Category Archives: Flores

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (“taking the leap” edition)

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Outside the church in Andrews today there is a lone flower among the rocks that was not planted there by any human being. There are some of the same nearby, in planters, but, this is like jumping out of the boundaries, “taking the leap” as one existentialist guy said.

Saint Paul speaks much about freedom from the law, not to break the law, but being consistent with the intent and letter of the law not by constraint, but because of new-found integrity and honesty, the freedom of choosing – in grace – all that which is holy, respectful, good and kind, the freedom to shed political correctness, the freedom to do what one is called to do by God with purity of heart and agility of soul, the freedom to act with the fullness of a life into which we are drawn in Christ Jesus, by Christ Jesus.

The Way of the Truth and Life may look terribly lonely, terribly rocky, terribly difficult, but then, once having “taken the leap” in a way that no dark existentialisticness could ever comprehend, we flourish on that Way, laughing in the face of any “difficulty.”

Mary had no one in whom to learn from except her own Son. Those three days during which He was… was… gone… How very, very, very lonely. Devastating. When her Son jumped down from the Cross straight into hell in order to preach to the fallen spirits for their eternal frustration and anguish as just deserts for their sin, she, Mary, in solidarity, was with Him in spirit, but ever so alone. John? Good John, who came back and stood with her on Calvary… still… what could he possibly know. Really, he could know nothing of what she was going through, though she never looked at that, but rather was following her Son as best she could in spirit.

No one before or since, of course, then flourished as she did. She grew in that love which is stronger than death, as strong as eternal life.

“I am making all things new,” He said.

“Thank you, my dear Son,” she said.

So, a flower for you, Mary.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Sincerity ≠ Justification edition)

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Last Summer, a dear reader who is way too good to me had me take a picture of one of her large flowering plants, saying that it would be good as one of the “Flowers for the Immaculate Conception” editions.

“But it’s a tall plant with seven-fold fingery green leaves that look like marijuana!” I objected.

“It’s not marijuana!” she said.

“But, but…” I objected.

“Grrrr…” she said.

So I put it up:

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What do I know about marijuana? Nothing. Would my guardian angel smack me down for giving marijuana to Mary? I put it up. No one knew the name of this plant. Such a risk! But then, recently (though now well past my birthday) this wonderful reader gave me the card pictured above with this message inside:

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Haha! A CLEOME! NOT marijuana. I’m happy to have given that flower to the Immaculate Conception. But what if it had been marijuana, would my sincere gift have been rejected by Mary. No. Not in this case. Because it’s neither here nor there as regards morality. It’s merely the intention that counts in this case.

But a question arises: Does sincerity equal justification in all cases?

This is a question which came up in class from a young seminarian classmate of young seminarian Joseph Ratzinger. His fellow student asked whether or not Hitler could go to heaven justified by his at least self-perceived sincerity to assist humanity in having a “final solution” for “purifying the race.” Young Joseph was appalled and sickened by the question, and says that that was when he instantly understood with the clarity of a lightning bolt that sincerity doesn’t justify, an erroneous conscience doesn’t justify, feelings and emotions do not justify. Only the sanctifying grace provided to us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ justifies, coming to us, as it does, with supernaturally provided faith, hope and charity. We are not our own saviors by way of our own self-congratulation.

When I read: “It’s a CLEOME!” I laughed out loud for happiness that it wasn’t marijuana that I gave to Mary. The prayer of this reader is that of Mary herself for all of us:

“May Our Lord Jesus Christ bless you and keep you in His loving arms.”

Hitler will never come to know that his monstrousness was, after all, something good. No.

  • You can have a mistaken conscience and still go straight to hell. And, on this point, there is such a thing as purposed ignorance. The hell of that ignorance is not bliss.
  • You can have all the sincerity in your own eyes you want and still go straight to hell where all the wax filling in the holes of conscience will melt and reveal the ugliness that is there. [“Sincere” means “without wax”, that is, because something (say, restored furniture) doesn’t need to fake that it’s perfect because it already is perfect, without blemish, and therefore without wax: it’s “sincere.”].
  • You can have all the self-pleasing feelings and emotions you want and still go straight to hell. Did you know that feeling and emotions are fallen with the rest of our human nature? Ever once notice that? They don’t follow reason after original sin. It’s takes only the slightest bit of humility and reality to take note of that.

Speaking of humility, which is provided to us with God’s love, is that which will enable one to avoid that kind of self-congratulation which would have us claim that we’re justified by ignorance, by an erroneous conscience. Saint Paul says that we have God’s law written in our hearts, that which is called the Natural Law, that which is written into our nature by our Creator. Example: Thou shalt not murder the innocent. We can’t claim ignorance. We know that. It’s arrogance, a lust for power over God which would have one claim that murdering the innocent is just fine and dandy in all of one’s sincerity. It doesn’t work that way.

So, this flower is once again given to the Immaculate Conception, Jesus’ good mom. She saw, with horror, all of our own self-justification, our ignoring of her Son even while He redeemed us on the Cross, tortured to death, taking our place, the Innocent for the guilty. “It’s better that one man die than that a whole nation perish” shouted the High Priest Caiaphas. And so did we all. And Mary saw it all…. A flower for you, Mary. Thank you for being in solidarity with your Son right to the end. Thank you for being a mother to us in your solidarity with your Son’s purpose of justifiying us with His love, His forgiveness, His goodness and kindness, His Truth.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (purple times five edition)

The Lenten color and the five petals remind me, during Lent, of the five wounds of our Lord. I suppose there are all sorts of explanations throughout the history of the Church for the color purple. Just my own hypothesis as brought to mind by the accounts in Sacred Scripture about the Passion and Death of Jesus, but it seems to me that purple refers to the purple worn by such as kings back in the time of our Lord, when the purple die was extremely expensive and was affordable only such as kings (like Herod). Herod clothed Jesus in a purple royal garment and sent Jesus back to Pilate. This was done to mock Jesus. Putting our faces in the purple color should bring us to our knees in repentance for our sin. It is to remind us that our sins mock Jesus. But Jesus is King of kings, Lord of lords, Prince of the Most Profound Peace. His good mom, Immaculate Mary, witnessed all this mockery, all this torture, right up to the five wounds of His crucifixion. A Lenten flower for you, dearest mother. Ave Maria…

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Amaryllis edition)

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In full bloom for the beginning of Lent in front of the statue of the Sacred Heard in the front window of Prince of Peace Catholic Mission in Robbinsville. That’s appropriate. It seem that the bulbs are rather bitter, which may have helped give rise to the name Amaryllis.

The Immaculate Conception, Mary, in Hebrew Miryam means Bitter Sea. That’s what she was when standing next to the Heart of her Son as He died tortured to death on the Cross. So, a flower for the Immaculate Conception.

The very immaculateness of Jesus’ good mom, her purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of vision, enabled her to see our need clearly written out in the wounds on her Son. She understood our need – in bitter sorrow – perfectly, and could intercede with her Son for us, thus being in solidarity with the purpose of her Son in redeeming us, in standing in our place, the Innocent for the guilty. So, Mary, mediatrix of all graces, co-redemptrix in the sense that as Jesus provided for us in His own justice redemption, she asked for all of that from Him for us, also entirely appropriate in all justice.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Le cerisier of “The Angelus” edition)

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This cherry tree was spotted going up to Holy Souls Hermitage. The path going up the mountain becomes rather steep.

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In a couple of hundred yards from this point my guardian angel always but always but always reminds me to say the Angelus for the Bishop and the priests of the diocese. And then again on the way back down. It is what it is. I’m happy to comply. It is inescapable. Perhaps you could join me also for the priests and bishops of your dioceses:

  • The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

  • Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.

Hail Mary . . .

  • And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary . . .

  • Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray: Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.


It’s a custom to say the Angelus morning, noon and night. One might still hear the church bells announcing the Angelus at 6:00AM, Noon, and 6:00PM daily in many large cities of the world. It’s quite a joy to hear all the bell towers ringing out the Angelus.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (The flowers are ashen Part 2 edition)

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Above: the “Before” Ash Wednesday picture next door to the rectory.

Below: the “After” Ash Wednesday picture next door to the rectory. Same tree.

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However, the Lord’s admonition is that we are to be of bright and cheerful face! ;-)

But what if I feel like the tree in the “After” picture? … … …

Hah! Even then I know the Immaculate Conception has all the while and continues to intercede also for me perfectly. So, flowers for her! (Um… like the ones “Before” even if we feel like the flowers “After”.)

Perhaps you thought I might not make this a verbatim post though with a different tree from “Part 1”. No. The reason is that people can continue to feel like the “After” picture and need an extra bit of encouragement. We’re in this together, for Jesus and Mary: Hail Mary…

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (The flowers are ashen Part 1 edition)

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Above: the “Before” Ash Wednesday picture next door to the rectory.

Below: the “After” Ash Wednesday picture next door to the rectory. Same tree.

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However, the Lord’s admonition is that we are to be of bright and cheerful face! ;-)

But what if I feel like the tree in the “After” picture? … … …

Hah! Even then I know the Immaculate Conception has all the while and continues to intercede also for me perfectly. So, flowers for her! (Um… like the ones “Before” even if we feel like the flowers “After”.)

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (New phone surprising red edition)

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Wow. Blood red. With detail. That‘s been quite impossible up to now, with anything red just becoming a blur. That opens up a whole new world of flowers for the Immaculate Conception. Good thing, that.

Mary foot of the cross

You have to know what it was like to take a pilgrimage to Jerusalem during the high holy days. The temple was there, and it was fully functioning. The sweetly nauseating smell of rivers of blood from the sacrifices would have been everywhere, all the time, inescapably. Mix that with the gritty smoke of the conflagrations sending up the sacrifices in flames, and one would be left ashen.

And then there’s the red which comes from The Sacrifice of the Son of the Living God laying down His life for us, the Innocent for the guilty. The Immaculate Conception knew all about it. A red flower for you, Mary.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (heralding the coming season edition)

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Forsythias are the first bush flowers to come out in the coldest time of the year. If any honey bees make it out of the hive on a warmer day and encounters these, it’s surely a special treat.

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I see these all over the mountains in Western North Carolina, but I haven’t seen them in super abundance except in the mountains in Italy, and there, always with the big white oxen grazing next to them, making their milk used for mozarella, the real kind, all milky. You don’t need olive oil or salt, but the tomatoes and basil go well. I wonder if the Holy Family could ever even once afford such good things in life. I’m thinking not.

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But at least we can give some of the flowers to the Immaculate Conception, right?

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Giving her flowers at the Cross, ed.)

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The men of the parish on their knees before Jesus, with flowers given to Jesus’ good mom, who stood under the Cross.

As the world rages, this is the most practical thing we can do. Get on our knees and give flowers to the Immaculate Conception.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Double dare you! No! edition)

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I could get closer to this field of flowers which, even in their location, are for Immaculate Conception. But I won’t. She’s brave. She can go anywhere at any time no matter who is there. After braving the likes a Herod near Bethlehem. After braving exile in Egypt. After braving the attacks on her Son during His public ministry. After she stood at the Cross on Calvary when the Apostles ran away. She’s brave. I’m not. I admit it.

I can just hear my guardian angel: “Go ahead! I double dare you! Get closer!” And my cowardly answer is simply: “No!” But no matter how far away I may remain from rather dangerously located flowers (I’ll let that remain a mystery), she’s already there.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (February Lent prepper edition)

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The earliest possible date for Ash Wednesday (extremely rare) is February 4. But it’s quite common to begin Lent by mid-late February. These guys, right up the street from the rectory, seem to sprout up just in time for the beginning of Lent each year, but this time, they’re waaaaay toooo early. Ash Wednesday 2019 isn’t until March 6. But it’s good to see that nature is always at the ready to honor the Immaculate Conception. No one has ever done up a better preparation for Easter than the Immaculate Conception. She knew what had to come first with her Son making all things new, what would have to happen during what we now call the Sacred Triduum lasting from the Last Supper until the Easter Vigil. She carried that. So, for you, dearest Mary, from your Son, Creator of all things, visible and invisible.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (On the hunt! Gravitas edition)

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It’s been rather cold. It’s warm right now. Whatever it is that’s pictured above doesn’t seem to care, as it hasn’t changed one bit through it all, stably shining away just outside the church on the Guadalupe (i.e., Epistle) side of the church. Is it a flower? A vegetable? Some kind of carnation? Orchid? For all the flowers I collect for the Immaculate Conception, I continue to know nothing about flowers. I’m just happy to be on the hunt and collect whatever might seem to be utilized for rendering honor to whom honor is due (which is the definition of piety, by the way, a part of the virtue of justice).

Anxious, however, that I’ve been remiss, more hunting further afield is necessary. Ah! Here’s one, ultra super tiny. One needs good eyes for the hunt:

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Of course, once on the hunt, if that has been even a little bit successful, one stays on the hunt until more is to be found:

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Faced with this, presentation is paramount. The hunt must intensify. So, while on the most dangerous one-lane gravel road in Western North Carolina, with cliffs to the left and ravines to the right, these were to be seen:

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Brakes were jammed. Transmission was thrown into reverse. Hope was emphasized that I wouldn’t back into anyone while reversing on a blind corner. All was well. Except these are not quite flowers, something, instead, to do with some kind of moss:

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I suppose there’s a technical name for these “flowers” besides “flowers”. I don’t care. It’s the middle of February!

Meanwhile: I’ve been putting up some pretty heavy posts. Mind you, these posts on Flowers for the Immaculate Conception are not meant to be light posts.

The Immaculate Conception is a good mom, and, like all good moms, she has what’s called “gravitas”. She can handle stuff. Flowers are brought to her because she can handle the heavy stuff. It’s a thank you that doesn’t loose sight of the heavy stuff. It puts the heavy stuff in perspective. Flowers for the Immaculate Conception put things into perspective, even the heavy stuff, especially the heavy stuff.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (My favorites edition)

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Yes, that’s the hermitage in the background for those of you with discerning eyes. These flowers are no more, as one of the mountain dwellers (not the neighbors to the hermitage!) has literally gone our of “their” way to destroy them all. Too bad, that. These would come out around August 15, a particular feast day.

Meanwhile, on another feast day in mid-February, say, February 11, these guys are sure sure to make an appearance on the other side of the world in a certain grotto of the Hautes-Pyrénées:

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Meanwhile, sometime during any springtime on Mount Carmel, one is bound to see a zillion yellow flowers, say, around Passover and Holy Week/Easter. I put these up because of a somber occasion the other day, Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is every day as far as I’m concerned, and I’ve been offering lots of Masses for a certain M.G. and a certain A.G.

It’s because of what’s happening in those videos that I put up flowers for the Immaculate Conception…

Which brings us to today out front of the rectory with the Guadalupe Superabundant Rose bush, which is getting itself ready for good times to come, even in the midst of the absolutely frozen temps of these days in these USA:

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (frogmen edition)

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Frogmen were a kind of early version of the Navy SEALs, a “can do” crowd trained up to do anything anywhere under any conditions, water or not. It’s January. It’s waaaay below freezing. Those pictured above are nevertheless prompt to do the necessary in springing up in impossible conditions to do the necessary right outside the church, that is, to honor the good mother of Jesus, the Immaculate Conception, who is *The Warrior* over against the enemy, Satan, as we read in Genesis 3:15. Nature is obedient. We have some difficulties with that. We are instructed by nature. Indeed, “Creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19). By the grace of God we can, despite all our weakness and temptation and darkness also put into action such prompt readiness for all that is good and holy under any and all circumstances.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (popcorn edition)

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These are just outside the house of the neighbor to the hermitage. In January.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (tinier than itsy-bitsy edition)

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Sometimes, situational awareness has one actively hunt down that about which one wants to be aware. Where to get flowers for the Immaculate Conception in January? These are by the hermitage on the North side of a base of a massive tree which gets no direct sunlight, especially during the Winter. I suppose these are not technically flowers, but – Hey! – I think they still do the job, maybe the help of a magnifying glass.

And, yes, this is just the thing to share with the world when the whole world is going to hell. As the monster runs into hell, this is just the kind of thing which trips him up so as to reconsider.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (itsy bitsy edition)

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Tromping across the mud to get these. It makes no difference in the bigger scheme of things, you say? Actually, the bigger scheme of things is for this kind of interaction with the Holy Family. We’ll all believe it the very nano-second we die and enter into whatever kind of eternity we’re going to enter into. And we will do that much sooner than later. And we’ll know that too as soon as it irretrievably happens. No going back. Time for Confession. See that? Pay attention to Jesus’ good mom and she brings us right to Jesus in the most important way possible. :-)

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Christmas born to die edition)

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2018-12-25 · 5:35 am

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (ferocious angel edition)

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The parishioner who made this Flower for the Immaculate Conception was surprised when I said that that’s a really nice flower. “Huh?” she exclaimed with exasperation. “That’s a ferocious guardian angel like you’re always talking about!”

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