Monday, May 4, 2015

Maypop: His Glory Revealed In A Flower

In the year 1609,
an Augustine friar named
Emmanuel de Villegas
arrived in Rome
from Mexico.

He had brought with
him on his journey
 some drawings of a
most unusual and
beautiful flower.

Known in Spanish as,
"Flor de las Cinco Llagas"
"Flower of the Five Wounds"
this lovely plant was
well-known by members
of the religious orders
bringing the Gospel
message of Christ
 to the lands 
claimed by Spain
in the New World.

Friar de Villegas
shared his drawings
with church historian
Giacomo Bosio.

 A brother of the
 Order of St. John of Jerusalem,
the monastic scholar
 was at the time
 busy working on
a treatise on the 
Cross at Calvary.
However, intrigued by
 these beautiful flowers,
Brother Giacomo later decided to
include the drawings in his book.

 "It may well be," he wrote,
 that in His infinite wisdom it pleases Him
 to create it thus, shut up and protected,
 as though to indicate
 that the wonderful mysteries of the cross
 and of His passion
 were to remain hidden
 from the heathen people 
of these countries
 until the time preordained
 by His highest Majesty."

"The Legend of the Passion Flower "

The unique corona
 of the Maypop, 
commonly known as
 the Passion Flower,
 represents the crown of thorns
 forced upon Jesus' head
 by His Roman tormentors
in mockery of Him as
"King of the Jews".
. The flower's ten sepals and petals
 are symbolic of only ten of
the original twelve Apostles,
 the exceptions being Judas and Peter, 
(the former was the Lord's betrayer
the latter denied knowing Him three times
prior to His death on the Cross. )
The plant's five anthers represent
 the five wounds on Christ's body.
The three stigmas are the nails
that pierced His hands and feet. 
 The leaves denote the spear
 that pierced Jesus' side. 
 The tendrils stand for the scourges
 that flayed His flesh.

Mexican Passion Flower

The story of the apostle Peter
vividly reflects the condition
of the human heart.
He not only thought
his faith unassailable, but,
as one of  Christ's
hand-picked disciples,
Peter loved the Lord and
had personal fellowship
 with Him.
And yet, when called
to stand with Jesus at
that crucial moment,
Peter failed miserably. 
"Before the cock crows, you
will deny Me three times."

These words undoubtedly
echoed in Peter's 
troubled mind for days,
perhaps years, after the
Lord's death on the Cross.

And yet, we know
that the Lord loved Peter,
and forgave him for his
moment of weakness,
for his lack of faith.

We can take courage
in Peter's story,
and, in the reassurance,
 that when we are weak,
He is strong.

Red Passion Flower

"Come to Him,
that Living Stone,
which men tried 
and threw away,
but which is chosen
and precious
in God's sight.

Come, and like living stones,
be yourselves built
into a spiritual house,
for a holy priesthood,
to offer up spiritual
sacrifices that are
acceptable and
pleasing to God
Jesus Christ.

For thus it stands
in Scripture:
"Behold, I am laying
in Zion a chosen
and he who believes
in Him shall never
 be disappointed
or put to shame."

1 Peter 2:4-6

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