Christ’s Passion Flower

Hi folks! I hope you’re keeping well…

I just wanted to share with you this photo of the beautiful Passion Flower I photographed when I was in England; it was just gracefully hanging over the neighbour’s fence, and the decorative, orange fruits languidly dripped from the verdant, intertwining branches.

The symbolic meaning of this flower is interesting and goes something like this:

The Passion flower (Passiflora) was named by Roman Catholic missionary priests who encountered the flower while on their journey in South America in the late 1500’s.  They named it after the Passion of Jesus Christ, believing that several parts of the plant symbolized features of His suffering and death.

The symbolic parts of the plant are:

  • the filaments that represent the crown of thorns that Jesus wore before His crucifixion,
  • the three stigmas on the passion flower which represent the three nails that held Jesus to the cross
  • the ten “petals”, His ten faithful apostles, and
  • the five anthers symbolise the five wounds that Jesus suffered when he was crucified.

The passion flower started to become widely known, and many used the flower to teach about the crucifixion.

The flower can also be used for medicinal purposes to treat such cases as: anxiety, insomnia, stress, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is also used for flavouring in foods.

To end this blog, here is a poem about the Passion Flower, written by Christopher Ifekandu Okigbo, a highly-acclaimed poet of Nigeria. He was also “a teacher, and librarian, who died fighting for the independence of Biafra. He is today widely acknowledged as an outstanding postcolonial English-language African poet and one of the major modernist writers of the 20th century… Despite his father’s devout Christianity (he was a teacher in Catholic missionary schools), Okigbo had an affinity, and came to believe later in his life, that in him was reincarnated  the soul of his maternal grandfather, a priest of Idoto, (the water goddess of the Idoto River in his hometown), an Igbo deity (Igbo, the people of south-east Nigeria). — Wikipedia

Passion Flower  — Christopher Ifekandu Okigbo (British Nigeria, 16 August 1932 – 1967)  

And the flower weeps

unbruised,

Lacrimae Christi,

For him who was silenced;

whose advent

dumb bells1 in the dim light celebrate

with wine song;

Messiah2 will come again,

After the argument in heaven3;

Messiah will come again,

Lumen mundi4

Fingers of penitence

bring

to a palm grove5

vegetable offering6

with five

fingers of chalk7.

Explanation of the poem:

1 — «dumb bell» referred to the practice in the Roman Catholic Church where bells are not rung between Maundy Thursday and the first Mass on Easter Sunday

2 — Messiah pointed at the expected King and Saviour (Jesus Christ).

3 —»after the argument in heaven» looks at the shaking of the powers of heaven referred to in The Gospel According to St. Luke, Chapter 21, verse 26, prior to the coming of the Son of Man, described in verse 27.

4 — “Lumen mundi”, the Light of the World (Jesus Christ)

5 — “Palm grove”, the place of sacrifice

6 — «vegetable offering», the fruits of the earth that are being sacrificed, that is, palm oil, kola nuts, alligator pepper and eggs of white hens

7 — «five fingers of chalk», the sacrificial chalk which is sold in «fingers».

(The explanation of the poem is taken from The Analysis of the poem Passion Flower by Christopher Okigbo)

Well, that’s all for now….

Thank you for visiting, your comments and/or questions are always welcome — take care! xxx

Easter Week in Posadas (Cordova, Spain)

It’s an intense week here in Spain being Easter week. Unfortunately the numerous processions which take place every day in almost every city, town and village have been cancelled for the second year running due to Covid. However, there is a lot that the church has organised that you can take part in, in a controlled, safe way, complying with all the regulations — meditations, contemplation, talks, prayers, retreats, expositions, just to name a few.

So for now I would just like to share with you some photos of the statues and floats that are usually paraded along the streets; these are typically accompanied by the brass band and rows of hooded penitents that quietly shuffle along. To see more photos and read about the processions you can visit my previous blog which I wrote last Easter Sunday.

The above statues are housed in the 18th century chapel, La Ermita del Niño Jesús in my local village of Posadas. The chapel has an interesting past which I mentioned in the last illustrated paras of one of my previous blogs.

This huge poster hangs from the façade of the parish church, Santa María de las Flores in Posadas. It reads:

Padre en tus manos enconmiendo mi espiritú…Yo soy la resurrección, la vida: el que cree en mi aunque haya muerto, vivirá… El que quiera siguirme, que se niegue a sí mismo, tome su cruz y me siga…

which translates as:

‘Father into your hands I commend my spirit… I am the resurrection and the life: he who believes in me although having died, will live again… Whoever wants to follow me, let him renounce himself, carry his cross and follow me…’

The above photo is a representation of the Last Supper table. This is inside the parish church, Santa María de Las Flores in Posadas.

The above is housed in the chapel, La Capilla de la Vera Cruz which is close to the Ermita mentioned previously

The following impressive statue of Mary, La Virgen de la Misericordia is in San Pedro church of Cordova.

I understand that all this might not be your cup of tea, but one just can’t help but appreciate the amount of artistic work and total devotion and dedication that these processions involve — take, for example, Mary’s cloak which is richly hand-embroidered — and that’s nothing to say about the woodwork, flower arrangements and craftsmanship in precious metals. Nor does it involve just this outward expression: it is accompanied by a quiet strength of faith, prayer, reflection and interiorism. It is a week of living and breathing the Word — a poignant and emotive time which culminates and comes to fruition on Easter Sunday.

Well, this just leaves me to early wish you all a Happy Easter and to wish you well.

Bye for now! xxx