The Flowers of the Mass
Nicholas de La Flue was a successful landowner, with a large family and a desirable home. He was also a devout man. Each night, he led his family in praying the Rosary. After all the others had gone to bed, he stayed up many nights in hours of prayer. At the age of 50, he had a particularly moving experience that led him to consider devoting the rest of his life to God alone. After much reflection and discussion, both with his wife and the priest to whom he turned for counsel, he left his family. He spent the next twenty years in seclusion and prayer in the hills of Switzerland. It is reported that, during that time, he subsisted on the Eucharist alone. He was later canonized and is a beloved saint of the Swiss people.
Once, he and a brother shared the same vision. “While this good man was one day present at Mass, he saw a large tree full of the most beautiful flowers. He soon noticed that the flowers began to fall down upon those who were present. But some of the flowers, as soon as they fell, became withered and dry, while others retained their freshness and fragrance. After Mass, he related this vision to his brother, and requested him to explain its meaning. The brother replied that he, too, had seen the vision, and he explained it as follows: ‘The tree,’ said he, ‘ is the Holy Mass; the beautiful flowers which it bears are the fruits of the Holy Mass; the withering of many of the flowers signifies that many of the graces which our Lord distributes in the Mass are lost, because Christians are not recollected and devout while they assist at this sacrifice, or because they afterwards allow worldly thoughts to stifle all the good inspirations which they have received; the flowers, which retained their odor and beauty, signify the permanent fruits which those Christians derive from the Mass who assist at it with reverence and devotion, and who, after having left the church, are still mindful of the great blessings which they have received from this holy sacrifice. ‘”*
This Lent, when we attend Mass, let us try to retain some of the flowers.
*Muller, Michael, The Blessed Eucharist, Our Greatest Treasure (Fr. Pustet, New York and Cincinnati, 1880) p. 267.