Way back in the day, say, the early mid-1970s, as a teenager, in Minnesota, when Fall colors would be at their explosive height, I would go out into the local forest, right off the back porch, and collect some small, still alive branches from oak and maple trees, with their ferocious oranges and reds, and from poplars and birch, with their striking yellow displays, and from the (non-poisonous) sumac bushes, with their burnt red fronds. I would throw in some craggley branches with no leaves, just for effect, not to mention milkweed pods, with or without their parachute seeds.
This would all be uncerimoneously — however carefully — shoved into a gargantuan clay vase — perhaps two and half feet tall on it’s own — which I had made out of rolled clay and had fired up at the local high school that I was attending. The vase was the absolutely most ugliest vase ever to have been made in the history of mankind, a quality which, with my imagination, gave it a charm all its own. My mother agreed. The rather stupendous displays of nature that found their way into that vase (no longer extant, alas), would take pride of place on the sideboard of the kitchen/dining room.
Of course, none of this was necessary, for one only had to lift one’s eyes to see, through any window, the magnificence of nature in all her glory. But it was the thought, as the saying goes, that counts, and it does, in the heart of any mother.
The Immaculate Conception, the Mother of God, with her pure heart, could rejoice, and did, in the stupendous displays put on by our Creator. But how much more would she rejoice if her Divine Son, little Jesus, would bring her some sign of affection by way of a flower or colorful leaf or two?
Don’t forget to bring something to our Lady. It will do good for your soul. Truly.
But Father! But Father! All the world is going to hell and you’re worried about flowers and leaves, about milkweed pods of all things!
Well, not worried. Just enthusiastic. Such a small action is a far reaching prayer, for it unites us with our Lord’s own enthusiasm for all that is good and holy. This kind of thing does not go unnoticed by Him. The other way around.