This Mothering Sunday, in common with many Anglican clergy, I shall be blessing daffodils at two Masses.
I can’t resist a challenge. So my friend Mother Ellen’s response – to my Twitter call for a blessing of daffodils – that I should write one inspired me.
Obviously, it is very easy to ridicule this sort of thing but I rather love this bit of Anglican folk religion, the blessing of little bunches of daffodils at Mass on Lent 4 and their distribution – ostensibly to mothers/women, but, in every parish I have ever been in, to anyone that wants them/will accept them. I think the best time for this is after the blessing but before the dismissal. It is a beautiful thing to process to an image of Our Lady where the daffodils are prepared and waiting. The dismissal can follow the blessing and include the distribution of the flowers.
Well, the most famous text on daffodils is Wordsworth’s poem, so I have attempted to use as much of the vocabulary from that as I can squeeze in, so here goes:
Lord of the dance,
as we wander on our earthly pilgrimage
we know moments of loneliness and float like clouds
not knowing the way ahead,
you remind us by simple signs that you are beauty
and that in all that is simple and beautiful
we see that you are as a mother to us, continuous as the stars that shine.
Bless (the priest makes the sign of the cross over the flowers)
these golden daffodils,
that they may be signs
of gratitude to all who are mothers in your world:
our mothers and those who show a mother’s love.
Fill our hearts with pleasure,
that in the breezes and winds of life we may dance with the daffodils
and bring a mother’s love to all we meet.
We make our prayer
through Jesus the son of Mary, who loved moments of solitude,
and who lives and reigns with you, God for ever and ever.
(Holy water may be sprinkled over the flowers and they may be honoured with incense before being distributed)
I wandered lonely as a cloudThat floats on high o’er vales and hills,When all at once I saw a crowd,A host, of golden daffodils;Beside the lake, beneath the trees,Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shineAnd twinkle on the milky way,They stretched in never-ending lineAlong the margin of a bay:Ten thousand saw I at a glance,Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but theyOut-did the sparkling waves in glee:A poet could not but be gay,In such a jocund company:I gazed—and gazed—but little thoughtWhat wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lieIn vacant or in pensive mood,They flash upon that inward eyeWhich is the bliss of solitude;And then my heart with pleasure fills,And dances with the daffodils.