Flores for the Immaculate Conception (Mother of the Entire Living One ed.)

flores showy lady slipper

On the usual rounds on my “day off” yesterday, I visited the home-bound and picked up some statues of Saint Joseph and a Guardian angel for one of my parishioners on the Communion call list and for a priest across the mountains. I was also up to the hermitage, which is situated in perhaps one of the most diversified official rain forests in the world. I always thought the mountain should be a world heritage site. Anyway, as I expected, there are hundreds of cypripedia orchids (showy lady slippers) in all their glory right around the hermitage, with some features seeming to be quite unique to the mountain here with the ultra-acidic and terribly poor soil. This one looks to have a guest, some sort of megachile lagopoda (leaf cutter bee), which pollinates the plants. Here’s looking in one direction (with some blooms coming out of their two-leaf bases)…

flores showy lady slipper 3

And here’s looking in another direction in the forest…

flores showy lady slipper 2

There are perhaps fifty times the plants that have not yet shot up their flowers but soon will. They are definitely on the march, these lady slippers. It’s almost as if the very forest put these forth as if to say: Put these on to protect your feet from the rough forest floor, Mary!

mary stomping on serpent

This was the statue of Mary stomping on the serpent that was in the parish church of Lourdes at the time of Saint Bernadette and the apparitions.

Meanwhile, she is almost always imaged with bare feet when she is depicted as crushing the ancient serpent, perhaps to show her willingness to be made vulnerable just as her Son made Himself vulnerable when He took the initiative to reach out His heel to crush the power of Satan on the head. And it is Jesus who does this, but that is another long story of textual criticism. A few things:

(1) The idea is that when the heel is coming down on Satan, Satan flips about and opens wide his mouth with the deadly fangs, the heel crushing the head right through the mouth, but with Satan at the same time crushing the Redeemer on the heel, sinking his fangs deep. Just as the power of Satan is now crushed (unless we ourselves follow after it), just so is the power of the earthly human nature of Jesus crushed for our sake, He standing in our stead, taking on what we deserve. The Son of the Mother of the Redeemer rises from the dead, and Satan is forever frustrated.

(2) Some few of the Church Fathers changed the pronoun in Genesis 3:15 in their commentaries rendering it feminine, not to say that Mary is the Redeemer, but rather as one who is the preeminent member of the Body of Christ. As it is, we do what she does if we are with her Seed, as Genesis 3:15 puts it in reference to the Mystical Body of the Redeemer, her Divine Son, who is the Head of His mystical body: when He lays down His life for us, He lays down our lives with His, and this throughout the centuries, so that we might die to ourselves to live for Him. Perhaps this is all why the Immaculate Conception in Lourdes appeared with bare feet, and not Showy Lady Slippers. Perhaps in heaven. And yet, she did appear with two roses on top of her feet in Lourdes. Anyway, because this is all done throughout the centuries, from Adam until the last man is conceived, we need good vocations to the priesthood.

(3) The technical name of the Showy Lady Slipper refers to the slippers of the Greek fertility goddess Aphrodite. This is quite appropriate, for Mary is superabundantly the Mother of Life, the Mother of God, the “Mother of the Entire Living One”,  that is, of Jesus and His entire mystical body. That’s the only possible translation of “Eve” or “Havah”, which Adam tried stupidly (after original sin by the way) to call his own wife, only to be punished further in a pedagogical manner about the redemption by YHWH Elohim. This name cannot refer to the wife of Adam, for she is merely mother of all the dead ones, whereas the Mother of the Redeemer is indeed the Mother of the Entire Living One by way of giving to the light of day the One who crushes the ancient serpent on the head.

When Jesus comes to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, there will be many who will judge with Him, that is, those other members of His mystical body, preeminent among them being, of course, the Immaculate Conception, the Mother of the Entire Living One.

A Hail Mary, then, for vocations to the priesthood, as we need as many in heaven as possible: Hail Mary…


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