Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Lilium Candidum

These curious bulbs arrived this week from Holland. They are Lilium Candidum, also known as Madonna Lily. We've noted before that until the Protestant Reformation, very many flowers had names with Marian connotations. I imagine Madonna Lily survived that time of cultural and religious upheaval..

Madonna Lily is planted in the fall, but with a covering of only one to two inches of soil. Unlike tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses, Madonna Lily will put out a tuft of low-to-the-ground leaves and then in the spring begin to develop a stem, budding and flowering in the later summer. The flowers, facing outward, are waxy, brilliant white and highly fragrant. 

Often in Medieval paintings of the Annunciation (the Angel Gabriel announcing to Mary her pregnancy and Mary's ascent) either the angel holds a Madonna Lily or there is a vase holding a stem or two nearby. This 15th century Annunciation by Martin Schongauer illustrates this. Lilium Candidum aptly symbolizes Mary's Beatitude Heart: Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)

But to return to the first idea of fall planting ~ it is an invitation to deeper living. We can:

  • Plant ourselves in a good book that helps us to grow
  • Plant ourselves in a new company ~ less combative, negative or divisive
  • Plant ourselves in a discipline of  Gospel-study or prayer
  • Plant ourselves in new thinking that makes us better spouses or parents
  • Plant ourselves in a time of silence
  • Plant ourselves in a community or group of support for the  healing of addiction
  • Plant ourselves in professional therapy and not run away  when it gets difficult
  • Plant ourselves in a new job or new home
  • Plant ourselves in a parish through the ups and downs
  • Plant ourselves in a new life after a significant loss

1 comment:

  1. I love this idea of a fall re-planting to bring us into a deeper relationship between ourselves and God. Growing strong roots in our faith commitment.