for sure. Maybe they'll stick it in a drawer until some later date and then start saying the prayers, or maybe they'll pass it on to someone else who will say the prayers. We shouldn't leave them on park benches, for example, because the odds are as good that a passing animal will eat them.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear you are sick Sister. I went with my sister to the doctor yesterday. Her 2 year old has BOTH influenza A and B.
Married2ajoseph, I once got my 2 year old home then put him in the driveway with a for sale sign over his head. I took a picture, laughed, and carried him in the house for his nap. He's 15 now and I'm teaching him how to drive. Maybe I should have sold him.
Any prayers for terrified moms? Any medals of protection?

RadioPie said...

Is there some sort of anti-st. Joseph statue...something that I could petition to STOP my landlord from selling my house? (I'm pretty sure he snuck a St. Joseph into my garden while I wasn't looking, so I'm up against some powerful stuff....) Or, who is the patron saint of not wanting to box up all your belongings and find another apartment that lets you own cats?

Gretchen said...

Thanks JoT for the "You Sanctify Me". I'd like to throw my 17 year old out the window about 6x a day :)

Sister--first, I hope you're feeling better. Second, do you think carrying a Miraculous Medal or wearing it on a bracelet would be equivalent to wearing it around your neck?

Thank you!

Francesca said...

A totally other question... I skipped Thursday Mass/adoration tonight partially because people I knew would be there and I'd have to talk afterward. It's been a long exhausting day and talking is the last thing I want to do. Also, I often prefer the TLM to the NO Mass because there's no Peace passed. I'm hugely introverted and it's only been in recent years that I just dislike the Peace -- it used to make me panic!

So just how bad am I for these things? Confession-worthy? Or just weirdness?

Annette said...

Saying a prayer for you, Sister, that you feel better soon.

Um... does this mean I need to take the green scapular out of my Lutheran pastor husband's pillow case? I keep praying he'll convert.

paddy the papist said...

Thank you sister for allowing me to make comments on your blog.

Something I find amazing about the vast majority of websites and "blogs" which claim to be Catholic is there shallowness. But then that is not surprising really because what we papists have had to get used to over the past 50 years is a lookalike Catholic religion.

We are witnessing the perfect description given to us by Our Lady at La Salette when she warned us that "the Church will be in eclipse" She also warned us that "Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the antichrist"

In October 1917, 400 hundred years after Luther's almost fatal crime against the Mystical Body, Our Lady warned the whole world when she caused the "physical light of the world" to perform dances in the sky and come hurtling towards the earth. How blind can we be?

Now, because the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ this church is destined to be, like Him - the Light of the World. Now we all agree (I hope) that the sun is the physical light of the world while Jesus Christ is the True Light of the world who can be "looked at" only through the eyes of faith.

We papists BELIEVE in the Catholic Church and all the challenges this entails. We all know what an eclipse is and only some "object" passing in front of the sun can cause an eclipse.

That is why we papists have to make a stand. If we go to our judgement as "papist dogs" that did not bark we will deservedly go to hell for all eternity.

I have put "challenges" to any one who is interested in the Catholic faith on my blog and so far nobody has bothered to make a stand.

In my last comment I stated that, for the duration of the New Mass bread and wine remain bread and wine and transubstantiation does not take place.

I also claimed that this can be proven.

Any challengers? Remember to read first all of chapter six of Saint John's gospel.

Anonymous said...

Annette, from what I read, you're doing the right thing with the green scapular. You're praying for his conversion. I think Sister Mary Martha said that that is one sacramental we can use in that way, provided we continue to pray for that person.

Anonymous said...

paddy, most Protestants don't believe the bread and wine are transubstantiated during the consecration at a Novus Ordo Mass.

If your blog is not having the intended impact, perhaps you should reconsider your mission.

paddy the papist said...

My mission is the restoration of the infallible papacy and the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church.

It is not only a "mission". It is a duty.

Please read chapter 6 of Saint John's Gospel. I doubt if you did this before you commented.

I wish you great favours from Our Lady the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and our mother also, thanks to the infinite goodness of the Only Son of the Almighty Father.

May the whole world come to know and love the Most Holy Trinity in spirit and in truth through the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church outside of which there is no salvation.

All Glory to the Most Holy Trinity through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Teach your children well! What a great gift from God does a child receive when it is born to Catholic parents who take their faith seriously.

Teach them first of all, the first three commandments and then the fourth.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of whether it is a sin to skip Mass/Adoration because it is more than you can take as an introvert (I'm right there with you on that!), personally I would encourage you to take it to a spiritual director or your confessor, just so they know about it and you don't have to be alone in the knowledge.

Katy said...

anonymous, was Thursday a Holy Day of obligation? If not, then it wasn't a sin to skip it.
And, if you get very anxious about the Peace, then you can avoid it by keeping your eyes closed and your hands folded, as if you're praying really hard. I have seen people do this. Only a total jerk would insist on touching/greeting you, although some people may think you're stuck-up or something. Don't worry about what other people think. God knows your heart.

Terry Nelson said...

Sister - I hope you feel better soon. I must say, I haven't heard the term nuu-nuu in years - that always makes me laugh.

You are right about the superstitious dimension regarding sacramentals, but as for the Miraculous Medal and secreting it on others - while the person doing the undercover work also prays for them - I think one may do this in good faith. In the life of St. Therese, we read how she would slip Miraculous Medals into the coats of the workmen who needed to enter the enclosure to do some work. Used properly, the sacramental is but a sign of the faith and devotion (charity)of the entire Church.

And you are correct, these sacramentals are not to be used as charms or talismans.

Great post. Now get well please.

Anonymous said...

I have a question. If you say you are going to give something up for Lent and then go ahead and do it a few times anyway (i.e. eat a brownie, or watch TV), is that a sin? Or is that just a mess-up and you start over more strongly commited the next day (like on a diet)? Does one need to take it to confession if they knowingly failed in giving something up perfectly? If they made a fully concious choice to give in to the temptation?

paddy the papist said...

There is a lot more to be said about the Miraculous Medal.

I am considering writing something about this in a future post (if God spares me) and I am toying with a title for it at the moment.

Yes, I think I will title it:
Miserable Mondays at the Miraculous Medal in Monaghan.

Because sloth along with gluttony are two of my besetting sins I would be happy to have somebody write it for me. I can then read it while gorging myself on cornflakes with some milk and lots of cream.

It takes all sorts.

Tell "anonymous" that I really am a nutcase and that reading my blog is a danger to one's eternal destination.

One might abandon Neo-Catholicism and become a papist.

Remember always the teaching of the Roman Catholic popes that "Ex Ecclesia Nulla Salus" "outside the church there is no salvation" which goes right back to Saint Peter.

The Neo-Catholic popes teach the opposite. One cannot be careful enough who one chooses as leader through the minefield of life.

Just imagine being in a queue behind Ben 16 at the pearly gates only to find that he has not got the keys.

Wouldn't you just be lost!

Anonymous said...

Dear Marylandfan, in the 19th centuty there was a book about Lenten abstinence --I forget the title-- that said when you make a special sacrifice for Lent, not to take vow to do it because then you might abstain "for the sake of the vow" and not for love and in companionship with Christ's suffering. If we decide to abstain from something and then mess up, I guess that's the sin of ... um, what's the opposite of fortitude, sloth? But I don't think it's its own special sin like murder or adultery of skipping mass on a day of obligation (or opportunity as I think we now say). It's just a regular every day venial sin like being short-tempered, that we can repent and amend.

Anonymous said...

Sister MM,

neither Google or the other references I know about helped. What's nuunuu mean?


Anonymous said...

Lisa, I ran that "day of opportunity" by my parish priest and he was not amused. I don't think that is an official name change, just a "touchy feely" way to look at it. It's still "obligation".

the mother of this lot said...

Hope you're feeling better Sister.

Jayne said...

Nothing to do with this post but I was talking with my 12 year old son about vocations today. Among others things,I told him that I had read online about a nun who at first became a nun because she thought she was too ugly to get married. (I hope I am remembering that story properly.) He asked me if I meant that "nun with the blog" since he reads your blog over my shoulder sometimes. When I told him yes, he said, "I've seen her picture; she's not ugly."

I guess you are supposed to be past caring about such things now, but I thought it might be nice to hear anyhow.