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Sunday, 24 June 2012

An Agnus Dei depicting St Cajetan

An "Agnus Dei" depicting St Cajetan from the Pontificate of Benedict XIV (1740-1758)

A Miracle Worked by St Cajetan
When St. Cajetan sailed from Venice to Naples, a terrible storm arose, and all on board expected the boat to sink every moment. Cajetan took his Agnus Dei and threw it into the sea, which immediately became calm.

Agnus Deis

The name Agnus Dei has been given to certain discs of wax 
impressed with the figure of a lamb and blessed at stated seasons by the Pope. 
They are sometimes round, sometimes oval in diameter. 
The lamb usually bears a cross or flag, while figures of saints or the name and arms of the Pope are also commonly impressed on the reverse. 
These Agnus Deis may be worn suspended round the neck, or they may be preserved as objects of devotion. In virtue of the consecration they receive, they are regarded, 
like holy water, blessed palms, etc., as "Sacramentals".

The symbolism of the Agnus Deis is best gathered from the prayers used at various epochs in blessing them. As in the paschal candle, the wax typifies the virgin flesh of Christ, the cross associated with the lamb suggests the idea of a victim offered in sacrifice, and as the blood of the paschal lamb of old protected each household from the destroying angel, so the purpose of these consecrated medallions is to protect those who wear or possess them from all malign influences. In the prayers of blessing, special mention is made of the perils from storm and pestilence, from fire and flood, and also of the dangers to which women are exposed in childbirth. It was formerly the custom in Rome to accompany the gift of an Agnus Dei with a printed leaflet describing its many virtues. Miraculous effects have been believed to follow the use of these objects of piety. Fires are said to have been extinguished, and floods stayed.

Agnus Deis have not been produced since the Pontificate of Blessed John XXIII (1958 - 1963)

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