Saturday, February 15, 2014

Mary's Star (the daffodil)

Another flower associated with the upcoming feast of the Annunciation in the old English table of flowers is the daffodil (below).  It is from the same botanical classification as narcissus (such as paper whites) and jonquil.
Several internet sites proclaim that the daffodil is "Mary's Star" but do not offer a story to explain the association.   It seems quite possible, however -- given the shape and color of the daffodil blossom -- that the connection is to the 12 golden stars that make up Mary's crown.

The source for Mary being crowned with 12 stars is the New Testament Book of the Apocalypse or Revelation. Written by the Apostle John, it refers in verse 12:1 to the “great sign of the woman in the sky, … clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.”
St. Bonaventure preached a sermon on another Marian feast day -- the Assumption -- where he connected the twelve stars to twelve attributes of Mary that might be summarized as follows:

1.       Freedom from sin
2.       Purity
3.       Fullness of grace
4.       Perfect knowledge of God
5.       Perfect virtue of charity
6.       Excellence in acts of charity
7.       Exaltation above all other pure creatures
8.       Embodiment of dignity
9.       Childbirth without suffering
10.     Virgin and mother
11.      Highest dignity as the Mother of God
12.     Mother of God in the flesh and mother of men and women in the spirit
Thus, twelve daffodils divided into two small vases with some slender foliage might make a simple but very meaningful altar flower arrangement for March 25.


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