THE CAMELLIA, THE CHURCH, AND THE SCIENCES

Pure beauty!

cam white pure
The Camellia stands for Perseverance.   One reason is that this is the 30th day of May, and it’s noted that you’ve come this far, nearly to the end of May in honoring Christ by bringing these meaningful flowers daily to His mother.    That’s perseverance!   On my part it is accidental perseverance;  I never intended to continue these flowers all throughout the month.  I didn’t think I could!

I hope you will practice some perseverance in reading this post, because there is much to think about.  Pick and choose what you like:

cam white
The Camellia is a beautiful flower that grows on an evergreen shrub that is scientifically a member of the tea plant.  That same bush or shrub which gives us tea leaves in the Far East is related to this bush, the Camellia sinensis.

Some reddish Camellias:
cam bush

The “tea Camellia”  is another glorious example of the beautiful flora that fills this planet,  flowers of so many kinds that we haven’t even seen or identified them all!    Each grass, tree, evergreen, bush, flower – whatever –  each one in its own way praises some aspect of its Creator.    That’s why we need an endless variety –  because the Creator is infinite.

We do have names for the plants that we know about, however, so how did the Camellia get its name?

GK Chesterton wrote shortly after his reception into the Church as an adult that “The Catholic Church is a lot bigger seen from the inside than it is seen from without.”    Like him,  I am astonished at the riches inside.  All that I knew before of the following subjects,  “Camellias”  and “The Church” and “Science”  seem like pablum for young children compared to what I have learned from my vantage point within the Church.

The Catholic Church teaches that “Science is the knowledge of things from their causes.”     So,  there is such a principle as Cause and Effect.   The material world can be known from our senses;  and our intellects have the ability to know objective reality.    All this makes Science possible, in its various forms.   No one was ever “put to death” or tortured by the Church in actual history because of Science.  The Church promotes the study of all sciences, even to the point of using the very “mysterious”  giant telescope on Mt. Graham of which so much speculation by outsiders  is made.

Armed with this intellectual training from the Church,  the Jesuit Linnaeus set out to categorize and describe —  well, all the plants he knew about.   (You’ve studied Linnaeus in high school science, I’m sure.)   When his friend  Georg Josef Kamel discovered what we call the Camellia,  Linnaeus named it after him:  Kamel – Camellia.    Father Kamel himself practiced perseverance as a Jesuit missionary in the 17th century.

Just from that short story,  one can spend a lifetime learning more about philosophy,  about cause and effect, about  the natural sciences,  botany,  about geography,   about the Jesuits,  about each of these men and the contributions they made —

Or you can just indulge yourself in the beauty of the Camellia.

cam walk
I first learned about Camellias during a trip to the beautiful Bellingrath Gardens in Mississippi.   It was a long, long time ago, but I remember the beauty and serenity of those Gardens.   Coming from the North —  a big city of concrete and tall buildings —  I had no idea that gardens of such artistry and magnitude had been created.

cam mounds
I walked for hours in hushed silence, amazed at the variety of flowers that existed.   Later, as an adult,  as I learn about St Therese of Lesieux, “the Little Flower,” I can easily visualize what she is talking about when I remember Bellingrath Gardens.

cam water

Now, if you’ve “persevered” this far,  I’m sure you understand  what value there is in Perseverance in general.  It always rewards you with something worthwhile.    Perseverance is a crucial quality,  whether it’s the academic  study of something, the practicing of some skill,  or fidelity to God right up to your entrance into Heaven,

Do not forget to pray for “Final Perseverance” !!

It is easy to associate Perseverance with Our Lady who, against what we might call “reason,” stayed faithful to the will of God and to His promises to her, and then stayed faithful to her Son,  right through His own horrible death and on into the glory of His Ascension and Resurrection, and through her own entrance into Heaven.

Camellias for the Virgin Mary!

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