Flowers And Catholicism
The archetypal flower symbolizing purity is the white Madonna lily (Lilium candidum). The association of the flower with the Virgin Mary dates to early Christianity, an apparent legend, according to which her tomb was filled with lilies after her assumption into heaven. Religious commentators, including the Venerable Bede, explained that the white petals represented her spotless body and the golden stamens, her glowing soul. This mystic flower appeared most often in paintings of the Annunciation, representing the moment when the Angel Gabriel announced to the Virgin that she would bear God's son. A white lily was placed in a vase in the foreground of the scene, or held by the Angel, and sometimes a small enclosed garden known as the hortus conclusus reinforced the message of virginity. This type of devotional painting influenced other scenes of the Virgin and Child with saints, also set in gardens with lilies and other flowers. Other white, lily-like flowers reflected this meaning, especially lily-of-the-valley, leucojum and snowdrops, or white flowers with golden centers like roses and daisies. The rose flower is used in Italy all through the month of May. Everyone who can secure roses, places them in his oratory or on a table. Both red and white roses have been emblematic of the Virgin since very early times, and were dedicated to Venus before that. When St. Dominic instituted the devotion of the Rosary, he recognized this symbolism and indicated the separate prayers as tiny Roses. May - the Month of May or Madonna's Month - was originally linked to Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers and of spring. Further. The five petals of a rose flower are believed to represent Christ´s wounds - white was the color of purity and red, that of his sacrificial blood.
Although giving flowers to Mary during a Catholic wedding is not part of the Rite of Marriage , many couples who have a devotion to Mary want to take a moment before the conclusion of the liturgy to offer prayers to Mary as they begin their life together. Mary is a wonderful model of how we are to live out our faith and trust in God.
Couples will often bring a flower to the statue of Mary in the church and offer prayers asking for her intercession. This ritual usually takes place at the end of the ceremony, before the Final blessing. You may also be able to choose a Marian hymn such as the “Ave Maria” to be sung during this time. Praying the Hail Mary after laying the flowers before the statue of Mary is a simple way to carry out this devotion. Check with parish guidelines about what options are available to you.