People misunderstand why I like giving flowers to Jesus’ good mom, the Immaculate Conception. This particular flower can act as a kind of entrance way into the reality of it by way of the seemingly surreal, a kind of narnianesque or twilight-zone portal, but not into unreality, but to the fullness of life.
Take a look at the very center and keep staring at it. Notice the optical illusion trick that our Lord plays with geometry for you? God is ultimate mathematician. Better done than our meager efforts at optical illusions. It also has to do with six-sided shapes, making the bees feel right at home.
The gargantuan, monstrous backdrop of flowers for the Immaculate Conception is the dark chaos that we’ve made of this world with all the stomping on others, all the arrogant sin, having it over on someone else, in a word, great suffering all around. But whatever level of agonizing to which we’ve arrived – if we have allowed ourselves to notice any suffering amidst our escapism – it is Mary precisely because she is the Immaculate Conception, who has seen it all, taken in all in, who has made the entirety of the suffering of the world her own. When one sees, say, a flower, created by her dear Son, one rushes to give it to her. The two worlds – (1) hell on earth, (2) dearest mother Mary – go together because of her maternal love to be in solidarity with her Son.
After attending Handel’s Messiah done in its entirety with Saint Pope John Paul II in attendance, I mentioned to the Cardinal who invited me way back in the day that throughout the concert in the Paul VI Audience Hall I was thinking of Cité Soleil in Haiti, of the bishops and priests faithful to Rome being tortured in Chinese labor, reeducation and prison camps, of wars and refugees and the Holocaust, of forced prostitution and human trafficking, of… And he interrupted me saying that I should not, must not think of such things, but rather of the beauty of the music. But the entire production was precisely about such things and the glory of God walking with us through the hell so as to bring us to heaven. He was, of course, silenced. The glory of God is seen when Jesus breaths His last on the Cross, making the wounds still present at the Resurrection majestic.
I give flowers to Mary Immaculate because I have my face in all the hell, as much as I can take. And she’s seen it all. I run away. I wish I wasn’t so lacking in generosity. I wish I would stop trusting in myself. I wish I would stop wishing, thrust that trusting in myself aside, and fully trust in Jesus, Mary’s good Son. So, a flower for you, Mary. You saw all the hell in me, and you didn’t run away. You beheld my evil cast upon your Son on the Cross, and you interceded for me. A flower for you, Mary. Thank you.