I sing the arms and the man

Pope Francis has retained his heraldic motto, 'miserando atque eligendo' which refers to the mercy Jesus shows to those he calls. So our Holy Father has a great devotion to Divine Mercy. from CNS:

The Latin motto stands for “having had mercy, he called him.”

Mercy has been a particular theme of Pope Francis in his homilies and reflections. Most recently he spoke about mercy in his March 17 Sunday Angelus address, reminding the packed piazza that “the Lord never gets tired of forgiving, it is we that get tired of asking forgiveness.”

 from news.va

The motto is one the Pope had already chosen as Bishop. It is taken from the homilies of the Venerable Bede on Saint Matthew's Gospel relating to his vocation:"Jesus saw the tax collector and by having mercy chose him as an Apostle saying to him : Follow me."

This homily, which focuses on divine mercy and is reproduced in the Liturgy of the Hours on the Feast of Saint Matthew, has taken on special significance in the Pope's life and spiritual journey.
In fact it was on the Feast of Saint Matthew in 1953 that a young seventeen year-old Jorge Bergoglio was touched by the mercy of God and felt the call to religious life in the footsteps of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

Beyond the motto, the coat of arms has a blue field and is surmounted by the mitre and the papal keys. On the crest itself at the centre is the symbol of the Jesuits, a flaming sun with the three letters recalling the name and the salvific mission of Jesus. Underneath we have two more symbols: to the right the star representing Mary and to the left the nard flower representing Joseph.

I think the Jesuits will be celebrating that their motto is now a papal crest. In Detroit, the parishioners of Ss. Peter and Paul Jesuit are excited, including my parents and my aunt, who are featured in this article and captions.

Several parishioners at Ss. Peter and Paul on Sunday said they were heartened by Pope Francis' humble bearing, including his decision to take the bus back from the Sistine Chapel with the other cardinals after his election.
"He's such a simple guy," said Mike Peters, 64, of Auburn Hills. "He lives what he believes."
Added Peters' wife, Helen: "Our son is a Jesuit studying to be a priest. He could be Pope now. This is wonderful."
Donna Versele, 66, of Warren, said she's inspired by Pope Francis' dedication to helping the poor — a hallmark of the Jesuit order.
"The message he's giving to the poor is so refreshing," she said. "Hopefully the Jesuit theme of caring for the whole world, and not just your own backyard, will take hold.
"He's got my eye and ear, and I'm waiting to see what he does next," Versele said. "It's so neat."

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130317/LIFESTYLE04/303170341#ixzz2NvIrANpi

The IHS symbol is a monogram of the name, Jesus Christ.

The gold star on an azure field represents Mary, the Star of the Sea, which is also the symbol of my ancestors, the Acadians, who settled the maritime provinces of Canada.

The nard flower is hard to uncover. According to Zenit and EWTN, there is only this alluring statement:      To the right of the star is the image of the spikenard, an aromatic plant, meant to symbolize St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church. According to spanish iconographic tradition, St. Joseph is depicted holding a branch of spikenard in his hand.
What is this iconographic tradition to which they refer?

All I can find is this tantalizing tidbit from Augusta.edu:

Briefly, in the Protevangelium an angel tells the priests to call all the widowers to come to the Temple with their rods; there will then be a sign to show which of the widowers should be betrothed to Mary. St. Joseph is chosen when a dove flies out of his rod. A millenium later, the Golden Legend tells essentially the same story but with a flower growing out of the rod and a dove alighting on it; the Legend also ties this episode to Isaiah 11:1, "And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root." This episode is sometimes represented in medieval art 

"Anon came a voice out of the oracle and said that, all they that were of the house of David that were convenable to be married and had no wife, that each of them should bring a rod to the altar, and his rod that flourished, and, after the saying of Isaiah, the Holy Ghost sit in the form of a dove on it, he should be the man that should be desponsate and married to the Virgin Mary. And Joseph, of the house of David, was there among the others, and him seemed to be a thing unconvenable, a man of so old age as he was to have so tender a maid, and whereas others brought forth their rods he hid his. And when nothing appeared according to the voice of God, the bishop ordained for to ask counsel again of our Lord. And he answered that, he only that should espouse the virgin had not brought forth his rod. And then Joseph by the commandment of the bishop brought forth his rod, and anon it flowered, and a dove descended from heaven thereupon, so that it was clearly the advice of every man that he should have the virgin. And then he espoused the Virgin Mary, and returned into his city of Bethlehem for to ordain his meiny and his house, and for to fetch such things as were necessary." - from the Golden Legend

Apparently this was depicted as a spikenard flower. I am so fascinated by this. I tend to disagree with the popular view of Joseph as an old man, taking instead the view of Fulton Sheen. Either way, I think we can clearly see a reference to Joseph's virginity in the flowering rod.

Thus, we have a Pope devoted to Divine Mercy, Franciscan poverty, and the Holy Family- could it get any better?

1 comment:

MaryofSharon said...

I stumbled across your blog doing research on the meaning of the spikenard. I came to the same conclusion you did about the spikenard. See my comments at Adam's Ale after the priest who writes the blog expressed a desire to discover what spikenard had to do with St. Joseph. You can see there that I found some sources and some helpful photos that confirm pretty clearly that spikenard must be referring to Joseph's flowering rod: http://clevelandpriest.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-new-coat-of-arms.html

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