Friday, January 23, 2009

Our Lady's Heavenly Wardrobe

The Blessed Mother is indeed a wonderful lady. And like all woman, she likes CLOTHES! I cannot wait to see her complete wardrobe when I am hopefully enjoying the festivities of Heaven with her one day.

Of course, Mary is a woman whose will is perfectly aligned with that of God because it was her first "Yes!" that enabled the Son of God to be born. Therefore, Mary must surely regard the gift of clothing with

By this I mean that I'm sure she doesn't wear her clothes with pride or desire more outfits with greed. In her sanctity, the Blessed Mother is able to enjoy them for what they are without making idols of them. Everything she does gives glory and honor to God because she has truly been His best servant. So why would her selection of attire be any less glorifying to Him?

There are many ways in which God has honored the Mother of Jesus for her love and commitment to Him. The first way in which He did this was by redeeming her from original sin at the point of conception (unlike us, who are redeemed much later). He prevented her physical death and assumed her (body and soul) into Heaven. And then, upon her entrance there, a beautiful coronation ceremony took place to crown her with the title of Queen of Heaven & Earth. Can you imagine what it must have been like to witness THAT event?

But among all the many gifts (known and unknown by us) that God has given Our Mother, He must have surely given her a wonderful team of angels to design her clothes, directed by one obviously amazing Tailor. [However, as I will point out later, I do believe one of this Tailor's signature styles is to not hem dresses at the ankle. He--or perhaps more precisely, Mary--seems to prefers the hem to be low enough to cover her feet.]

If you study Marian apparitions, you will notice that Mary, in her great love for us, hand-selects outfits that will help us to relate to her when she appears in an apparition.

The story of her appearance to Juan Diego is a great example of Our Mother choosing her attire to put us at ease. When she appeared to this poor Mexican man in 1531, she wore a beautiful Mexican dress and veil. She thought of every detail because the pattern on her mantle cloth means something in the
Nahuatl codex, which is what the natives spoke back then. In addition, she wore a sash around her waist, which pregnant women did in that culture.  So Our Mother was quite literally bringing a pro-life message of hope to the people in her clothes! If you have a moment, go to the website of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and it will explain the translation for you!

Hanging in her Heavenly closet is also a dress and veil made of a beautiful kimono-like fabric which she wore in one of her several apparitions in Japan.

One of her most ornate dresses is the one she wore for her appearance in Czestochowa. The deep blue fabric she wore was speckled with stars, and the edging of her mantle was trimmed in gold!

In her current
appearances at Medjugorje, Mary delivers her message of peace, fasting, and conversion while wearing simple garments (a gray dress with a white veil, the visionaries say), relating well to the people of this poor farming village.

When she appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel to St. Simon Stock back in the
12th century, she wore an outfit in the same brown and tan color scheme as the religious hermits wore that lived on the mountain on which she appeared. In that way, she affirmed their contemplative and prayerful lifestyle!

There must be many other beautiful outfits in Our Lady's Heavenly Wardrobe! But it is only through authentic apparitions that we are able to glimpse more of what is hanging in her Heavenly Closet.

Her beauty has inspired hundreds of artists to draw, paint, or sculpt her wearing other beautiful, flowing robes. And while these outfits drawn by artists are indeed beautiful and may be quite similar to something that she already has in her wardrobe, the true way to discover what Mary has in her wardrobe is to read from the experiences of visionaries who have been blessed to see her!

The picture at right is a HORRIBLE picture of me beside a BEAUTIFUL statue of Mary which I happened to encounter in a friary's library in New York back in 2006. I was delighted to discover that the artist who made the statue gave Mary a pair of matching light blue shoes!! Never before had I seen a statue of Mary wearing SHOES other than perhaps a thin pair of sandals! Normally, I think she likes to go barefoot. :-)

Perhaps it is just that Mary doesn't have much need for shoes. The terrain of Heaven is nothing like here, I am sure!

In my research of Marian apparitions, I have never read anything about her feet. Most visionaries are so delighted with her radiant smile and beauty that they forget to look at her feet, or--if they do happen to look--her feet are usually covered, either by her long dress or by the soft little white cloud she so often stands in.  In her appearance to St. Bernadette in Lourdes, France, beautiful yellow roses covered her feet.

As if the Blessed Mother isn't already so very special to me, I have found
yet another reason to find her endearing: In her simple humility, she still prefers to wear clothing in the same general structure (that being a robe-like dress with a long veil) as she did during the time period in which she lived here on Earth. A free-flowing dress certainly gives comfort, so Mary is quite wise to keep wearing it! :-)

Even her cascading, free-flowing locks (which humbly hide behind her mantle) show again her unique IDENTITY which was formed during that Biblical time period (where women simply let their hair hang long but hid it beneath cloth).

Even today, she forgoes wearing jewelry, again keeping with the pheasant girl identity she developed in her early life. By this, she remains humble and thus clearly remembers her "roots." [I can only imagine that when she wears an elegant and ornate gown it is at the insistence of God and the angels! And I can only imagine that she would wear it joyfully, thus honoring God by honoring her own dignity.]

I think it's neat how--even though she could have the latest, trendy fashions at her fingertips--she still prefers to wear that which she "knows," even if the general structure of her attire would be considered "out of date" by modern-day designers.

By this, she stays true to HERSELF.

By bringing God's message, she stays true to GOD.

And by doing all that she does to gently approach us in her motherly way (yes, even with her attire!), she stays true to US.

Thank you, Mary, for your example and love!