Living here in France it’s a joy to have so many Catholic feasts as national holidays, as a result I’m so much more aware of the liturgical year. So it’s become a desire of mine to start to note these feasts for my own soul, the souls of my family and therefore my community and wider society.
One of the ways I’ve started to do this is through little vignettes dedicated to them. They can be a reminder to those with knowledge who’ve fallen away. Or indeed a sign of hope that someone is publicly exposing them. Most importantly though you can teach your family through the symbols you use.
These images were taken when I first developed this lantern specific for the feast, and when I was starting my Catholic crafting adventure. Since then I’ve learnt new skills and if I were to do it now I’d used a waterslide decal, similar to the Saint Nicholas feast wreath. As a result I haven’t done a how to, but follow me to be notified when posts come out because there will be more in the future.
In the meantime I’m going to outline the symbolism of the vignette and how it relates to the mystery of the Immaculate Conception.
So what do we have?
A symbol of Mary is in an enclosed garden representing her perpetual virginity. Catholics believe Mary never consummated her marriage to Jospeh as she was the spouse of the Holy Spirit. Formal marriage is a reflection of natural law in that men and women come together and produce ‘fruit’ from their union, that is children. When considered like this it is evident that Mary was indeed married to the Holy Spirt in order to become the mother of Jesus. Any formal marriage to Jospeh was therefore chaste.
Funnily enough I don’t have an enclosed garden that I can put on my mantlepiece, so I used the lantern to signify the same meaning. The lantern being of glass symbolises Mary’s purity too, but we’re not considering sexual purity here but her purity from original sin.
Most of the time Mary is symbolised with Lilly’s on this feast, but I didn’t have any. However I’ve placed roses at her feet. Those at her side, alas, weren’t white. Mary is often depicted with a mystic rose which shows her mystical participation with the Holy Trinity.
I placed Jesus next to Mary to show how her immaculate formation drew on His redemptive work of the cross.
The statue of Mary I chose refers to her New Eve status, she is shown crushing the head of the serpent.
The candles and fairy lights represent the Light of the World that she gave birth to, that her body nourished and therefore the need for her purity.
If you have a small toy crown you could rest that on her head, and decorate with stars too.
I’d also like to have two images of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, perhaps in a beautiful frame, which I don’t have. So I put two hearts in the lantern with the roses, one of clear glass, to represent her state without sin.
You’ll notice on the glass there is beginning of the scripture passage that we partly rest this dogma on, divided like this between the four window pains;
full of Grace
is with thee”
They’re written in gold because of they’re importance.
I’m excited to get this out again during the advent season this year!
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