For centuries one of the customs at Corpus Christi processions is strewing (throwing) flowers before Jesus in the monstrance to proclaim Him our King in a very special and public manner. Many saints have written about this wonderful experience but one of the most well known is St Therese of Lisieux (Doctor of the Church),
“I loved especially the processions in honor of the Blessed Sacrament. What a joy it was for me to throw flowers beneath the feet of God! Before allowing them to fall to the ground, I threw them as high as I could, and I was never so happy as when I saw my roses touch the sacred monstrance.”
In ancient times when earthly kings entered the city or left their castle, the people greeted the king with flowers and petals to express their love, loyalty, and to proclaim that they were joyful to be part of his kingdom. In the past, it was also seen at weddings to express the people’s love and acceptance. Traditionally in the past, we do the same at Corpus Christi processions,
“How shall I show my love is proved by deeds? Well – the little child will strew flowers…she will embalm the Divine Throne with their fragrance, will sing with a silvery voice the canticle of love.
Yes, my Beloved, it is thus that my life’s brief day shall be spent before Thee. No other means have I of proving my love than to strew flowers; that is, to let no little sacrifice escape me, not a look, not a word, to avail of the very least actions and do them for Love. I wish to suffer for Love’s sake and for Love’s sake even to rejoice; thus shall I strew flowers. Not one shall I find without shedding its petals for Thee…and then I will sing, I will always sing, even if I must gather my roses in the very midst of thorns – and the longer and sharper the thorns the sweeter shall be my song.”
St Therese of Lisieux
It is in these processions where many have converted to Catholicism eg: Blessed Niels Steensen (1638 – 1686), founding father of geology, paleontology, and crystallography. Blessed Niels,
“Observed with curiosity and perplexity the Corpus Christi procession and the fervor surrounding it. Banners and tapestries were swinging in the gentle breeze coming from the sea…Petals and flowers rained down on all sides… how I could do nothing but offer Him the best of myself…”
If you are looking for a Corpus Christi procession may I wholeheartedly recommend the one at Saint Mary Cathedral on Saturday, June 17, 2017 following the 5:30 P.M. vigil Mass. Come process with Our Lord Jesus Christ as He blesses the four corners of the earth at four different altars in the city. Come sing and pray from the Cathedral to the steps of Texas State Capitol, to the Texas State Cemetery, and ending with reposition at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish.
Saint Mary Cathedral
203 E 10th St
Austin, TX 78701
Saturday, June 17, 2017 following the 5:30 P.M. vigil Mass.
Finally, may we describe our joy of the procession like St Therese of Lisieux’s does in her poem.
“Strewing Flowers” (abridged)
Strewing Flowers is offering you as first fruits
My slightest sighs, my greatest sufferings.
My sorrows and my joys, my little sacrifices,
Those are my flowers!…….
Strewing flowers, Jesus, is my weapon
When I want to fight to save sinners.
The victory is mine…I always disarm you
With my flowers!!!…
Strewing Flowers, repeating your praise,
That is my delight in this valley of tears.
Soon I shall go to Heaven with the little angels
To strew Flowers!…