Have you ever noticed that I tend to accompany some of my more outrageous posts about my “Shadow” or about target practice or about meeting up with terrorists right around the world during my own weird sojourn on this earth with posts giving flowers to the Immaculate Conception? Might it be that I protesteth too much? Might it be that this is a way to make it all better? After all, how sweet, how innocent is that? Surely I’m a nice priest after all!
Actually, it’s the other way around. The more outrageous posts are accompanied (to use that word[!]) by posts on giving flowers to the Immaculate Conception so as to be honest about being a bit of a hack, a bit of a hick, a bit of a redneck, a bumpkin, a yokel, yahoo, hayseed, even a knucklehead and, of all things, a donkey (in its more familiar appellative). I can’t think of anything more appropriate for such a tumbleweed as myself than to give flowers to Jesus’ mom and ours.
For example, and I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I have an altogether different imagination of the scene unfolding at the Annunciation to Mary by Saint Gabriel that she is to be the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God. The name “Gabriel” means something like “The ultra-war-hero-of-God.” The Mother of the Redeemer in Genesis 3:15 (with, of course, her Son, the Redeemer) is set apart as the Warrior against Satan: “I will put enmity between you, Satan, and The Woman…” and only then does the text say “and between your seed (of Satan) and the Seed of the Woman” (and that would be the Redeemer, Jesus). So, it’s most appropriate that “The ultra-war-hero-of-God,” Saint Gabriel, is sent to Mary to make the announcement. What I imagine is that he presents himself to her fresh from battle, all blood and guts and armaments, as it were, filled with adrenaline, so to speak, from the fight with the ancient dragon, Satan, but ever so respectfully taking a knee before her and the Sacred Mysteries of the Incarnation of the Divine Son of God that is to take place before him, and ever so gently, ever so joyfully proclaiming his message to her that was given to him by God the Most High.
Should I, then, make brave to offer a little flower to Jesus’ good mom, it is done in view of this epic battle being waged on my behalf, totally unworthy as I am, totally unworthy as we all are, the war being waged with the strength of the freely given love of God for us. I have been the warrior against her Son. But He’s laid down His life for me. In other words, the flowers are given in trepidation, yes, but also in hope and therefore also in joy. Look, there she is, with anyone passing by the way knowing that there is no sorrow like her sorrow:
Can you imagine holding up a little flower to give to her? Kind of puts it in perspective, doesn’t it? The flower gets speckled with blood. Apart from Jesus, I’m not a nice priest. I’ve crucified the Son of the Living God and the Son of Mary with sin, original sin and whatever of my own rubbish.
The flower is a “Hail Mary…” of the Rosary (named after a flower for the Immaculate Conception, the rose), prayed while we are thankful for the grace of redemption, for the grace held out for our salvation. Hail Mary…