Flowers: Reminders of Redemptive Suffering
After praying the Joyful Mysteries last night, I came across an article in the on-line enyclopedia All About Mary at the Marian Library at the University of Dayton, Ohio. The article, Reparation through Flowers, by John S. Stokes Jr., is one of the most in-depth and beautiful articles I ever read on Redemptive Suffering. Those of you who attend our prayers on Zoom, know that my intention in praying for our Guild is to consecrate and offer all of the sufferings of those with mental illness to Our Lord and Our Lady to make reparation and to console Their Hearts. In return, we pray and hope much grace to be given back to those with mental illness, their families and friends and especially members of our Guild. This meditation on Redemptive Suffering fits perfectly with the Guild's mission.
As an introduction, I posted just a few quotes from the article followed by the pictures of the flowers which were used. I encourage you to scroll down read the article in its entirety.
Timothy Duff, STM, MA Cert., ERD, BCC Guardian and Founder
"It is because of the massive accumulation of unrepaired effects of sin in the world, that Mary, in her mediated divine revelations at Fatima, and then at Akita - both approved by the Church for devotion - beseeched that for peace on earth there must be a fullness of our loving offering, with Christ."
"One means widely and readily at hand which can quicken our reparational offerings through the day are flowers which, as direct creations of God, were seen in medieval times, before the days of printing and general literacy, as familiar religious symbols, and which can be seen as such again today."
"In the broadest view, the very colors of flowers were seen as symbolic of the Gospel mysteries: white of the joyful, red of sorrowful, yellow/gold of the glorious - and now, purple of the luminous. Then there is a myriad of flowers, such as those illustrated here, whose forms were seen to symbolize aspects of Gospel mysteries, events and persons. Knowledge of such symbolism leads to quickening by all flowers."
Passion Flower (pictured above) - Symbol of Christ's Passion and Cross: including his scourging, crowning with thorns, three nails and five wounds
Iris Spears - Symbol of the sword of sorrow spiritually piercing Mary's heart and soul that the "many thoughts" of the sins and sufferings of the world taken upon himself by Christ be revealed to her for her coredemptive sacrificial offering with him, which we are to emulate
Bleeding Hearts - Symbols of both Jesus and Mary, united in redemptive and coredemptive sacrifice
Turban Lily - "Mary's Tears", from her sorrowful sufferings spiritually experienced at the foot of the Cross - as revealed at La Salette, and emitted from her Redemptoris Mater statue at Akita. and a number of others
Straw Flower - "Christ's Eye" symbolizing his appeal to us, while carrying his Cross, to share in his suffering sacrifice
Piripiri - "Forgiveness Plant" symbolizing the barbs of anger or irritation at offenses, to be purged that our forgiveness my be truly pure and sweet
Bee-Balm - "Sweet Mary" - from her forgiveness of offenses, free from sins of anger or irritation
Chicory - The "Heavenly Way" of virtue rather than response to temptations
University of Georgia Plant Biology
Dragisa Savic Nature Photography
Jerusalem Botanical Gardens
New Millennium Flower Essences
USDA Plants Database
Reparation through Flowers
– John S. Stokes Jr., July 2006
A key need of our time in religious history is for the widest participation in Christ's sacrificial reparation of the world temporal effects of sin, which prompt so many to violence. The immediate, pressing task at hand today is thus our fullest participation in Christ's reparational deliverance of the world from these temporal effects of sin - for which we pray in Mass, and in essence in the Our Father, the Lord's Prayer.
The basic assumption of this participation - from the revelation of Genesis, and from observation in infants and small children - is that in the fallen world we are still created in basic goodness, but this is then corrupted by the temporal effects of sin in the world environment . . .transmitted and accumulated through the years from the original sin of our first parents in their response to the temptation of Satan. However, it is our faith and hope that, with a fullness of the divine/human sharing desired and willed for Creation by God, Christ's redemption of the world for Kingdom will accomplish the needed reparation for the temporal effects of sin, as well as forgiveness for the sins creating them.
The dual path of Christ's redemption is set forth for us in the simplest terms in the Our Father - the Lord's Prayer - in which in addition to praying for the forgiveness of sins, we pray that the corrupting environment of values be overcome with God's assistance through our forgiveness of offenses, our avoidance of temptation, and our deliverance from evil. Deliverance from evil is too often viewed as only to be prayed for, and awaited, dependently, rather than obtained actively through our sharing penitentially in Christ's redeeming and repairing sacrifice, "making up what is wanting in the suffering of "Christ." (Col. I, 24)
It is widely understood that our sins are forgiven, and in satisfaction to the Father, through Christ's taking them upon himself for their dissolution through the sacrificial death of his body on Calvary - in which we are called and enabled to share through our re-enactive continuation of his sacrifice of Calvary in the Mass.
However, it would appear that the need for reparation for the temporal effects of sin in the world is not adequately understood, and acted upon because of the mistaken belief that conflicts can be resolved through discursive, logistical strategy, tactics and timing of action and negotiation in accordance with moral norms; whereas in actuality without reparative spiritual dissolution of the effects of sin, logistical action and discursive negotiation, however loving and moral, can only be a rejuggling of the effects of sin..
It is because of the massive accumulation of unrepaired effects of sin in the world, that Mary, in her mediated divine revelations at Fatima, and then at Akita - both approved by the Church for devotion - beseeched that for peace on earth there must be a fullness of our loving offering, with Christ. What is evidently required, further, is more than one-time reparational services, but a widespread reparational continuity of sacrificial offering for and with Christ through each day of all works as they are undertaken, and of all diminishments and sufferings as experienced.
Our virtual offerings at Mass, in Eucharistic adoration, in our Morning Offerings, and in our praying of the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary are fulfilled in the concreteness of our actual offerings made through the day in loving spiritual communion with Jesus as he, in his infinity, takes them sacrificially on himself.
One means widely and readily at hand which can quicken our reparational offerings through the day are flowers which, as direct creations of God, were seen in medieval times, before the days of printing and general literacy, as familiar religious symbols, and which can be seen as such again today.
In the broadest view, the very colors of flowers were seen as symbolic of the Gospel mysteries: white of the joyful, red of sorrowful, yellow/gold of the glorious - and now, purple of the luminous. Then there is a myriad of flowers, such as those illustrated here, whose forms were seen to symbolize aspects of Gospel mysteries, events and persons. Knowledge of such symbolism leads to quickening by all flowers.
In this, in addition to recourse to the quickening of reflection by bouquets of cut flowers seen everywhere, all have the ability to undertake the cultivation of plants, whether in gardens, patios or window boxes outdoors, or indoors on windowsills, in dish gardens or as a single house plant - as constant reminders and quickeners for our sacrificial offerings for and with Christ through the day.
Additionally, the cultivation of flowers or even one flower symbolizing for the medieval faithful Christ's and Mary's redemptive and co-redemptive reparational sacrifices, serves to heighten our own sense of sacrificial sharing and spiritual communion with both Jesus and Mary, for the deliverance of the world from evils - with quickening of our hope that massive sacrifices not be imposed externally as a consequence of unrepaired temporal effects of sin, as warned by Our Lady at Fatima and Akita.
A prayer which can be repeated through the day with each work undertaken, or adversity or suffering experienced is:
"All for and with you, my Jesus, through the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of Mary, in reparation for temporal effects of sin in the world that, delivered from their evil, the hearts and minds of all - and especially those of world leaders, dissidents and insurgents - may be freed increasingly to respond in their thus liberated inherent created goodness, to the graces of forgiveness, reconciliation, peace , and just compromise beseeched in the prayers and sacrifices of the Holy Father and all the faithful."
Finally, flowers help us also to envisage, as the temporal effects of sin are repairingly dissolved in souls, the flowering of virtues in the redeemed spiritual soil of their natural goodness.
Source: Click link below to be taken to the online encylopedia of the Marian Library named All About Mary