Easter Flowers and Blessed Mary
As a native of Southern California, I am happily accustomed to 280 days of sunshine a year. Even when it’s not sunny, it’s usually very pleasant. I am also accustomed to living in a constant state of drought and seeing brown, dried-out hills. But something different, something new happened this year: rain, and a lot of it. The rains painted and transformed our brown hills into every shade of Irish green, a sight rarely seen.
The season of Lent, now long forgotten, was rain for the soul. As the California winter replaced our shining sun with the dark clouds of rain, the liturgical season of Lent, like a spiritual winter, watered our soul with grace through prayer, fasting, and alms-giving. The effect and transformation in us is as obvious and beautiful as the once-brown hills turned Irish green. But that’s not the end of it.
April flowers…May flowers. Having been mesmerized by the green hills, it was easy to forget that something even more beautiful and miraculous was happening below the green surface: new life. Now, the flowers have resurrected from earth and stand tall in the warm sun. As Catholics, we too stood tall on Easter to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ who watered the heavens and earth with the blood and water which flowed from his sacred side.
As April showers have brought about May flowers, the “flowers” of Jesus’ resurrection can be clearly seen in our Catholic churches this month as infants are baptized, children receive their first Holy Communion and young people are strengthened by the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of Confirmation. These sacraments – all sacraments – are the fruit of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. After all, the tree on which Christ was crucified was not a tree of death but a tree of life. But that’s not the end of it.
On June 4, we will reap yet another gift from our good God, the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Pentecost is the birthday of the Church when we are offered a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit who renews the face of the earth. On Pentecost, our Mother, the Church, will once again bestow new life on her children through the sacrament of Confirmation.
Mary and the month of May are as inseparable as rain and spring flowers. As Catholics and, in particular, a Legatus family, let’s draw ever closer to Mary the mother of God and our mother. There is no better ambassador of Christ than Mary. As members of Legatus, we are dedicated to being ambassadors of Christ in the workplace and everyplace. I assure you, there is no greater guide to living out our mission than drawing close to Mary.
For that reason, every Legatus meeting begins with the rosary. While we are blessed to have incredible speakers at our meetings, when we pray the rosary, Mary becomes our speaker as she walks us through the life of her son so that we might imitate the mysteries we contemplate. Praying the rosary is also the perfect prelude and preparation for Mass as Mary leads us to the sacrifice of the Mass which we celebrate at every gathering.
Let’s take time to smell the Easter flowers by celebrating the sacraments of the Church with renewed love and devotion. As April rains have brought May flowers, may Mary bring us closer to Jesus.
Mary the dawn, Christ the Perfect Day;
Mary the gate, Christ the Heavenly Way!
Mary the root, Christ the Mystic Vine;
Mary the grape, Christ the Sacred Wine!
Mary the wheat, Christ the Living Bread;
Mary the rose tree, Christ the Rose blood-red!
Mary the font, Christ the Cleansing Flood;
Mary the cup, Christ the Saving Blood!
Mary the temple, Christ the temple’s Lord;
Mary the shrine, Christ the God adored!
Mary the beacon, Christ the Haven’s Rest;
Mary the mirror, Christ the Vision Blest!
Mary the mother, Christ the mother’s Son
By all things blest while endless ages run.
Amen. -Father Justin Mulcahy, C.P., (1894-1981)
FATHER BRENDAN MANSON is Pastor of St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church, Dana Point, CA.