Walsingham pilgrimage

Walsingham, England

In the year 1061 a young widow who was devout and generous, asked God in prayer how she could honor Him with her wealth. The answer came in the form of a dream that she had three times. In the dream, the Virgin Mary took the wealthy noblewoman, Richeldis de Faverches, to Nazareth to the site of the Holy House where Mary conceived Jesus. Our Lady instilled in Richeldis the importance of devotion to commemorate the great event of the Annunciation when the Angel Gabriel came to ask Mary to be the Mother of God. Our Lady requested that Richeldis construct a replica of the Holy House in England on her property in Walsingham as a way to honor the great mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus, provide consolation to all who would come in prayer, and to venerate Mary as Mother of God.
The details of how the England’s Holy House was constructed are gleaned from a ballad written in the mid-fifteenth century by Richard Pynson. Earlier written accounts have been lost to antiquity. Richeldis hired carpenters to construct the walls for the House. When the time came to raise the walls on the foundation site, problems arose and the walls didn’t piece together. Undaunted, Richeldis took up the matter in prayer that she continued into the night. In the morning, Richeldis saw the Holy House was built! It had been moved during the night to a foundation site 200 meters from the original one. The Holy House was so solidly constructed and miraculously moved that all assumed it had been ‘raised by angel’s hands.’
The miraculous Holy House became the site of many pilgrimages. Two wells of cold spring water close to the Holy House provided pilgrims with refreshment and in many cases provided a cure for stomach pains, headaches, and other afflictions. The property passed to Richeldis’s son who passed it to Augustinian priests. The priests noted how popular the Holy House had become as a site of Pilgrimage ranking third behind Saint James in Compostella, Spain and Rome. The Augustinians constructed a large church that enshrined the wooden Holy House. Rich and old, peasant and royalty made the pilgrimage to the ‘Nazareth of England’ as it came to be known.
We know from chroniclers that to the right of the altar in Holy House was a wooden statue of Our Lady. The origin of the statue has been described as miraculous but the details of how it came to be in existence and the appearance of the statue are lost to us. Ironically, King Henry VIII was a pilgrim to the shrine on three occasions. He removed his shoes at the slipper chapel like all the other pilgrims and continued the last mile barefoot to pray and give alms and on one occasion a valuable necklace as an offering at the Holy House. His devotions to Our Lady of Walsingham evidently weren’t strong enough to prevent him from doing the deed of dissolving ties to the papacy during the 1530’s when the divorce he sought from his wife wasn’t granted. He ordered the plundering of all the Catholic Churches of their relics, precious metal reliquaries, statues and other sacred vessels in the process of the dissolution and announced that he was the head of the Church of England. He ordered the Priory at Walsingham to be closed. When a priest and others dissented, they were executed and are known as the Walsingham martyrs and the priory was destroyed. Beloved statues including the wooden Our Lady of Walsingham were confiscated from Churches all throughout the villages and towns of England and burned at a bonfire in Chelsea in September 1538. Devotion and pilgrimages to Our Lady of Walsingham were suppressed and somewhat forgotten for centuries. It would be sad indeed if the story ended there, but these days reconciliation and renewal is in progress.
In 1863 the Slipper Chapel, which was being used as a barn, was sold to a devout woman, Charlotte Boyd. She desired that it be renovated from the dilapidated state it was in and returned to devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham. In 1897 the Slipper Chapel was reopened for Catholic devotions. Close by the Slipper Chapel, Anglicans began to construct a shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham. For sometime Anglicans and Catholics venerated Our Lady of Walsingham in their own respective ways. Pilgrimages started again in 1922 when the Anglican Vicar, Alfred Hope Patten organized an Anglo-Catholic Pilgrimage.
In celebration of the 1950 dogma of the Assumption of Mary, a statue of Our Lady of Walsingham was commissioned. The statue was modeled after replicas of the original statue that survived the destruction of the dissolution and also based on a seal of the priory showing Our Lady of Walsingham that has been preserved. The statue sits in the Slipper Chapel and shows the Blessed Mother seated in the throne of wisdom holding the Child Jesus on her left knee. Both Mary and Jesus wear Saxon crowns on their heads and their glory is symbolized by halos around their heads. Jesus holds the Book of Gospels in his left hand and he extends his right hand in blessing and protection.
The Virgin’s right hand cradles the bottom of a lily branch with three lilies in full bloom symbolizing that “she was virginal before, during and after the Saviour’s birth.” Lilies symbolize the virtue of purity and Our Lady is Mother most pure.
On December 27, 2015 Pope Francis announced that the Slipper Chapel would be designated as a minor basilica which is a papal honor bestowed on Catholic chapels of pilgrimage and devotion. Bishop Hopes, in announcing the honor said, “The Holy See’s recognition of the importance of the church in Walsingham is a recognition of the growth and witness of the shrine over these many years since its re-establishment after its destruction during the period of the Reformation, for its constant witness to the importance of marriage and family life and its pastoral care of the tens of thousands of pilgrims who make their journey to the shrine every year.”


Fleur de lis

Lilies of the Eldest Daughter of the Church, France

Many miraculous flower events occurred in France. France has been referred to as the “Eldest Daughter of the Church” because of the establishment of a Christian monarchy in the 5th century with the conversion of the pagan king, Clovis (Louis). It came about that Clovis married a maiden, Clotilda from a neighboring territory that he wanted to be allied to. Clotilda was Christian and staunch in her faith. At the birth of their first son, Clotilda insisted that he have a Christian baptism despite her husband’s objections. Shortly after baptism, the baby died and Clovis was quick to blame Clotilda for the infant’s death because “the pagan gods were angry.” Clotilda bore another son, and patiently witnessed her faith to her husband.
Clovis was involved in regional battles for land and power. In the heat of one battle when his forces were floundering and they were close to being overtaken by their enemies, Clovis realized prayer was his only hope. His prayer was: “Most mighty God, whom my queen Clotilda worships and adores with heart and soul, I pledge you perpetual service to your faith, if only you give me now the victory over my enemies.” Very soon Clovis and his men were filled with zeal and valor to vanquish the enemy king and clan. After the enemy leader was killed, the other fighters dispersed in retreat. Clovis found the Living God through his prayer and he prevailed over his attackers. In some amazement he told his wife of the events and asked her to arrange for his baptism to fulfill the promise he made to God. There is an associated account of Clovis’s spiritual conversion during this decisive battle from a poem that chronicles the battle. It was said that Clovis’s battle shield had three toads on it, which were symbols associated with a pagan god that he worshiped, but before the battle, the toad insignia were miraculously transformed into three lilies known as fleur de lis in French. Clovis attributed the win to the God whose symbols were manifested on his battle shield. He spoke to his wife of the event and was eager to understand their meaning. Clotilda told him the fleur de lis (lilies) were a symbol of purity and the three petals of the lily were symbolic of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

In amazement and thanksgiving, Clovis asked to be baptized into the true faith. To prepare for this grand occasion, the Church at Rheims was decorated with banners and tapestry. So intoxicating were the fragrances emanating from the church, that Clovis asked Bishop Remigius upon the threshold if he was entering into the Kingdom of Heaven. “Not so,” the Bishop replied, “it is the road that leads to it.” He was baptized on Christmas Day in the city of Rheims. In prayerful preparation when Bishop Remigius was about to administer the sacrament upon Clovis, a snow-white dove descended upon the scene carrying a vial of holy oil. The scent of the oil was ravishing to all those awaiting baptism. The holy Bishop took the vial from the dove’s beak and then the bird vanished. The King took his baptismal vows in front of the assembly and thousands more were added to the ranks of Christians that Christmas Day of 496.
The ampoule of holy oil was kept in the Cathedral of Rheims and used in the consecration ceremonies of successive French Kings until the Revolution when the vial was shattered. Some of the oil was recovered and used for the consecration of Charles X in post revolution years. The baptism of King Clovis had designated France as the “Eldest Daughter of the Church.” The symbol of the fleur de lis became closely associated with the French monarchy. Many of the French Kings from antiquity had banners, clothing, shields, coins and so forth that showed the stylized fleur de lis as ornamentation. When Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne emperor in 800, he reportedly gave him a blue banner covered with golden fleurs-de-lis.

The Golden Rose, Rose Sunday and Lady of the Snows

Roses in Church Liturgy and Papal Ceremonies
In medieval times the fourth Sunday of Lent came to be associated with roses. This Sunday became known as Rose Sunday, or Laetare (rejoice) Sunday and the Church took a break from the somber purple vestments of Lent to rose-colored vestments.
The blessing of a handcrafted golden rose came to be associated with Laetare Sunday. The origin of the golden rose blessing ceremony is not known, but Pope Leo IX referred to it as an “ancient practice” in his remarks in the year 1048. The golden rose was sculpted from gold precious metal by the finest artisans and then blessed by the Pope on Laetare Sunday. Chronicles give evidence from as far back as 1130 that the pope blessed the golden rose and then carried it in procession before Mass. Pope Innocent III (papacy from 1198-1216) was said to carry the blessed golden rose through the streets exhibiting it to the people before celebrating Mass. He spoke about the significance of the rose in terms of the joy of that is celebrated on Rose Sunday. Pope Innocent III said, “On Laetare Sunday, the day set apart for joy after the long fast, three feelings belong to this day: Charity after fasting, joy after sorrow, and fullness after hunger, so does the rose designate by its color, odor, and taste, the feelings of charity, joy, and satiety, respectively.”
The pope customarily gave these blessed golden roses, a valuable sacramental, to dignitaries such as mayors, kings or queens, princes or princesses, or other heads of state in appreciation for their Catholic zeal and loyalty to the Holy See. More recently the papal golden rose has been conferred upon distinguished churches and shrines as a sign of affection. Pope John Paul II bestowed a golden rose on the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City in 1979 during his first papal visit there. Later in the same year he bestowed the golden rose to the Marian shrine in Knock, Ireland in celebration of the centenary anniversary of a heavenly apparition there. Most recently Pope Benedict XVI honored the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception with a golden rose when he visited in April 2008 and is on display at the Shrine.

The design of the Golden Rose changed throughout the ages. Initially, it was a single rose sculpted out of gold. Later the gold was tinted with red to more closely resemble a real rose. In time gemstones were added to embellish the gift. In some designs a ruby adorned the center of the golden rose, in subsequent papacies other precious gems like sapphires were inserted into the petals of the rose.
During the pontificate of Sixtus IV (1471-1484) the design of the golden rose “grew” to a thorny branch with several roses springing from the stem and a prominent rose at the top. The primary rose had an orifice in it in which they placed balsam and musk to simulate the perfume of a rose.
Pope Leo XIII (papacy from 1878-1903) spoke about the spiritual meaning of the golden rose. He wrote about the golden rose with reference to the Song of Songs flower scripture passage. His words are, “The beautiful golden flower signifies Christ in His majesty, spoken of by the prophet as ‘the flower of the field and the lily of the valleys’; the flower’s fragrance shows the sweet odor of Christ which should be diffused through the whole world by His faithful followers. The thorns and red color symbolize His Passion, harkening to both the real event of the Crucifixion and its foretelling by the prophet Isaiah 43:2”

The other liturgical celebration that became associated with roses was the Sunday following Ascension Thursday. A priest, Benedict, the Canon of Saint Peter’s during the papacy of Innocent II wrote of a miracle that had long been associated with the Sunday after Ascension Thursday. A Pope, whose identity is unspecified, was celebrating Mass in the Santa Maria Rotunda Church in Rome. While he was giving a homily about the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles during the first Pentecost, a miraculous shower of red rose petals descended from the oculus in the roof! They resembled the tongues of flame of the Holy Spirit. Benedict wrote that in thanksgiving for this grand miracle, the Sunday before Pentecost was known as Dominica Rosis or Sunday of the Roses. The Church where the miracle occurred is none other than the architectural wonder known as the Pantheon from ancient Rome (circa 125) which still stands today. Originally built as a “temple to all the gods,” the temple was given to the Catholic Church in 609 and was the first pagan temple in Rome to be Christianized. It is dedicated to Saint Mary of the Martyrs. Due to the rounded dome, the Church is also known as Santa Maria Rotunda. The whole structure is an architectural marvel because the height of the dome matches the diameter of the dome at 142 feet. At the very top of the dome is an open aperture called an oculus, which permits abundant sunlight into the church.
The miraculous rose shower is still celebrated today throughout Italy and beyond. The Church in Italy refers to Pentecost Sunday as Pascha rosatum or Pascha rossa referring to the red vestments worn by the clergy and recalling the miraculous shower of roses symbolizing the fiery tongues of the Holy Spirit. Even today the tradition of scattering rose petals continues at some Italian churches but especially at Santa Maria Rotunda. To accomplish this, about a half dozen Roman firemen use a fire truck ladder to access and then scale the outside of the huge dome carrying bags of rose petals. They lie down around the circumference of the oculus and gently shake rose petals over the edge into the church during the Pentecost liturgy. The sight of raining rose petals delights and is rich in symbolic and historical meaning.

Another ancient Roman church, Saint Mary Major, uses flowers in a liturgical celebration to celebrate the anniversary of its miraculous origin. During the papacy of Liberius (352 to 366 A.D.) a childless Roman couple wondered what to do with their wealth after they died. In separate dreams to Pope Liberius and the couple, the Virgin Mary appealed to ask that a Church be built in her honor at a place that would be indicated the next day. During a hot August night, an improbable snowfall occurred on one of the seven hills surrounding Rome, the Esquiline hill. Marveling at the occurrence, Pope Liberius traced out the perimeter for a proposed Church according to the length and breadth of the fallen snow. A foundation was then laid in about the year 360 and later the Liberian Basilica was completed. In time the original structure fell to ruin.
The Basilica was reconstructed and enlarged during the pontificate of Sixtus III (papacy from 432 to 440). The church became known as The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (Saint Mary Major) which stresses the great importance and the size of the Church (Major), the largest dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Rome. It is the home to a precious icon of the Virgin Mary that Pope St. Gregory the Great processed through the streets of Rome in 594 to pray for an end to an epidemic. Those prayers were instrumental in putting an abrupt end to the pestilence.
Since Mary asked for the Church to be built with the associated snowy miracle, her title is known as Our Lady of the Snows for this occasion. It was snow that marked the miracle of how the Church came to be, but these days white rose petals and jasmine are used to simulate the snow that fell during that hot summer night of August 4th to 5th in the fourth century. The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore celebrates the miraculous snowfall every year on August 5th by shaking white rose petals and jasmine from the dome of the Basilica.

Saint Dorothy and Saint Casilda

Saint Dorothy of Caesarea
Saint Dorothy of Caesarea lived in the region of Cappadocia, which today is east central Turkey. She lived during the time of Christian persecution by the Roman emperor, Diocletian. Accused of being a Christian, Dorothy was led before the regional governor of Cappadocia named Fabritius. She was questioned about her faith and asked to repudiate her beliefs. She would not. There was a young lawyer at the trial named Theophilus. As Fabritius sentenced Dorothy to death, she fearlessly told the governor that she had no fear of death because she looked forward to entrance into Paradise.
Theophilus overheard the whole exchange and cried out in ridicule, “Going to Paradise, Dorothy? Make sure to send me back some of its fruits and flowers!”
As Dorothy knelt and awaited the sword, she prayed for Theophilus. There approached a child about four years old holding a basket of three fruits and three roses. Dorothy told him emphatically, “Take these fruits and flowers to Theophilus!”
The executioner then martyred Dorothy. Meanwhile Theophilus was busy telling his friends about Dorothy’s hearing before the Governor. Laughing loudly and in camaraderie, Theophilus’s friends were eager to hear more when the young child interrupted them. He walked straight up to Theophilus and said, “These are the fruits and flowers you asked the holy Dorothy to send you. I have brought them at her request from the garden of her Divine Spouse (Jesus).” No sooner had the child made his delivery, then he vanished. Theophilus marveled at the gift, “Where did these come from? It is midwinter. There are no fruits and flowers like these in February!” He quickly became convinced what Dorothy had spoken about God and the heavenly kingdom was true. The friends he had been laughing with about Dorothy were now trying to dissuade him from believing, but Theophilus was convinced that his gift was divine. So convinced was he, that he became a Christian. In due time Theophilus stood before the Governor accused of becoming a Christian. He confessed and died a martyr’s death. Saint Dorothy’s feast day is February 6. Sometimes Saint Dorothy is depicted in art as crowned and holding a basket of fruit and flowers. She is a patron saint for florists, gardeners, and newly wedded couples.

Saint Casilda of Toledo
An early flower account in the lives of the saints comes from Toledo, Spain. A young Muslim princess, Casilda, daughter of the Imam of Toledo felt compassion towards the Christians that were prisoners in her city. From the castle where she lived, she could see the depraved conditions the prisoners suffered from. At times she risked her father’s disapproval to bring food to them. Inevitably, on one occasion, her father noticed her carrying a bulky bundle and inquired about it. She went to show him, but the bread was transformed into roses and flowers! One account states that after her father dismissed Casilda, the flowers changed back into provisions for the captives. This miracle greatly surprised and influenced Casilda.

As a young woman, Casilda experienced a prolonged illness. The malady may have been dysentery or hemorrhaging. As she grew weaker even with the best advice, she concluded that she would have to get help outside the kingdom. Casilda was told that the waters of the lake at San Vincenzo could help her. San Vincenzo was in Christian territory in northern Spain. Her father arranged for safe passage for Casilda to San Vincenzo. After bathing in the spring, Casilda was healed! She sought baptism to become a Christian and desired to remain at San Vincenzo. She lived a life of prayer and penance in a little hut by the lake.
In one account of Casilda’s life it is said that when Casilda didn’t return to Toledo, her father and brother retaliated against Christians because of her conversion to Christianity. During a time when Casilda’s brother was flogging Christians, the Virgin Mary appeared in a fig tree. The brightness from her apparition momentarily blinded him and shackles fell off the prisoners.

Casilda’s brother was baptized Petran (Peter).
Casilda never returned to Toledo and lived into old age, perhaps attaining 100 years old. Records indicate her death in 1047. Paintings from the seventeenth century show Casilda as a princess with roses sketched in the folds of her dress. Her feast day is April 9.

Field Floridus

Field Floridus
An English knight wrote a travel diary of sights that he visited all around the world in the 14th century. Sir John Maudeville left England in September, 1322 to see the world. He wrote extensively about his travels and as a pilgrim to the Holy Land (Jerusalem and the surrounding area). His account of the legend of miraculous roses in a field near Bethlehem has been handed down in literature, and children’s stories. He described a field between the town of Bethlehem and a magnificent Church that marked the site of Christ’s birth. The field was the site of miraculous roses that flourished in an age long ago.
A young and beautiful maiden was falsely accused of fornication, a sin punishable by death at the time. Her sentence was to be burned to death. Branches and sticks were piled up and a fire was kindled. The maiden prayed that God would reveal her innocence in the sin she stood accused of. As soon as the woman was led into the fire, the flames extinguished and the burning branches transformed into red roses! Branches that fire had not touched became bushes full of white roses. Witnesses saw the death scene transformed into beautiful red and white roses, the universal colors of God’s mercy in the world. The field that was the site of the miracle came to be known in Olde English as the “feeld of God florished” or Field Floridus because of the roses that were made manifest proximate to where the Christ Child was born.

Flowers in Scripture

Flower of the field and Lily of the Valley
There are not many references to flowers in the words of Scripture, but the ones that are present have been a source of meditation, prayers, and hymns from ancient times until the present day. One scripture passage with reference to flowers is taken from the Old Testament book, the Song of Songs. King Solomon (ruled 961-922 B.C.) wrote this poem. Marriage is the theme of the Song of Songs and traditionally Christians have associated this as the union between Christ and His Church. As we read in Song of Songs Chapter 2:1-2 “I am a flower of Sharon, a lily of the valley. As a lily among thorns, so is my beloved among women.” The flower of Sharon or in some biblical translations, the Rose of Sharon, refers to the finest, fullest flower. Jesus is the King of flowers, the red rose.


A lily of the valley, as we know the flower to be today, has a short tender stem from which burst forth white bell-shaped blossoms that are cast downward and are remarkably sweet scented. The physical appearance of the lily of the valley has been likened to the virtues of Christ. The whiteness of the blossoms corresponds to His sinless purity. Lily of the Valley blossoms cascade toward the ground and mirror the virtue of humility in which the Savior offered His life in crucifixion to redeem us from our sins. Downcast lily bells remind us of how Jesus bowed His head and died. The sweet fragrance emanating from the blossoms evokes the joy we have in knowing He opened up the Kingdom of Heaven affording us the sweetness of eternal life.

The passage…as a lily among thorns, so is my beloved among women… alludes to Christ and His love for the Church. The Church is a beautiful lily presented to God among all the religious disciplines the world has to offer.
The red of the rose and the white of the lily represent many important symbols of Christ and our Church. Most notably, they symbolize the body and blood of Christ in the sacrifice of the Mass. The blood (red) and water (white) that gushed forth from Christ when the Roman soldier plunged his spear into His crucified body symbolize the sacraments of baptism and Eucharist that ushered forth His Church. We have confirmation of this from the words Jesus told Saint Faustina about His Divine Mercy image. He said, “The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous (baptism). The red ray stands for the Blood (Eucharist) which is the life of souls.”

The bedridden Sister, Blessed Anne Emmerich (September 8, 1774- February 9, 1824) was gifted with the ability to watch the events of bible history shown as movies in her mind long before the technology of cinema was in existence. From the early age of six and until her death at the age of 49, she witnessed the major events of the Old Testament and the Gospel given in such detail that she was familiar with the scenery, the terrain and the plants in biblical times. A German poet, Clemens Brentano, heard of Anne’s gift and stayed at her bedside and wrote down all her descriptions and details of her biblical revelations available to us as The Life of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations. Sister Emmerich saw the Patriarchs and prophets and descendants of Jesus show special significance for the colors red and white.
Blessed Anne witnessed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the Fall of Man. She described seeing red and white roses in the Garden of Eden. Jesus is the Lily and the Rose, the body and blood of the Eucharist.

The Old Testament prophetic writer, Isaiah, used a flower to symbolically prophesy the incarnation and birth of Jesus into the world eight centuries before His birth. We read in Isaiah 11:1, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root.” Jesse was the father of David and as we know, Jesus (flower) was descended from the house and lineage of David.
The German mystic and nun, Blessed Anne Katherine Emmerich had a vision regarding the fulfillment of the Isaiah 11:1 prophecy. At the time when the young Mary was to be espoused to a descendant of King David, a distinguished elderly priest prayed to ask God what sign they should look for in choosing the spouse. The priest burned incense and prayed as the rolls of scripture were opened before him. Deep in prayer, his hand stopped on the passage from Isaiah 11:1 “There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse and a flower shall rise up out of his root.” The priest received the answer, a flowering branch! Soon a number of unmarried male descendants of David were summoned to the Temple to determine which of them may be the chosen spouse of Mary. Each man was given a branch that they held during prayer and the offering of the sacrifice. Afterward the branches were laid on the altar in the sanctuary of the Holy of Holies with the expectation that the person whose branch blossomed, would be Mary’s espoused. None of the branches blossomed!
The priests persevered in their search. They found one eligible suitor from a family of six sons of the house of David that had not been summoned. This man, Joseph, was found to live in a small house about six miles from Jerusalem and worked as a carpenter. Joseph presented himself dressed in his best clothing to the Temple. The priests eagerly gave him a barren branch and again said the prayers and made the sacrifice. As Joseph was about to set down the branch on the altar, the top bloomed with a white lily.

You may have noticed the presence of lilies in sacred paintings of the Annunciation. In many representations the Angel Gabriel is shown carrying a lily branch at the time he appears to Mary. Depictions of the Annunciation from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries typically include a lily branch to symbolize the innocence, purity, and virginity of Mary at the moment of the Incarnation of Christ the King or three lily blossoms on a spray also represents the Trinity.

After the birth of Christ when he was a small infant and his life was in danger because of the jealousy of King Herod, the Holy Family had to flee to Egypt to escape the slaughter of the innocent babies. A legend arose that at one point during their flight to Egypt, robbers held up Mary and Joseph. The thieves went through Mary’s purse for coins, but only found bright and full marigold flowers inside. In fact, that is one version of the story of how the marigold got its name. Mary’s currency was marigolds and somehow that isn’t surprising, but fitting that the Queen of the May trades with flowers and not coins.

During His public ministry Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:28, “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they labor not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these.” This is one statement in a series of arguments where Our Lord is urging us not to worry about our possessions and material welfare. He is asking us to trust in His goodness and mercy much like flowers are provided with the sunlight, rain and nutrients for sustenance and growth. Our Lord is extolling the beauty and refinement of flowers and in particular lilies when he compares them to the very finest clothing of Solomon. Jesus said that flowers are absolutely more beautiful and the irony is that all they have to do is stand still in the ground, grow and blossom giving glory to God instead of making vain attempts to glorify themselves before the gaze of others.
We know from writings and tradition that a flower miracle occurred with the Assumption of the body of the Virgin Mary into heaven. At the time of the death of the Virgin Mary, most of the Apostles were gathered to be with her in her final moments except for Thomas. She died and her body was anointed, wrapped in burial cloth and carried in solemn procession to the sepulcher. Heavenly graces were present at the procession of Mary’s body to her burial site. A most wonderful song arose from an unseen choir of angels and a heavenly fragrance pervaded the air that lingered for weeks even after her death. When Thomas at last arrived to pay his respects at her burial place, he asked to look upon the Virgin Mary one last time. When the sepulcher was opened, roses and lilies occupied the place where her body had been laid. She had been assumed body and soul into Heaven leaving behind roses and lilies.

The Prophet Isaiah reminds us of the impermanence of our earthly lives. We read in Isaiah 40: 6-8
A voice says, “Cry out!”
I answer, “What shall I cry out?”
“All mankind is grass, and their glory like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower wilts, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it. [So then, the people is the grass.] Though the grass withers and the flower wilts, the word of our God stands forever.”
The analogy of the fleeting span of a mortal life to a flower in the field was close to the heart of Saint Peter. In fact, in his First Letter to the Gentile Christian communities, Peter made special reference to the same Isaiah 40:6-8 passage. He was calling all to God in the gift of Baptism. He wrote in 1 Peter 1:23-25: “You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and abiding word of God, for: ‘All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the field; the grass withers, and the flower wilts, but word of the Lord remains forever.’ This is the word that has been proclaimed to you.”

The Holy Name during Holy Mass

These are the instances of Name of the LORD within the Catholic Mass in the ordinary form.

The first instance of the Name of the LORD at Holy Mass
After the opening procession of the priest and the introductory hymn the priest turns and together with the congregation makes the sign of the cross saying: “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” We say Amen. We literally dedicate the Mass to the Name of the LORD.

Many times the readings at Mass during the Liturgy of the Word praise the Name of the LORD.

The second regular praise of the Name of the LORD at Mass is during the Liturgy of the Eucharist when the priest prays over the gifts. He says, “Pray brothers and sisters, that our sacrifice may be acceptable to God the Almighty Father.” And we say, “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of His Name, for our good, and the good of all His holy Church.” My comment on this is: We offer the Mass #1 for the praise and glory of His Name, #2 for our good and #3 the good of all His holy Church… I hadn’t really thought about this offering prayer until a few years ago. I probably would have been a more effective Christian had I thought more carefully about the words of the prayer and the importance of their meaning in praising the Name of the LORD.

The third regular praise of the Name during Mass is the singing of the Sanctus or the Holy, Holy, Holy when we anticipate Jesus as He comes in the Name of the LORD in the Eucharist.

The words are

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

If the priest prays the third Eucharistic Prayer, you will hear these words:

“You are indeed Holy, O Lord, and all You have created rightly gives You praise,
for through Your Son our Lord Jesus Christ,
by the power and working of the Holy Spirit,
You give life to all things and make them holy,
and You never cease to gather a people to Yourself,
so that from the rising of the sun to its setting
a pure sacrifice may be offered to Your Name.
+++ I would say that this part of the prayer (so that from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to Your Name) is very beautiful to contemplate and may it be fulfilled more and more with each passing moment. Amen +++

After the Eucharistic prayer is said and the great AMEN is sung by the congregation, we rise and pray the LORD’s prayer in which we praise His holy Name.
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
(the priest says,) “Deliver us, LORD from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In Your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”
We conclude, “For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are Yours, now and forever.”

We have concluded the instances of the Holy Name in Mass.  Mass is the highest form of worship of God on the earth.  The next posts will be about flowers in the Church and mystical expressions of flowers which will conclude sometime in April, 2019.

Book of Revelation Last Name entries

Book of Revelation 19: 11-16 Then I saw the heavens opened, and there was a white horse; its Rider was [called] Faithful and True.” He judges and wages war in righteousness. His Eyes were [like] a fiery flame, and on His Head were many diadems. He had a Name inscribed that no one knows except Himself. He wore a cloak that had been dipped in blood, and His Name was called the Word of God. The armies of Heaven followed Him, mounted on white horses and wearing clean white linen. Out of His Mouth came a sharp sword to strike the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod, and He Himself will tread out in the wine press the wine of the fury and the wrath of God the Almighty. He has a Name written on His cloak and on His Thigh, “King of kings and LORD of lords.”

The last scriptural entry with respect to the Name of the LORD
Book of Revelation 22: 1-4 Then the angel showed me the river of life-giving water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of its street. On either side of the river grew the tree of life that produces fruit twelve times a year, once each month; the leaves of the trees serve as medicine for the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there anymore. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His servants will worship Him. They will look upon His Face, and His Name will be on their foreheads. Night will be no more, nor will they need light from lamp or sun, for the LORD God shall give them light, and they shall reign forever and ever.

Book of Revelation

Book of Revelation 14:1 Then I looked and there was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion and with Him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had His Name and His Father’s Name written on their foreheads.

Book of Revelation 15:3-4 They were holding God’s harps, and they sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb: “Great and wonderful are Your works, LORD God Almighty. Just and true are Your ways, O King of the nations. Who will not fear You, LORD, or glorify Your Name? For You alone are holy. All the nations will come and worship before You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed.”