Home-Schooling Mary Garden Projects

Introduction

With the widespread establishment in our times of parish schools, home schooling is a secondary activity. However, in the the first fifteen hundred or so years of the Church, before the introduction of printing and general literacy, home schooling was the norm.

Thus, in the predominantly rural Christianity of the medieval Age of Faith the Apostles' Creed, prayers, and the things of nature - together with the oral sermons, poetry, songs, morality plays and marionettes of itinerate preachers, mendicant friars, poets, wandering minstrels, roving players, puppeteers, pilgrims, merchants, missionaries and other travelers - were the primary means of religious teaching; not classrooms and books.

Further, with no division of pre-school and school learning, there was a continuity of home schooling from children's earliest years.

The religiously symbolic Flowers of Our Lady, of which there were many hundreds, were evidently a part of such teaching as they came into bloom in nature.

With the conduct of home schooling intermixed with the rounds of family duties, rather than in classrooms, parents in parishes without schools have joined together in parish home schooling groups for mutual support and joint projects.

One such project has been the planting and care of a home schooling Mary Garden, at the parish church.

As actual outdoor hands-on Mary Garden projects, in contrast to the learning of the Flowers of Our Lady in classrooms, home schooling Mary Gardens and their symbolic Flowers of Our Lady contribute to learning and living the Faith much as did the flowers, gardens and fields of the medieval period.

What follows is an in-depth presentation of Mary Garden teaching potential, from which home schooling parents can draw in at each stage of learning readiness shown by children in their questions.

Overview

In the context of other religious teaching and projects, the Mary Garden and Flowers of our Lady, serve to teach the Apostles Creed and its derivative devotion and prayerful recourse to Mary with a special depth - mindful of the way in which proclamation of the domas of Mary's Immaculate Conception and Assumption serve ensure the proper clarity of understanding of the Creed.

Belief in Mary derives from the belief in Creation: that God created the world to show forth and share the divine goodness and action with us humans, created to this end in the divine image and likeness - and this to the fullest; and that Mary, "Our tainted nature's solitary boast" (Wordsworth), through her spiritual perfection enabled the fulfillment in her of God's desire for divine/human sharing to the fullest of human potential (a potential exhibited by Jesus as true God and True Man).

Thus, filled with divine grace and raised to union with God, Mary, in her immaculate purity, utter humility, and total fidelity to God's word, prompting and bestowal, shared in the divine procreativity in her Divine Maternity of God the Son incarnate as Jesus; shared as Co-redeemer in Jesus' sacrificial redemption of the world; and shares, as universal Mediatrix, in his sending of the divine grace, light, wisdom and power of God, the Holy Spirit to the world - for its culmination in the building and coming of God's Peaceable Kingdom, and its transfiguration on the last day, with the universal resurrection, into the eternal New Heaven and New Earth.

As poet, Christine Rosetti put it in her poem, "Ave":

"Mother of the Fair Delight,
Thou handmaid perfect in God's sight,
Now sitting fourth beside the Three,
Thyself a Woman-Trinity,
Being a daughter born to God,
Mother of Christ from stall to rood,
And wife unto the Holy Ghost . . ."

Children's learning of this, as with learning everything else, comes in a series of stages, envisaged somewhat as follows.

Mary

First, in the Mary Garden, is the facilitation of a spontaneous rapport of one-year-olds with Mary through her garden statues, as in the website "Baby Talk - Tip-toeing to Mary" and in "Talking with Mary in the Garden" - emerging from the nurturing of family devotion to Mary and the praying of the Rosary.

Then can come the stimulation of thoughts of Mary's life and mysteries in older children, as the symbolic Flowers of Our Lady came into bloom, as in the website "In Mary's Garden".

The challenge is then how to sustain this beginning spontaneous devotion to Mary and to her divine Son, year after year, as new young children join the home-school group and as older children grown in their knowledge of the Faith.

Bethlehem

Children's love for Mary as the Mother of the Christ Child at the Nativity arises from the experience of their own love of and bonding with their mothers and care-givers.

It is enhanced through Chistmas creche and Mary Garden symbolial support of the Nativity story of "no room at the inn", the manger, the praise of the angels, the veneration of the animals; and the adoration of the Child, by Mary, St. Joseph, the sheherds, the Three Kings led by the Star of Bethlehem, and the legendary girl (representing ourselves) giving Christmas Roses miraculously springing up for her before the manger (and anticipating our giving of our Rosary prayers) - adoration which we continue before the Eucharist.

Through the Flowers of Our Lady comes the further teaching of Christ's divinity, as represented by the legend of miraculous golden blossoming of Our Lady's Bedstraw when the Christ Child was laid on it, as true God; and of his humanity from the legend of the springing up of the flowers of Our Lady's Milkdrops with their white-spotted leaves, as she nursed him, as True Man.

With the praying of the Rosary comes the further love of Mary for the simple goodness of her Annunciation virtues and fullness of grace.

Creation

When children raise the question as to how and why the world and its flowers came to be, the time has come to teach that we and the world were created by our infinite, all powerful, loving God and Father: to show forth and to share with us his goodness, as in the beauty and purity of flowers; and for us to care for all creatures, as we care flowers in gardens - with the culmination of Creation to be achived through our co-creative caring, discovery and work with creatures, in accordance with the guidance of God's revelation and grace, for the building and coming of the earthly Peaceable Kingdom, and its divine transfiguration on the last day, with the general resurrection, into the eternal New Heaven and New Earth.

Guiding Grace

When children then ask how they are to be guided by the promptings of God's grace in this, we are to explain that they, the children, have all received sanctifying grace at their baptisms, to which they are to be faithful, as Mary was faithful to the graces of her Immaculate Conception; and which attunes them to receive and to respond to the feelings or "consolations" of the actual graces which God's sends for guidance when decisions are to be made.

To preserve and increase this attunement they are to emulate the example of Mary, in her fullness of sanctifying grace - through her virtues of immaculate purity, in fidelity to the graces of her Immaculate Conception; her utter humility; and her total fidelity to God's word and grace promptings - of which they, the children, are reminded in the Mary Garden by the lilies and other white flowers of Mary's purity; the violets and other low flowers of her humility; and her flower "earrings" and "eardrops" with which angels adorned her ears through which she "heard the word of God and kept it".

Living by grace in all aspects of our lives is central to our faith, and in the chapter on the Discernment of Spirits in his "Spiritual Exercises" St. Ignatius of Loyola has given us the classic means of recognizing the promptings of grace we are to follow in specific situations.

Applying these simply for children, they are counseled to compose themselves in spiritual quiet, to pray the "Come Holy Spirit", and then to reflect on the alternate choices envisaged for the matter at hand, discerning for which choice considered they experience the consolations of grace. This process may be enhanced by reflecting on the choices in the context of the purpose Creation, in relation to God's love, and with recourse to the mediation of grace by Our Mother of Consolation.

Because the sense of this in our daily lives has largely been lost in our times, there has arisen the charismatic movement which proposes living by the promptings of grace, though part of our basic faith, as something special.

The contribution of the Flowers of Our Lady, and all flowers generally, to this is that whenever and wherever they are viewed, they bring to mind and quicken in us continual attunement to the guidance of grace for Kingdom, in accordance with the purpose of Creation, in whatever we do.

Nazareth

While there is little of the Nazareth life of the holy Family in Scripture, it is helpful to parents, in the nurturing of their own childen, to consider how Mary and Joseph nurtured Jesus from his truly human infancy to living the life of grace - as we know they did from the scriptural passage on the finding of the boy Jesus in the Temple, which tells he returned with them to Nazareth and "grew and waxed strong, full of wisdom: and the grace of God was in him" (Luke 2:40).

In their reflection on the daily life of the Holy Family, medieval Christians perceived many flower symbols of its various aspects, which in the Mary Garden serve to quicken our reflection on it today.

In speaking of how the Nazareth flower symbols were seen by medieval children, a nineteenth century writer observed:

"According to long-established folk outlook, the flower kingdom was given over to the household articles and the apparel of the Mother of the Child Jesus. In order that in the loving eyes of children looking backwards in time to where Jesus was born in the flesh, nothing associated with the Mother of the Heavenly Child, no matter how insignificant would fail to excel all others on earth, or would appear too insignificant for the Mother of the Heavenly Child not to have the best before all others, it was seen as fitting that she be thus served by the direct creations of God."
(Johanne Nathusius, The World of Flowers - According to their Names, Sense and Meaning, 1869. translated.)

Included in these Flowers of Our Lady were flowers of:


     Her features            - her face, eyes, smile, tresses,
                               hands, fingers, Thumb Print;

     Her Apparel             - her mantle, smock, apron, veil,
                               nightcap, earrings, gloves, shoes,
                               purse;

     Her Household Articles  - her duster, little brushes, comb,
                               knives and forks, little ladles,
                               drying plant, bread, cheeses,
                               needlework, thimble, pincushion,
                               candle, bells, keys, basin, hen

In this we reflect that the same perfection we envisage of Mary's purity, love and humility in her utter fidelity to the privilege and graces of her Immaculate Conception - which at the Annunciation opened her to the fullness of grace quickening her total assent to her call to the Divine Maternity - was likewise extended to all her virtues, and to her spiritual intentions, in and for her motherly example and nurturing of Christ's spiritual growth.

Students are thus to be counseled to reflect on Mary's perfection in her principle virtues, which St. Louis de Montfort speak of as: her "profound humility, lively faith, total obedience, divine purity, ardent charity, heroic patience, angelic sweetness and divine wisdom." (True Devotion, par.250)

They are to be counseled, further, to envisage and to reflect, in each act of their own daily lives, on Mary's spiritual intentions as she performed her own specific daily household and motherly tasks.

Of these St. Louis de Montfort has said, giving the example of Mary's sewing work:

"(Mary's) intentions are so pure that that she gave more glory to God by the smallest of her actions, say, twirling her distaff, or making a stitch, than did...all the saints together in all their most heroic deeds.
("True Devotion" par. 222)

From this, students are to understand that whatever may be their immediate intentions in their actions, the ultimate, spiritual intention for all actions is to be the greater glory God and the coming of is Kingdom - as they reflect on the creatures acted on and with, and on the purpose of their creation. This is to be expressed each day, virtually, in the prayer of morning offering, and actually, making the Sign of the Cross, as each action is undertaken.

This is in accordance with our faith that everything directly created by God in the world was so created, and then redeemed, to show forth and share with us the divine goodness and glory. Everything we do is to be undertaken as an enhancement of these things of Creation for a greater showing forth and sharing of this goodness and glory - in emulation of Mary's "My soul doth magnify the Lord".

This, then, is the spiritual context within which children are taught and nurtured in all the secular skills of reading, writing, aritmetic, etc., and are guided in discovering what their life interests, gifts or works may or may not be.

Regardless of their work or career choices, all students are to contribute fully to the building of God's Peaceable Kingdom through reception of the sanctifying grace of the sacraments of Holy Communion and Reconciliation; and through conformity with the Ten Commandments; avoidance of the Seven Capital Sins; cultivation of the virtues and gifts; entering into all their living and working relationships in truth, justice, love and freedom; praying the Rosary for peace; and offering the adversities of their daily lives sacrificially for and with Christ in reparation for the effects of sin upon world leaders.

World

At the point in their nurturing in the life of grace where the question arises with children as to how and why there is so much frustration, hurt, sickness and death in the world, they are ready for the explanation: that the original things of Creation, in the Garden of Eden, were mis-used by our first parents for their own selfish enjoyment and ends - instead of being venerated for their showing forth of God's goodness and being employed for the building and coming of the earthly peaceable kingdom according to the promptings of God's grace - such that God withdrew his guiding grace, and, as humans continued in this mis-use, the original harmony of Creation was upset with the resulting frustration, hurt, sickness and death we observe and experience today.

The mis-use of flowers - instead of their being viewed and employed in accordance with the purpose of Creation, for the raising of our thoughts to God in thanksgiving, love, contemplation, communion and sharing - can be envisaged, in the extreme, as involving: gluttonously desiring of stimulation of the senses through their "unbelievable beauty and riotous color", "hundreds of blossoms on every plant", and "gigantic blooms from May to October" (phrases from some commercial ads); lusting for them to this end; pride that the flowers in one's own garden are seen to be superior to those in the gardens of others; envy or anger that the flowers of others are seen to be better one's own; avariously coveting of the flowers of others to sell for financial gain, and lying, stealing, exploiting, oppressing and killing to obtain them for this end; and slothfully failing to care for them in the garden.

While these envisaged potential mis-uses of flowers are extremes, they serve to exemplify in the simple context of the garden and its flowers, the sins children will observe and encounter in the more complex contexts of the fallen world.

This evidencing by a child of discovery of the ills of the world around them is the time for assisting them in distinguishing the difference between right and wrong, in relation to the purpose of Creation and to the means by which this purpose is to be fulfilled, and is also the time for catechetical instruction, confession and First Communion.

With this observation and encounter by children - which come all too early in many places in the world - parents, more specifically, are to give them the needed understanding and instruction as they experience in their relations with others, and through observation on TV, the sinful behavior in the world, of pride, greed, meanness, power struggles, coercion, violence, sexual promiscity, pornography, substance abuse, group discrimination, peer pressures, etc. In this, they are counseled in the resistance of any temptations of their own to these; in the confession and reform of their own yielding to such temptations; in the forgiveness of the offenses to them of others; in the return of good for evil; and, positively, in the building of offsetting personal morality and relationships of truth, justice, love, freedom and peace;

The educational challenge here is to help children - with the assistance of their sanctifying sacramental grace, - in understanding, esteeming and practicing the virtuous use of their faculties for the building of God's Peaceable Kingdom of truth, justice, love and freedom, beginning with the immediacy of their daily lives; as opposed to the beginning temptations of sexual promiscity, pornography, substance abuse, group discrimination, peer pressures, power struggles, violence etc.

I recall reading in the New York Times the obervation of a New York City police commissioner regarding a police corruption scandle in the 60's that the typical young police officers at that time were Catholics who, because of the protective avoidance by parents and teachers of recognizing and dealing concretely with the temptations of sex, drugs and bribary as they actually exist - as the real life context for teaching the practical spiritual alternatives to them - were unprepared to deal with them when they encountered them on the job.

Social Truth, Justice, Love and Freedom

With self-examination, confession and penance for personal sins, and with resistence of temptations to these, and the cultivation and practice of the "opposite" virtues, children are to be counseled in dealing likewise with social sins against truth, justice, love and freedom - sins of "profiling", prejudice, discrimination, segregation, deception, exploitation, conquest and oppression - so prevelent in the world.

G. K. Chesterton has pointed out the harmony with which diverse flowers may be composed in the garden as an example of the potential harmony with which diverse humans can live together in a peaceful world.

In contrast (for parents and older children) is a poetic parody - dashed off by a friend after a discussion - of how flowers might behave with one another if they were imitate fallen human behavior:

Nothing To It Sure

Oh, the glory a' the garden,
The many colors a' the Spring,
Each and every flower a' blooming
Seems to speak a certain thing;
As I walked among the flowers
Each began to talk and sing . . .

Funny songs they seemed to sing to me,
As I listened to the thought
That no rose would dare demand
What a daffodil ought,
Or a blue-bell loud announce
What all lilies should be taught.

I wondered if I'd ever hear a
Bleeding heart say
That all must mourn his weeping
For the rest of the day,
And scold and scorn should any
Flower dare to sing or to play.

I tried to imagine a snap-dragon
Putting a milkweed down;
A cyclamen calling the sheeted men
To get a blu-flox out of town;

I wondered if I heard the crocus
Telling dahlias to "shut up",
Or apple blossoms shouting names
Like "yellow buttercup";
The clover calling dogwood
A "dirty stinking pup".

I tried to picture bachelor buttons
Inposing celibacy,
And geraniums forcing clothes
On each sweet pea;

Or the spotted tiger lily
Poking fun at the pansy;
Jack-in-the-Pulpit scorned and scoffed
Because he had no degree;
And a Jim-Crow car to segregate
Each colored peony;

The wandering Jew evicted
Because of ancestral deed;
Daylight saving for four-O-clocks
To meet the national need;

And the asters trying to elevate
The crooked columbine,
And hollyhocks trying to say
Poppies should be a vine;

Tulips of many colors commanded
To be one:
Ordered to return to four petals
"Because it's never been done";

Red blooded carnations
All ordered to fall in line:
We like many colored flowers,
"But now is just not the time";

The lily-of-the-valley
Told to "stay in her place";
"Proud" is the black-eyed-Susan,
Thinks she's part of the human race.

As I say, I walked and wandered
Through the garden just today,
And as I left I swear I heard
A flower laugh and say
In a saucy sort of manner,
And it went thisaway:

"Now your races and civilizations
Ain't made by flower nations;
We retain our true flower stations,
Uncorrupted by "human relations";

We don't have a national creed,
Nor conscripton to keep us freed;
Nor taxes which we desperately need;
All we've got is just us and the seed."

And I said, "The English is poor",
So there's nothing to it sure!"

Roger W. Axford
Milan, Michigan
Spring, 1945

(This, written from the viewpont of secular humanism, and used here in the absence at hand of a more specifically Catholic equivalent.)

Calvary

Then comes the teaching of Christ's reparation for the temporal effects of the sins; and of our call to participate sacrificially with him in this reparation.

For children this teaching builds on their initial love of Christ as the Divine Child of the Nativity; and then on the sorrow and compassion experienced in meditating on his Passion and Cross in praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary; reflecting on the Stations of the Cross; and in contemplating the Crucifix. In this the flower symbols of his (bloody) sweat of the Agony in the Garden, his lashed back at the Scourging at the Pillar, his Crown of Thorns at his mocking, his bruised knees at his falls in the Carrying of the Cross, his five wounds on the Cross, and the multiple symbolism of his Passion and Cross in the Passion Flower all serve to quicken children's compassion for him as they reflect on his redemptive suffering and death.

The challenge to parents and teachers is to show children that Christ's suffering and death are the means by which the fallen world is both redeemed from sins, and freed from their temporal effects, that the building of God's earthly Peaceable Kingdom may continue. In this, children are to be shown that this is accomplished by Christ, in his infinite capability as God-Man, by taking upon himself, as though his own, all the sins and temporal effects of sin of the world, that they may be reduced to nothingness with the death of his body on the Cross - at Calvary, and as continued in all the masses of the world.

As with other teachings, these truths are to be taught simply and successively as children's questioning indicates the readiness and desire for answers - but for parents and teachers they are presented here in the theological fullnesss from which answers are to be drawn.

While the moral and ethical call of individuals to lives of personal virtue and of social truth, justice, love and freedom; and to the resistance of temptations to sins, defects and imperfections comtrary to these - with repentance, confession, penance and reformation where these occur - is basic to the Christian life of faith; the key to the coming of God's Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven is our fullest sharing, in love, in Christ's sacrifice in reparation for the temporal effects of sins continuing in the hearts and minds of humans in the redeemed but yet to be repaired world.

In this, it is to be understood that there are two aspects of the redemptive sacrifice of Christ, as infinite God-man:

His assumption, as though his own, of all the sins of the world, and their reduction to nothingness with the death of his body in satisfaction for their offense to the Father - who thus restores divine grace to the world, and

His reception, as though his own, of the temporal effects of sin offered to him sacrificially by individuals experiencing them; and, through the death of his body, his reparational reduction of them also to nothiness - in himself, and, through the sending of cleansing grace, in those offering them and/or in others.

Accordingly, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, sins are forgiven (reduced to nothingness) through confession and absolution; and their temporal effects are repairingly offset through the sacrificial offering of the penances given to the person confessing.

Further - in accordance with God's purpose and will for Creation, of the completion the world through the building of the earthly Peaceble Kingdom, as a work of the fullness of loving divine/human sharing - Jesus desires and awaits the loving sacrificial offering by individuals to and with him of the temporal effects of sin they encounter in their daily lives and duties - irritations, aggravations, obstacles and sufferings - for his and their mutual sacrificial reduction of the aggregate temporal effects of sin in the world; that, increasingly freed from them, leaders and all may be responsive, in the innate goodness of their creation in the divine image and likeness, to the divine graces prompting and guiding the building of the earthly Peaceable Kingdom.

In her message of world peace at Fatima, Mary's call was twofold: through her Immaculate Heart, to pray the Rosary to her Divine Son for the graces of peace, and to offer all the sacrifices of our daily life and duties to and with him in reparation for the temporal effects of sin in individuals of the world that the prompings of these graces be responded to.

Thus, in addition to the reparations we undertake for our own sins - as in the penances given us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation; and in the praying of indulgenced prayers - we are to heighten our undertaking of daily sacrificial reparations with Christ, in charity, and in the communion of saints, for others and for the world. As we undertake prayers and sacrifices for the reparation of the temporal effects of sin remaining in the souls of the faithful departed, that they may find heavenly repose, so are we to undertake as well prayers and sacrifices, with Christ, for reparation of the effect of sin in the living.

We show and give our thanks in love for Christ's sacrificial redemption of the world from sins by sacrificially joining with him in reparation of the world from their temporal effects.

Since we have faith that God's will for the building of his Kingdom, and for the redemption of the world to this end, as works of divne/human sharing, WILL be done, it is to be concluded, in faith, that the continued widespread existence of poverty, suffering and violence in the world two thousand years after Christ's preaching of the Gospel of Peace is a consquence of our insufficient sharing with him, so far, in his redemptive reparation of the temporal effects of sin in the world - to free leaders, activists and all to respond to the graces of peace bestowed by the Father for the building of the Peaceable Kingdom. In this, Pope John Paul II has observed, "God did not create the world to be a graveyard"; and G. K. Chesterton, "Christianity has not failed; it has never been (adequately) tried."

Children are thus to be instructed that in addition to cultivating the formation of their own personal and social virtues, for their fullest personal contributions to the building and coming of God's Kingdom, they are also to offer sacrificially each and every irritation, frustration or suffering, as experienced through the day, to and with Jesus in all the masses being celebrated in the world, that the temporal effects of sin may reparationally be reduced in others. They are to do this virtually - in their daily morning offerings and the offertories of masses participated in - but especially actually as they experience each temporal effect of sin through the day.

For each effect experienced they are to pray with some or all of the words:

All for and with you, my Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary - in reparation for the temporal effects of sin in the world - that the hearts amd minds of leaders and all may be freed to respond in their innate goodness to prayed for graces of peace.

For their assistance in this children are shown how to offer their experiences in union with Christ's sacrifice most fully - through spiritual communion with his sufferings of will, body, mind, feelings corresponding to their own sufferings - as they meditate on these from praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, or before a crucifix.

In this, children are to emulate the model of Mary, who - while herself sinless - so fully shared in her Divine Son's sacrificial sufferings through the sword of sorrow piercing her motherly heart and soul, as blessdly to be united with him as Co-Redemptrix. With the quickening of their reflections on Mary's union with Christ's sufferings, as they behold the flower symbols of her sorrows, children can intensify their own sacrificial sharing in them - through Mary's Sword of Sorrow, her Tears, her Tresses (by tradition, torn from he head in anguish) and by the flower symbols of Christ's Passion and Crucifixion - in augmentation of the meditative praying of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.

Through this, in their spiritual union with Christ's taking on of their sufferings, children enter into union with his totality of reparational sufferings for reparation of the temporal effects of sin of the world.

In this they are taught the Prayer of the Angel of Fatima:

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
I adore you profoundly;
I offer you the most precious body, blood, soul and divinity
Of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world
In reparation for the numerous insults, sacriliges and negligences Whereby he is offended.

By the infinite merits of his most Sacred Heart,
And through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I beg of you the conversion of sinners ... and unbelievers *

* (added)

In this, Christ's cleansing reparational grace is bestowed on all; not just on the baptized and sanctified who themselves pray for them:

"As the object of these graces is, according to their nature, the spread of the Kingdom of God on earth and the sanctification of men, their possession in itself does not exclude personal unholiness. . . .

"Actual grace is that unmerited interior assistance which God, in virtue of the merits of Christ, confers upon fallen man in order to strengthen...his infirmity resulting from sin.

- The Catholic Encyclopedia - 'Actual Graces'

From the viewpoint of God's creational desire for the fullest sharing by humans, in love, in the divine action, our cooperative participation in Christ's reparational sacrifice is expressed in Scripture as "making up what is wanting in the sacrifice of Christ" (Col., i, 24), and as, with Christ, "bearing one another's burdens" (Gal. 6:2).

Today there are endless uses of force, and endless diplomaic negotiations, dialogs, TV discussions, books, lectures etc. proposing strategies, tactics and timings of ways to peace; but all envisage the use or re-arrangements of power within the existing world melieu of the tempoal effects of sin. The way of the Gospel of Peace is through reparational reduction of the temporal effects of sin - by the widespread undertaking of daily sacrifices for and with Jesus in his redemptive sacrifice and cleansing grace - that leaders and all may relate to one another in truth, justice, love and freedom.

Mediation

Finally, children are to be taught that the ultimate basis of their prayers to Mary is the totality of her union with God - begun with her acceptance at the Annunciation of her call to the divine motherhood of redeeming Christ; extended in her union with him at the foot of the Cross as Co-Redemptrix; and consummated upon her Assumption body and soul into heaven as our protecting, nurturing, counseling, helping spiritual mother and queen: advocating and interceding for us with God, and positiond by him as the universal mediatrix of all divine grace, light, wisdom, power and providence bestowed on the world, as Mary presented herself in her appearance at Knock at the heavenly altar of the Lamb that as Slain.

When Mary entered into intimate union and communion with overshadowing, indwelling, espousing God, the Holy Spirit at the Annunciation, the Holy Spirit, as St. Louis de Montfort says, became her Spirit. In Annunciation paintings the traditional flower symbol of the descending Holy Spirit is the dove-like columbine (Aquilegia).

At Pentecost, in her continuing union with Jesus, now ascended into Heaven, Mary, on earth, joined with him, mediatingly, in his promised sending of the Holy Spirit to the disciples, with restoration of grace to the world. The Pentecostal descent of the Holy Spirit as tongues of flame was symbolized by vine branches of pendant flowers, such as the Holy Spirit philodendron, symbolizing the descending flames of the Holy Spirit; and the red peony (Paeonia officinalis), in bloom in temperate climates at the time of the liturgical feast of Pentecost, and symbolizing the soul inflamed with the Holy Spirit.

The Pentecostal Holy Spirit is also symbolized by "Mary's Pink" (Dianthus plumarius) with its serrated petals, recalling the pointed tongues of flame in which it descended - adopted also because of its bloom in Holland at the late May or early June season of Pentecost (known there as "Pinkster"); because of its pink color; and because of its uniquely serrated symbolic petals, from which garment "pinking shears" receive their name.

In all, some twenty flowers have been found in our research to have had, from their time of bloom, the religious folk name of "Pentecost Flower".

As a poetic affirmation of Mary's heavenly mediating distribution of the Holy Spirit, a couplet from the German, applied to the flower "Mary's Candle" (giant mullein, Verbascum thapsis), also known as "Heavenly Radiance", reads (translated):

"The Virgin Mary flies all over the land, With heaven's fire in her hand."

Also, Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis, Mary's Heart) is known as "Holy Spirit" in France from the "tear" of Spirit precessing to earth through her universally mediating Immacuate Heart.

Affirmed generally in the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, the heavenly prerogatives of Blessed Mary are, for our reflection and prayerul recourse, given specificity in their flower symbols. Thus,

"Mary's Crown" (Centauria cyannis) reminds students to pray to Mary for her mediation of the graces prompting them in their contributions to the building of God's Kingdom, of which she is Queen.

The gold rose, the Marygold, and other golden flowers, symbolize Mary, the "Queen in gilded clothing", who, from the interior of the Heaven of the Trinity, "comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun and terrible as an army set in battle array", with her Divine Child, to minister in love, as our Heavenly Mother, to us, her spiritual children on earth.

Forget-me-nots, "Eyes of Mary", quicken students turning of their thoughts to Heavenly Mary, petitioning,

"Turn, then, Most Gracious Advocate, your eyes of mercy towards us,"

as do daffodils (Narcissus psuedonarcissus) - seen from their characteristic downwards inclined flower heads as "Mary Looking Down From Heaven".

"Our Lady's Keys" (Primula veris) remind them of her access, for distribution, to the heavenly storehouses of the grace from meritorious actions of the Church on earth.

Likewise,"Mary's Bells" (numerous),

"The bell when struck,
sends forth melodious sound,
The heart of Mary, when shaken through earnest prayer,
Scatters grace and love everywhere."

"Our Lady' Mantle" (Alchimella vulgaris) quickens confidence in Mary's heavenly spiritual protection.

"Mary's Hands" (Potenilla nepalenis) prompt students to turn to Mary's distribution of heavenly graces through her fingers, as in the Miraculous Medal revelation at Paris.

Recourse to Mary, our Heavenly Queen, Mother and universal Intercessor and Mediatrix, for the guiding and promting graces needed for our co-creative building with God of the Peaceable Earthly Kingdom, is clearly pivotal for the culmination of the Sacred History of the world. This is especially clear for our times, as we - with modern science, technology, industry, communications and transportation - now are able to envisage concretely the practical feasibility of fulfilling God's command to dress and keep the world and to increase and multiply to fill it, with culmination in the Peaceable Kingdom of divine/human sharing

As students turn to heavenly Mary, the flower symbols of her divinely bestowed prerogatives, and of her motherly love and mercy, impart to them an illuminative specificity, serving to intensify their recourse to them.

To be understood by children is that Mary - who through her immaculate purity, her utter humility, her total assent to and keeping of God the Father's word, and her resultng fullness of grace, enabled God the Holy Spirit to enter into espousal union with her, for the conception and bearing of God the Son Incarnate; and whose pure joining in love of her sorrows with the sufferings of her divine Son, enabled him to bring her into union with his redemption of the world as Co-Redemptrix - was, on her Assumption, body and soul, into heaven, brought into the culminating fullness of her union with God, through the privelege of universally mediating his divine grace, light, wisdom, power and providential governance to the world.

The fullness of her heavenly divine union included, in the "retroactivity of eternity", her presence with God in the very creation of the world as Our Lady of Creation - in which the Church Fathers applied to her the passage from Proverbs 8:22-32,

"The Lord begot me, the firstborn of his ways . . .

"I was the first, before the earth . . .

"When he established the heavens I was there . . .

"Then was I beside him as his craftsman,
and I was his delight day by day,
Playing before him all the while,
playing on the surface of the earth;
and I found delight in the sons of men."

As Queen of Heaven and Earth, as well a Co-Redemptrix of Earth, Mary is Heavenly Mediatrix of the graces of both the reparational cleansing of the earthly temporal effects of sin and of the prompting and guidance of the building of the Earthly Peaceable Kingdom

All this is possible because Mary, who like all humans, was created in the divine image and likeness; but in her total openess to God through her immaculate purity, her utter humility and her total fidelity, was the one unique individual with whom God could, did and does share and unite himself totally and universally, in a personal fullness of sharing as a key accomplisment of the purpose of Creation.

Each time we evoke Mary's help in prayer provides a further opportunity for God's sharing of the divine action in her response.

Yet, in all this, she is the same loving Mother, to whom children turn, of the Infant Savior of Bethlehem, of the boy Jesus of Nazareth, and of the Crucified Christ on the Cross.

The culminating fullness of divine/human sharing in Creation will come with the building and coming of the earthly Peaceable Kingdom, when countless numbers of humans, living, and resurrected on the last day, will, through responsiveness to the promptings and guidance of God's repairing and building graces, mediated by Mary, have redeemed and completed the world, for its divine transfiguration into the eternal new heaven and new earth.

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This page, maintained by The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute, Dayton, Ohio 45469-1390, and created by Cindy Osborne , was last modified Tuesday, 03/27/2012 11:07:21 EDT by Sumithra Kulkarni . Please send any comments to jroten1@udayton.edu.