Why are you wearing that?

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(Photo credits to Ana Sallurday)

Caption: All jewelry pieces are listed in order as they appear in the article.

Christians have many different reasons why they wear the jewelry that they do. Some want to feel closer to God, others want to have a constant reminder of Him, some want others to know how important God is in their life, or some simply think the ornament is beautiful. 

“I decided to buy my WWJD bracelet so that I could have a daily reminder to act in a way that personifies Jesus and to do everything in love just as He would,” says senior Carly Alexander.

“One of my friends gave me a WWJD bracelet as a gift and that’s why I wear it,” said senior Ayden Gobeli.

However, some Christians don’t know why they wear their jewelry or the story behind it. I have asked several Brashier students about their Christian necklaces and they have responded that they do not know. David Dobrik, a YouTuber with over 18 million subscribers, told an interviewer that he wears a Benedictine bracelet but only because John Stamos gave it to him. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the full story behind the jewelry, especially if the jewelry is not as widely known. 

WWJD

How does someone like Charles Sheldon who was against capitalism accidentally create something that would be on everything from hot air balloons to board games? Sheldon’s story begins with him being a minister in Kansas who used the phrase What Would Jesus Do to end his sermons about morality with a cliffhanger. People came back to his sermons the next Sunday to finish the cliffhanger. Attendance increased rapidly and Sheldon created a book called In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do? After its publication, a mistake in the book’s copyright was found which left his book under the public domain which meant Sheldon probably only made about $10,000 from the book. Janie Tinklenberg was a youth minister who had just read Sheldon’s book and decided to put the slogan on bracelets thinking that it would resonate with her youth group students more. She shortened the phrase to  WWJD so it would fit better on a bracelet and more people would ask about what it means. 

“A lot of people have asked me what WWJD means because they weren’t familiar with the acronym,” said Alexander. 

She began creating more once she saw how popular they were; many other companies also saw her success and began selling the bracelets which eventually meant that she couldn’t get a copyright for the phrase either. 

HWLF

He Would Love First is a more recent bracelet that answers WWJD. It started with a college student doodling the bracelet in class and he snapchatted it to some of his friends. Casey Shultis got his inspiration when he was asked what his WWJD bracelet meant. Casey started thinking about what the answer to the question might be. He ordered about 2,000 bracelets and began selling them. He had made over $450 in four or five hours just by selling them over his Instagram. Casey wants the bracelets to impact both religious people and non-religious people telling them to love themselves and others just as Jesus would do. 

“I have had people ask me about my HWLF bracelet at work! That’s part of the reason why I wear it, so people can ask me about it,” said senior Caroline Roller.

Saint necklaces 

Saints are people who were recognized for their strong faith on Earth and are now believed to be in heaven. To be a saint, one must be dead for at least five years, have two miracles acquired after the saint’s intercession, and must have lived out the faith heroically. It took 19 years for Mother Teresa to become a saint, (and her process was fast-tracked) so you can imagine just how holy a person must be to be recognized as a saint. It is important to note that Catholics do not worship saints. Asking for a saint’s intercession is very similar to asking a friend to pray for you. Once a saint is recognized, they are a patron saint of a hobby or topic. There are saints for everything from geometry to television. Some people feel like their life stories or struggles relate to other saints’ lives which can give them a model of faith to instill inspiration. People wear saint necklaces to show who they look up to in faith. If you are interested in more information about a particular saint, I encourage you to research more information about their life or story.

Benedictine Bracelet

A St. Benedictine bracelet has ten medals stringed together with two alternating patterns of medals. St. Benedict was born in 480 AD. He decided to leave his family and their wealth to become a hermit. Years later, he was confronted by monks to be their leader. Although Benedict warned them that he was a strict teacher, the monks wanted his leadership. However, those feelings changed when the monks tried to poison him. St. Benedict prayed a prayer that can be found on one of the medals of the bracelet, “Begone, Satan, Do not suggest to me thy vanities! Evil are the things thou offerest, Drink thou thy own poison!” and the cup shattered.  On the other medal is the prayer, “The Holy Cross be my light; Let not the dragon (devil) be my guide.” People wear these bracelets because they believe that it will help protect them from the devil and guide them towards Jesus. If you bring this bracelet to a Catholic priest, he will bless it by saying a special prayer that is reserved only for St. Benedictine bracelets. 

Scapular 

The most common type of scapular is the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel which has two small cloth squares connected by a string. Monks received scapulars after they had made their vows to become a monk. Eventually, the townspeople created a smaller version of the scapular to wear. Mary appeared to St. Simon on Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s feast day (the day that she was recognized as a saint). She gave Simeon the scapular telling him to take it and let all the Carmelites wear it as a sign of grace. She said, “ Whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire.” This message is on the back of the necklace. It’s important to note that just wearing this necklace does not secure heaven. Simon was a man of faith and Mary rewarded him for his faith. Likewise, a scapular is worn to show devotion to the faith and trust in God. 

Go out and wear your Christian jewelry proud! When someone asks you more about the jewelry you wear, you will be able to tell them not only the story behind it but also the reasons why you wear it. Oh, and if you ever meet David Dobrik, make sure to tell him about his St. Benedictine Bracelet!