“Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of the Rose

Today, we celebrate one of the feasts, which is not listed in the official calendar and feast days of the Church, but is still attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today’s title is – Our Lady of the Rose, in Lucca, Italy. On January 30, in the arms of the statue of the Blessed Mother, three roses were found. From this point, this day has been celebrated as the Madonna of the Rose or Our Lady of the Rose.

Madonna of the Rose

Madonna of the Rose

So why is the Rose flower so important when it comes to the Blessed Virgin Mary?

If you think about it – in so many of the Marian apparitions, she is either carrying flowers, particularly the rose, or the rose has played a major part in revealing her message to the world.

When she came to us as Our Lady of La Salette, she was wearing a garland of roses as well as had tiny roses on her slippers. In the apparitions of Pontmain, Bannenexu, and most notably, Lourdes, and others, she brought beautiful roses with her.

The clearest time we see the rose flower is in Mexico on Tepeyac Hill when she appears to as Our Lady of Guadalupe. She tells St. Juan Diego to go to the hill and to collect the roses, placing them in his tilma. He was then was told to bring them to the Archbishop. When he arrived at the Archbishop’s residence to show him the roses, not only were the roses a sign, but also was the beautiful tilma St. Juan Diego was wearing. It was through the power of God and the roses that the world received the tilma. To learn more about Our Lady of Guadalupe, I would suggest reading – Why Nine Million People Suddenly Turned Catholic: Astounding Physical Evidence.

Blessed Cardinal John Newman said the following about Mary,

“Mary is the most beautiful flower ever seen in the spiritual world. It is by the power of God’s grace that from this barren and desolate earth there ever sprung up at all flowers of holiness and glory; and Mary is the Queen of them all. She is the Queen of spiritual flowers; and therefore, is called the Rose, for the rose is called of all flowers the most beautiful. But, moreover, she is the Mystical or Hidden Rose, for mystical means hidden.”

The rose is very beautiful, however, there is also suffering found in the thorns of the rose. For the Blessed Virgin Mary, the rose thorns are the reminder that like Jesus, who wore a crown of thorns, she too would also suffer along with her son. As the Mother of Jesus, she witnessed the terrible suffering and death first hand as she walked with him, stood with him, and watched him die on the Cross.

To learn more about Rose and the other Flowers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I would encourage you to read my blog post by clicking on the link above.

Our Lady of the Rose…Pray for Us. 

Source:

“Madonna of the Rose.” Roman Catholic Saints. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.

Madonna of the Rose Garden

Madonna of the Rose Garden

“Mondays with Mary” – The Top Five “Mondays with Mary” Over the Past 365 Days

Being that next Monday is the fourth anniversary of “Mondays with Mary” and the 200th blog post of the series; I thought I would do something very simple and very short for #199. I can’t even fathom that I have written as much as I have in general about Catholicism, but being so close to #200 with this series on the Blessed Mother gets me very excited. With the collection and purchasing of some new Marian books, this series will continue on for the foreseeable future.

Mary and Eucharist

Below are the Top “Mondays with Mary” Over the Past 365 days –

The Flowers of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the most read “Mondays with Mary” post of all time)

10 Quotes from Padre Pio on the Blessed Virgin Mary

10 Memorable Quotes about the Blessed Virgin Mary from St. John Vianney

7 Benefits of Praying the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Mary as the New Ark of the Covenant

I hope you all have enjoyed these weekly posts and continue to share them with your family and friends.

I want to give a “shout out” to the Catholic Facebook Ministry group. Many of these Catholics have shared numerous posts from this series and other writings I have done in the past. It was this group that put me in contact with Annie and John-Paul Deddens and the PrayMoreRetreat.com. Thank you for your witness to Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.

Our Lady, Theotokos, Ever-Virgin…Pray for Us. 

“Mondays with Mary” – Symbols of the Blessed Virgin Mary

A few weeks ago, on the third anniversary of “Mondays with Mary”, I focused on the Blessed Virgin in Sacred Art. For the last May blog post of this year, I would like to draw your attention to some of the symbols most commonly associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is hardly a comprehensive list, but something in order to wet your appetite in the hopes that you will seek out other symbols that have honored and reflected our beautiful and advocating Mother.

In the past, I have spoken about some of these before, so I suggest you click on the links provided in this blog post to learn more about the symbols in previous writings of mine. A common aspect of my blogging is that I try to link previous posts of mine to the current posts.

The first symbol is the Tower of David –

Tower of David

One of the titles the Church applies to Mary is the Tower of David. Just as David’s Tower once provided security and fortification against his enemies, so too does Mary stand against Satan and his followers, who seek to rout out the Church. As our Queen Mother, she keeps us safe and far away from the attacks of Satan.

The Old Testament book Song of Solomon (also known as Song of Songs) states, “Your neck is like the tower of David, built for an arsenal, whereon hang a thousand bucklers, all of them shields of warriors” (4:4).

The second symbol is the Vine and the Grapes –

Vines and Grapes

One of the earliest symbols given to the Blessed Virgin Mary, by the Early Church Fathers, is that of the fruitful vine with the bountiful of grapes. In the 11th century, one of the newest Doctors of the Church, St. Hildegard of Bingen, explained in her theology that Jesus was the Vine that came forth from the heart of Mary. As He came forth from his Mother’s heart, there also comes the fruit and good works of the followers of Jesus Christ.

The third symbol is the Morning Star.

Shining star

The morning star, usually associated with the first star of the day, brings light to the dawn of the day and gets us ready for the full radiant beauty of the sun. In the book of Revelation, Jesus tells us that he will give us this star to all those continue to follow Him till He returns again (22:16). In relation to Mary, she is the Morning Star leading us close to Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

The fourth symbol is the Fleur-de-lis.

Fleur-de-lis

This very ancient symbol synthesizes the iris (flower of the lily) and the Madonna lily and has long been connected with the Blessed Virgin Mary because the purity she witnessed throughout her entire life. The Fleur-de-Lis, which emphasizes life, light, and perfection, is the definitive symbol of the Holy Trinity and the Blessed Mother. In relation to the Holy Trinity, Mary is a daughter, mother, and spouse.

The fifth symbol is the Rosebush.

Rosebush

For an explanation on the Rose, along with the other flowers associated with the Blessed Virgin, I would encourage you to read the most popular blog post in this series, The Flowers of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

As we close the Month of Mary for this year, I would encourage you to share with your family and friends this post and the many others I have written for the sole purpose to explain to Catholics the importance that Mary plays in Salvation History as the Mother of God.

The Top 5 “Mondays with Mary” over the Past Month

For this week’s “Mondays with Mary”, I provide for you the Top 5 blog posts over the past month in the hopes that you will read them again, if you did not get the chance when they first published, as well as share them with your family and friends via email or social media.  Studying and reflecting on Marian theology is important to the life of every Christian. The more we come to know Mary; the more we come to know Jesus Christ. Mariology leads us into a deeper understanding of Christology.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in his co-authored with Hans Ur Von Balthasar, Mary: The Church at the Source, states, “…Mariology underscores the nexus mysteriorum — the intrinsic interwovenness of the mysteries in their irreducible mutual otherness [Gegenuber] and their unity…Mary represents a further step, inasmuch as she is first related to Christ, not as a bride, but as mother.”

The blog posts are listed with the most popular over the past month first:

1. Our Lady Help of Christians

2. Mary as the New Ark of the Covenant

3. The Flowers of the Blessed Virgin Mary [most popular “Mondays with Mary” of all time]

4. The Esheth Yahil (Woman of Valor)

5. 10 Memorable Quotes about the Blessed Virgin Mary from St. John Vianney

Mary, Help of Christians

 Our Lady Help of Christians…Pray for Us.

“Mondays with Mary” – The Flowers of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Although the Sacred Scriptures never reveal the Blessed Virgin Mary ever holding or carrying flowers, in many artistic renderings throughout the centuries, we often see Mary with different types of flowers. I would imagine she enjoyed the beauty of flowers since they are signs of God’s wonderful creation. There is even the chance that she kept flowers in the home of the Holy Family, as many women do today.

Not only do we see flowers with the Blessed Mother in art, but we also see flowers presented to her statues in Catholic churches. This is not some pagan ritual or custom of sacrifice, but it’s the way many people give thanks to her for interceding in their prayer requests. In the end, she is the Queen Mother who brings our prayers to her Heavenly Son, Our King and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Even though we see her with flowers in art and surrounding her statues in churches, we have also seen her with flowers as she has appeared over the centuries during different apparitions. The one that comes to mind for me very quickly is Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Miracle of the Roses. It is through the roses that we received the tilma of St. Juan Diego.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

So the question might come to your mind – What flowers often appear with the Blessed Virgin Mary and what do they represent in relation to her?

Below are 10 flowers most commonly associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary –

RoseRose: Known as the “queen of flowers”, the rose represents Mary as Queen of Heaven. The rose is one of the most beautiful flowers in all creation. The rose in relation to the Blessed Mother displays perfect love, form, fragrance, and color.

Although roses are beautiful, there is also a hidden suffering in their thorns. For Mary, the thorns on the rose remind us that Our Lord Jesus Christ wore a crown of thorns and gave up his blood for all humanity. As His Mother, Mary witnessed this suffering and death first hand at the foot of the cross.

Mary is also known as the Mystical Rose – “our fallen Nature’s solitary boast”, being the only human who was immaculately conceived without sin.

Green ivyIvy: The evergreen ivy represents Mary’s complete and total faithfulness as well as her eternity. She is our greatest example of complete and total faithfulness when it comes to trusting in God the Father. We see her complete faithfulness throughout her entire life, but especially at the Annunciation.

Lilies: The white lilies (Madonna lilies) and their beautiful white-liliesfragrance represent Mary’s perfect purity, love, and humility to God’s divine economy. They are often seen during the Easter season when they represent the Resurrection of Christ.

pink-carnation-flowerCarnations: The pink or red carnations represent love and life for Mary. The red carnations are also associated with the crucifixion of Our Lord – “love unto death”, which Mary witnessed first hand with St. John the Apostle by her side. The carnation is also associated with the Incarnation of Christ.

Baby’s Breath: The blue baby’s breath represents Mary’s blue baby's breathinnocence and purity. It also can symbolize the breathing (“pnuema” in Greek) of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary at the Annunciation and he became her divine spouse.

French_marigold_Tagetes_patulaMarigold: The marigold flower (calendula or “pot marigold”) is in honor of Mary’s simplicity through her home and family life. The flower also can represent the sorrows of Mary (Our Lady of Sorrows) for it is often used as a burial fragrance.

violetsViolets: The gracefulness, color, sweet smell, and leaves in the shape of hearts, represent the humility, fidelity, and innocence of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  These three adjectives uniquely describe Mary’s role in Salvation History.

Gladiolus: The gladiolus derives from the Latin term that redgladsmeans, sword. These leaves shaped in the form of swords represent the sorrows that would pierce the heart of Mary as she walked to Calvary with Jesus Christ.

dark_blue_iris_flowersIris: The profound blue color of the iris represents the fidelity of Mary. Its blade-shaped verdure symbolized the sorrows that would pierce the heart of Mary in Luke 2:35 – “and a sword will pierce through your own soul also…” This scripture passage is the genesis of the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In France, the iris flower is the “fleur-de-lis”.

blue columbineBlue Columbine: The columbine is a flower composed of petals in a band that appears to look like doves (columba – Latin for doves). In regards to the Blessed Virgin Mary, this flower represents her fidelity. Blue is the most common color associated with Mary.

I hope that when you see these flowers again in art, around statues, or in pictures of her apparitions, you will have a better understanding of how they represent our Blessed Virgin Mary now and forever.