02 July 2011

2 July - Visitation; Our Lady of the Garden

Weather: If it rains on St. Mary's Day, it will rain, off and on, for four weeks.

If it rains on St. Mary's Day, it will last until St. Mary Magdalene (22 July)

If it rains on the feast of Saints Processus and Martinian, there will be great rain storms and hail.

In the old calendar, this is the Feast of the Visitation, honoring the day that Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, and heard the words "Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb." Mary flowered into the Magnificat:

My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name. And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him. He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy: As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.

Dom Prosper Gueranger called it "a distinct feast [which] will allow us to honour in a special manner, the precious day on which the divine Child, sanctifying his Precursor, reveals himself to John by the voice of Mary; the day on which Our Lady, manifested by John leaping within the womb of his mother, proclaims at last the wondrous things operated within her by the Almighty, according to the merciful promise which he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever."

Read more about the Feast of the Visitation here (in the new calendar, May 31) and here, with an explanation of why the feast was held after the Birth of St. John the Baptist.

For love of Our Lord's Mother, this would be a good day to donate to a program which helps unwed mothers or to a local women's shelter (many of them have children in tow).  Even something as mundane as a package of diapers helps.  God bless you for your charity.

Also, today honors Our Lady of the Garden, from a painting of the Holy Mother on a garden wall in Chiavari, Italy.  Her title, "Maria, Hortus Conclusus" reminds us of the Song of Solomon:

"My sister, my spouse, is a garden enclosed, a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up. Thy plants are a paradise of pomegranates with the fruits of the orchard. Cypress with spikenard. Spikenard and saffron, sweet cane and cinnamon, with all the trees of Libanus, myrrh and aloes with all the chief perfumes. The fountain of gardens: the well of living waters, which run with a strong stream from Libanus."

"Arise, O north wind, and come, O south wind, blow through my garden, and let the aromatical spices thereof flow." 

If you do not already have a Mary Garden, consider starting one now.  Roses are appropriate, as are lilies, marigolds, Canterbury Bells, Bleeding Heart, and Lily-of-the-Valley.  My own garden is composed of herbs - rosemary, marjoram, catnip, foxgloves, and honesty plant.

For ideas on making a garden, with a list of flowering plants and herbs and their medieval names or religious meanings, read Mary Gardens: Flowers of Our Lady.  They also include suggestions to help celebrate the liturgical year.

Now, this might be a cultural myth, but supposedly, on this day in 1843, an alligator fell from the sky during a thunderstorm in Charleston, South Carolina.  This must have been quite startling, not least to the alligator. "Oh, Toto, I've a feeling we're not in the Everglades any more".