So, as I was about to pick flowers for the Immaculate Conception, danger presented itself, adrenaline began to flow, and my field of vision blurred out except for the danger.
Look closely below the buds in the picture above. What do you see? OUCH! I think I’ll just stick with pictures instead of getting stuck with those thorns. Should I instead be equipped in future with garden shears and leather gloves, maybe I’ll make an adventure of it, vase and all. Meanwhile, I might want instead to look for a dent-de-lion:
And I think our Lady is good with that.
She’ll even let little Jesus accept them for her.
I know, I know. A Saint Francis or a Saint Benedict might well throw themselves into thorn bushes to encourage their humility because they will protest at such mortification, even whilst rejoicing that Christ’s grace is stronger than our weakness, strong enough to get us weak human beings to heaven.
The problem is, I think I’m getting weaker, or is more prudent as time goes on?
In the many years I was writing about the Immaculate Conception in Genesis 3:15 in the back rooms and darkened stacks of the library of the Pontifical Biblical Institute using every possible second of opening hours, there was some down time on non-library days (such as Sunday afternoons) during which I took off on my bicycle (so many epic stories) chasing out on the highways from Rome to the top of the volcanic ridges towering above Lago Albano.
Locking up the bike down the way from Le Fratte Ignoranti, walking along il Sentiero del Diavolo, I would, of a sudden, go into full parkour mode straight down the heavily forested volcano, negotiating the many minor cliffs using tree branches and trunks of trees, dropping down from them. This was the perfect distraction, exhausting, adrenaline filled, no distractions to this distraction possible. That was especially true toward the very bottom of the volcanic crater. There was a thicket of thorn bushes spreading along the length of that side of the volcano, and some twelve feet high, impassible. And no way back up.
But I would find a spot where the canopy of thorns was low enough and entirely strong enough to get on top of and roll over to the far side on top of that canopy (stopping to break thorns off my shirt), maybe some thirty feet, where I would drop down in front of another thicket. But if there’s a canopy, there’s an under-the-canopy. Sure enough. Periodically, there were fairly large animal trails underneath, bringing me to the trail along the perimeter of the lake, il Sentiero lago Albano. Then it was time for a swim. Cold! Mind you, this was not a mortification exercise like a Saint Francis or Saint Benedict. No. Just good fun.
The swim being a bit more relaxing, heart and mind and soul would be flooded with a solution to whatever impossibility I had encountered with whatever historical philology metamorphosis had occurred across the millennia as signaled in and outside of the ancient biblical manuscripts. Time to swim to shore to write some notes, then perhaps make my way to the Scotts College caves, just to say I did it, and then get back to my bicycle for an extremely fast, no-peddle trip all the way back to Rome.
I wasn’t afraid of the thorns then. Why now?
Mary was never afraid of the thorns:
Perhaps those thorns of my past life, assisting epistemological acuity in wrapping my mind around ancient texts on the Immaculate Conception, are enough thorns for a lifetime? But that sounds like complacency. But I’ll just say that those rose buds, then roses, growing right next to our Lady right now out front of the rectory are really excellent situated right where they are now. Yes, that’s it.
Flowers with thorns for you, Mary. :-)