Monday, August 15, 2011

Saint Mary

Today is the Feast for the Assumption of St. Mary in the Catholic calendar. Being an Episcopal church, we still acknowledge the importance of Mary, but I thought I'd tell you a story about one of St. Mary's flowers that doesn't have the name "Mary" in it (the way that Marigold or Lily of the Valley do).


When the soldiers of King Herod were out killing little children, Mary and Joseph traveled through the mountains of Judea with the Baby Jesus. Joseph had gone into a nearby town, leaving Mary and the baby to shelter by the road. While he was gone, Mary, sitting at the side of the road, felt the vibrations in the road that told her the soldiers were coming.

She first went up to the Rose bush, and asked if it would open its petals and leaves and hide her and the baby from the soldiers. The Rose was rude, not only saying no, but to get out of its sunlight, as it had beautiful blooms to put out for all to admire. Mary then went to the Clove bush, and asked if it would allow her and the baby to hide among its leaves and flowers. The Clove bush refused, saying it was busy creating beautiful blossoms for all to see.

Finally Mary came to the Sage plant and asked if it would be willing to shelter her and the baby. The Sage plant agreed, blooming and filling out its leaves so abundantly that a whole canopy was created for them to hide under. The soldiers of Herod rode by, not noticing the plants or the woman and child.

In return for its shelter, Mary blessed the Sage plant with a sweet smell, and a useful life, wherein it could help many with the medicinal properties of its leaves and flowers. And since that time, the Rose has had thorns, and the Clove bush bad-smelling flowers.

If you'd like to see more stories about Mary's Flowers, there's a great book with legends, meditations and stories here.

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