Our Lady of Walsingham
"Wooden statue of the Mother of God with the Infant Christ at Walsingham. The statue, dating from the 19th century, was crowned with papal crowns in 1954, the year of the proclamation of the dogma of the Assumption. Shown here carried in procession traditionally led by the Arhcbishop of Westminster, the statue is surrounded by flowers traditionally associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary.
(Pictured in The Madonnas of Europe – Pilgrimates to the Great Marian Shrines of Europe – English edition 2002, Ignatius Press)"
I was perusing the net today and I came upon this picture of Our Lady. I am so taken by the thought of Her being presented in various arts symbolically. My children are so attracted to this symbolism too. They are fond of icons, old tapestries, mosaics, stained glass and now, the symbolism we find in Mary Gardens. It is as though the children are captivated by their unique "language" and are eager to decipher its meaning.
"Flowers are included in works of Christian art not only because they are pretty and decorative, but also because they had a particular meaning. ("Iconography" is the word used by art historians for the study of symbolism in works of art.) The symbolism of flowers was used especially in medieval and renaissance paintings and tapestries to reinforce the message of the main subject. Sometimes the background of a tapestry would be carpeted with symbolic flowers. In paintings, a bouquet in a vase might be included, or the Virgin or another person might hold flowers. Elaborately embroidered vestments often had floral decorations, and the borders of illuminated manuscripts were very often embellished with symbolic floral ornaments. The significance of the flowers was generally known at the time these works were originally produced for the decoration of churches or private dwellings (most are now in museums).
"Children are usually very interested in deciphering the message contained in these art works. And they may enjoy using this "code" themselves. A bouquet or wreath to honor Mary can be made of real or silk flowers, and could include those that traditionally symbolize Mary and her virtues and attributes."
Why is it that the children’s attractions in anything …most especially anything dealing with faith seem to capture my attention as well? THEY are teaching ME?! Yes! They have a special way of listening and responding to God where God speaks to them "personally and with profound simplicity". …and their JOY is contagious! Leave it to God to catch our attention with a sense of awe and wonder just like that of a child. I know from reading about The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd that God has a very special relationship with children. I guess it is because of that special relationship that we have with our little ones that we also get a glimpse of that same awe and wonder that they have with Him.
Listening to God With Children: The Montessori Method Applied to the Catechesis of Children by Gianna Gobbi, it talks about sharing religious experiences with children, a role which we are CALLED to live. It also states "there is only one true Teacher, who is Christ Himself". "Both our own joy to be living a religious experience with children, as well as our effectiveness as catechists, rests in our desire and commitment to listen to God with the children." …once again God knits His seamless garment….
(The term “seamless garment of life” was developed by Cardinal Bernardin as an attempt to link together all human life as valuable. We can have a more modest goal as we think about a “seamless garment of love” for children, born and unborn, and the women who nurture them." This quote came from a pro-life article that I read, but it struck my heart in a different kind of way….)