Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (“working” on virtues, edition)

While technically these red bits may not be flowers, exactly, precisely… still… this is a bit of exterior bark that could be chipped off and put with other things to give to Jesus’ good mom. Creation is by definition thinking outside the box, you know, there being no box to begin with. So, why be limited by definitions of beauty when the freedom of the children of God in such things should rule the day. Mary might roll her eyes at such efforts, but – hey! – getting Mary to roll her eyes and perhaps laugh a bit is good.

I saw these almost microscopically tiny “flowers” yesterday, driving in the car after having been at the hermitage, when, after doing some priest stuff on the “Day Off”, and more priest stuff, and more priest stuff, I eventually wound up there to do up…

  • the FBI “agent” tactical pistol course (getting a bit better at distance pistol shooting)
  • the pre-2001 Federal Air Marshal tactical pistol course (sharpening some of the stages)
  • the “failure drill” (slower than usual, but more accurate)

The advice of an Army / CIA friend has stuck with me: “Aim small = shoot small.” For the FAM course I put out Styrofoam pie plates on “pig-tail” wires, many times smaller than the standard target size.

Working on that “virtue” of aiming small, if you will, helped me to examine the forest with laser eyes to find the even much tinier flowers for the Immaculate Conception in the cold and gray dreary dead of winter mountain-top forest. I mean, a good hundred of those “flowers” could fit in just one bullet hole.

Virtues work together. Sharpen one, the others are sharpened with it. There’s a nexus of virtues. The driving force of virtue isn’t us so much “working” on anything like some sort of self-saving Pelagian as it is being awed by the wounds of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so much so that we are indignant at being unvirtuous in whatever way.

It is the mistake of many to “work” on just one thing before moving on to another.

  • “I’ll ‘work’ on stopping beating my wife and then, after that, I’ll ‘work’ on not drinking myself into a rage.” It doesn’t work that way. It’s both or neither.
  • “I’ll ‘work’ on my prayer life, and then, after that, I’ll ‘work’ on loving my neighbor too.” No. It doesn’t work that way. It’s both or neither.

And it’s not so much us “working” on anything as it is Jesus, when lifted up on the Cross, drawing all to Himself. Jesus, who is God, who is love, who is truth, is the driving force behind whatever virtue we have. And with Jesus, if one virtue of “ours” is lifted up, all of “our” virtue is lifted up.

Hmmm… How to say it? Maybe a picture would get the idea across. Our Lord would have us be virtuous in, say, lifting a hand in praise of Him, but He is really lifting up all virtues, our whole persons…

And, yes, it’s a virtue to give flowers to Jesus’ good mom. I think He did it all the time whilst He walked this earth. I think He continues to do it all the time in heaven as well. If Jesus draws you up to give a flower to His good mom, go along with it. It will help you out in all sorts of ways. Jesus is like that.

And don’t worry how small the virtues are. Don’t worry how small the flowers are. Or even if they are flowers, technically. ;-)

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (“working” on virtues, edition)

  1. Aussie Mum

    When I was a child at Our Lady of Fatima School in suburban Sydney we had a statue of our Blessed Mother on a pedestal in every classroom. We children used to bring flowers for her from home and arranged them in vases around the base of her statue. It seemed the natural thing to do and was encouraged by the nuns (Sisters of Mercy). The flower stems were often short, the right length for small hands (so Sister provided small vases) and were not what one would call artistically arranged (stems got longer and flowers better arranged as we grew) but Sister approved and therefore we thought that Our Lady would also be pleased.
    The Sisters were good teachers in those days, not yet “liberated” from their habits and side-tracked into trendy social justice work. Most were virtuous men and women who passed on the faith they lived. Those who lost the faith lost their virtue and did harm but fortunately most of us never ran into such persons because there weren’t many of them.

  2. sanfelipe007

    I attended an elementary school, here in the U.S., also named Our Lady of Fatima. Administrated by nuns, it was a tightly run ship. I was a precocious little boy given to much mischief.
    On a typical occasion, my poor eacher in, first grade, decided to send me with a note (by myself!) to the Principal, Sister Georgiana, for discipline. When I did not show up (what were they expecting?), Sister found me happily playing in a packing box which was located on the stage, in the school gymnasium.
    I remember being in the packing box, a series of knocks on the top, and I cunningly (!) froze in silence. The sound of my name, and I knew I had been discovered. I do not remember anything else.

    • Aussie Mum

      I think Sister was likely smiling inside when she found you even though she had to be outwardly firm. Precocious little boys given to much mischief are really very loveable because of their overall innocence. I have been told that the Sisters were especially fond of the little boys they taught because they lost them so early. In those days here boys and girls made their First Holy Communion together in 2nd Class (called Year 2 now) and didn’t come back the following year, having moved on to the Brothers’ school for the rest of their education.

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