Sunday, January 28, 2007
Boniface, full of grace
The saintly poems are still coming in. Our latest entry is St. Boniface for a parking space.
"Boniface, Boniface, help me find a parking space."
The problem here is how one pronounces 'Boniface'. In my home town we have a St. Boniface parish and everyone there (in the Midwest) pronounces his name "Bon- a -fuss". That makes the prayer not work out at all. One of our readers suggests that in that case he would be helpful in making the bus come more quickly.
"Bon a fuss, Bon a fuss, hurry up and send a bus."
I question what in the world St. Boniface, the inventor of the Christmas tree, has to do with parking or buses. We could maybe decide on Pope St. Boniface. I believe he got booted out of Rome for a while and was eventually reinstated....parked.
It's a stretch.
Our St. Boniface parish is based on the German saint, or saint to the Germans. The town I grew up in is so German that it doesn't matter if you aren't German. If you live there you are German by osmosis, you will squeegee the lawn, you will scrub your sidewalks and you will save the twist ties off the bread wrappers in the butter tubs that you've also saved. It makes sense we'd have a St. Boniface parish.
St. Boniface converted the Germans by cutting down Thor's Tree. I'm sure when he did it the German's sucked all the oxygen out of the sky to hold their breath as they waited for Thor's wrath to strike Boniface down. Of course, there is no Thor, so nothing happened and the German's converted. It seems that Boniface continued cutting down pagan trees of note throughout his career and somewhere in there invented the Christmas tree out of them.
Calm down. We know many people used the evergreen as a winter symbol of life and hope for hundreds of years before that, blah, blah, blah.....Boniface was the first to actually make a Christmas tree out of it.
But there just is no parking in there. Oh well, if St. Boniface works for you, who am I to judge?
I have to draw the line on the Mary parking prayer, though.
"Hail Mary, full of grace, help me find a parking space."
The Hail Mary is too old, too beautiful a prayer to be parodied into a parking couplet.
I remember reading about the history of the prayer. It was quite a while ago so I'm doing this from memory. Here goes.
The first part of the prayer, of course, is from the New Testament. "Hail Mary, full of grace the Lord is with Thee" are the words of the archangel Gabriel when he came to ask Mary to have Jesus.
"Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb" are the words of Aunt Elizabeth to Mary when she came to visit. Aunt Elizabeth was pregnant with Jesus' cousin, John the Baptist. Of course, he wasn't John the Baptist then. He was just cousin John. Soon to be cousin John.
So that was the whole prayer for quite some time. Eventually "Jesus" was added to the end of it. "The fruit of thy womb, Jesus" , that way no one is confused.
And that was all there was to it until the 4th century (I think) when there was big fat heresy that maybe Jesus wasn't divine, or maybe he wasn't born divine, but sort of grew into his divinity. There was a big fight over this silly notion and when the truth won out the happy people took the streets shouting, "Holy Mary, Mother of God!" which they could now say with impunity. What a day that must have been.
So that was the whole prayer.
But then....after all of that....and as long as you have her attention...you may as well ask for something..... sooo.....
"Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death."
So we know we're done.
And that's how we got the "Hail Mary". The rosary, yes. Parking?