Celebrate the most magnificent flower of God’s garden
Uniquely, flowers are one of the few things that have no real utility. We grow flowers simply for the sake of beauty and delight.
Many flowers are associated with Our Lady and are connected to her life in some way. Rooted in Canticle of Canticles, she is connected to the Rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley. Cardinal Henry Newman pointed out that the rose is the most beautiful of all the flowers. In the eyes of God, Our Lady remains the most beautiful human being who has ever existed or will exist.
Every May we honor that most splendid member of our race, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Indeed how appropriate that as nature’s beauty shines brilliantly this month as trees blossom and flowers bloom, we honor the most beautiful flower in God’s garden.
We point to this reality when we crown her statues with flowers and celebrate her feast days. After Mass one day, a gentleman insisted that we make too much about Mary, which takes away from the worship we owe God. He was reminded by this priest of the maxim, “De Maria numquam satis.” That is, “Concerning Mary nothing is sufficient.” Sadly, he was not convinced because he had attended classes at a local “Christian” college. Truly, Mary’s role in salvation history and her participation in the redemption of mankind is of such magnitude we can neither fully comprehend nor explain this great mystery anymore that we can the Blessed Trinity.
A rejection of the Mother of God is a rejection of Our Lord. This incident cautions us regarding the importance of preserving children from being exposed to false doctrines, especially when they are portrayed in innocuous terms such as ecumenical, nondenominational, or Christian events. Also, Catholics need to make an effort to know what the Church teaches and why, to inoculate themselves against being led astray.
Love of the Blessed Virgin Mary can only emanate from an orthodox Catholic heart. Catholics, even barely practicing ones, bear her affection and love albeit in varying degrees of intensity. This seemingly distant figure, the Mother of God and the majestic Queen of heaven and earth, immaculately conceived, sinless and perfect, becomes so real to her devotees that she inevitably draws them closer to her Son, Jesus Christ. She stands out among the human race showing clearly that this Trinitarian God loves mankind with a fierce love. Love of Our Lady manifests itself in nearly every place where the Faith exists through all the manifold expressions of piety by the faithful. Loving the masterpiece of God impels us to love the author of the masterpiece even more.
St. Anselm tells us that wherever there is the greatest purity there is also the greatest charity. The more pure the heart and empty of itself, the greater is its fullness of love toward God. If we may extend the flower analogy further, flowers cannot live without light and water. Our Lady lived in the light of God’s grace. As a result, the life of grace blossomed and multiplied in her soul. She emptied herself, allowing the heavenly dew of God’s grace to water the garden of her soul. He dilated and expanded the capacity of the Virgin to love with a Christ-like love, a self-sacrificial love.
Happily, Our Lord will do the same for us. If we seek after our divinely given vocation and strive to live in the light of God’s grace, we can expect the greatest happiness allotted to man in this vale of tears, and afterward a happy repose in the arms of Christ joining the angels and saints as one of the many beautiful flowers in God’s garden.
Tis the month of our Mother… bring flowers of purity, meekness, patience and love; they are garlands unfading, the blossoms which open above.
How dull our lives would be without our Queen of the May!
FATHER HAROLD MCKALE, a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, is parochial vicar to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish (Doylestown, PA) and works with the Philadelphia Latin Mass community. He hold a B.S. in business from Millersville University, and M.Div. and M.A. from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary (Philadelphia).