This time, five years ago, we were planning the final touches on my daughter’s wedding. Two Type-A personalities, with a checklist in hand, managed to complete everything on our list of to-dos. The only thing left was for the weather to cooperate, so out came the Blessed Mother statue from the bedroom and into the foyer window……….face out.
When my kids were little, they had all kinds of little customs to force nature’s hand and bring about their weather wishes. There was the wearing of their pajama bottoms inside-out and backward to bring on a snowstorm and inevitable school cancellation. There was also the spoon under the pillow and ice cubes in the toilet for the same reason. The custom that seemed to be most popular, however, was placing our statue of the Blessed Mother in the window, seeking her intercession for beautiful weather.
Although there were many a conversation between my daughter and me regarding our lack of control over the weather on her wedding day, we were determined that we weren’t going to let it ruin the day. After all, it rained on my wedding day and 38 years later, we’re still going strong. Actually, water is a sign of blessing and symbolic of new beginnings in the Catholic Church. So either way, it was a win-win!
Let’s face it though, despite our outward submission to “what will be”, deep down every bride wants a beautiful day whether it’s so there is no sloshing around from venue to venue or to take beautiful outdoor pictures.
I did a little research and placing a Blessed Mother statue in the window is an old Italian Catholic tradition. Apparently, the Irish have a similar custom using the Infant of Prague statue. The Roaring Water Journal website had a nice blog story about it here. Just to be sure we were covered, both statues sat in the foyer for weeks. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day – mid 70’s and sunshine all day. The week before was cold and rainy, the week after was hot and humid………just sayin’.
Just for the record, there are many of the belief that Catholics worship statues – a form of idolatry because of this, many Christians believe statues are forbidden. This concept couldn’t be farther from the truth. In Deuteronomy, God warns the Israelites against “fashioning an idol to represent any figure, whether it be the form of a man or of a woman” or of other creatures (4:15-18). If we read further, the rest of the commandment makes clear that God forbids making of such images with the intention of worshiping them as the pagans did.
Those very commandments were instructed to be placed in a sacred ark to be decorated with golden images of angelic beings called cherubim (Ex 25:10-22), Ex 25: 33-36, 26:1, 1KGs 6:23-7:51, 2Chr 3:10-4:22.
Catholics display images as an aid to remembering and honoring our Lord. To light candles, place flowers, or even kneel to pray around images, Catholics are expressing their love and honor of those who are represented in the image – the Blessed Mother, angels, and saints.
When our loved ones pass, we often display photos of them, drawing our love and affection to the memory of the person in the image. We don’t worship the photo, we honor the memory. None of these things should draw our attention away from God but should be a vessel in giving Him honor and glory for all He has created, especially the lives of those whom we love and respect.