Originally scheduled for March 22
Sit up straight children, and consider today’s
example: it is an
advertisement for a product which is currently available on the
Internet. The text of the advertisement is rather brief, and reads
Exorcised salt inside.
Certificate of Authenticity papers. Touched to 1st class
relic of True Cross.
Backed up by perpetual prayers.
indulgence to those who will "kiss, hold, venerate" with faith and
unconditional indulgence at moment of death.
Until I read this advertisement, I had no idea
that salt could be exorcised. As you no doubt suspected, this is
sold by an agency of the Roman Catholic Church. You may be smiling
at the example of a religious trinket that is given here, but please
do remember that it is not the Roman Catholic Church which
distributes these things exclusively. Many charismatic Christians
are aware of offers to ship you “Holy Anointing Oil” for a minimum
contribution. There is a long tradition of this sort of thing; one
of the first radio preachers use to offer his listeners the chance
(for a minimum contribution) to obtain a “bright religious green
prayer cloth.” The idea was that you put this cloth on top of your
radio and whatever you put on top of the cloth would somehow be
Of course, most of us at one time or another
have purchased something because it was a Christian thing to do. I
suspect that many homes contain calendars which have a verse of the
day, for example. These things don’t claim to have spiritual value
other than to point you to the real thing. May I suggest there are a
couple of questions that you want to ask before you purchase such an
Does the trinket claim actual
spiritual power, or just a reminder of who really does have that
Who created the first such trinket?
Is this something that goes back to the early church, or was it
For what purpose was it created? Is
this someone’s way of making money?
It is good to note that our Lord himself
instituted only two rituals. These two rituals relate to his prime
purpose: to seek and save the lost. I have never encountered an
instance of anyone charging money for either of these two. The
first, of course, is baptism — which in a sense is the start of
salvation. Communion is the continuance of salvation. It is of value
to us because it reminds us that we are sinners saved by grace. It
is his blood and body on the cross that has purchased our salvation.
We need to be reminded of that; so our Lord has implemented a simple
ritual which will remind us of that. Simplicity carries with it the
virtue that it lets us see the real core truth. Behold the man upon
the cross; by his wounds we are healed.