Saturday, December 5, 2009

12 Stars

Draughtsman Arsène Heitz of Strasbourg is the author of the Flag of Europe:

The Flag of Europe

You'll recognize it as the banner of the European Union (EU).

Heitz is a member of the Order of the Miraculous Medal; he prays a rosary daily, and has a great devotion to our Lady. In a 1999 interview he related that when he was considering a design to submit for the EU back in the 1950s, he was reading the history of the Blessed Virgin’s apparitions in Paris’ Rue du Bac. The idea for the circle of 12 stars came from this passage in the book of the Apocalypse 12:1: "And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars."

The woman in this case is the church of God, and by allusion is also the Blessed Virgin Mary. The church is clothed with the sun, that is, with Christ; she has the moon, that is, the changeable things of the world, in subjection under her feet; and the 12 stars with which she is crowned are the 12 apostles; she is in labor and pain, while she brings forth her children, and Christ in them, in the midst of afflictions and persecutions. (Challoner)

The 12 stars are the symbol of the Immaculate Conception herself, whose feast day we celebrate next Tuesday -- the 49th anniversary of when the European Ministers' delegates officially adopted Heitz's design for the European flag.

I don't know that there's anything particularly religious about the EU -- it's very much an organization devoted to the self-aggrandizing cult of man. I'm of the view that the lyrics of the EU's official anthem -- the final movement of Beethoven's 9th Symphony, the Ode to Joy -- better capture its true spirit (source):

Europe is united now
United it may remain
Our unity in diversity
May contribute to world peace.
May there forever reign in Europe
Faith and justice
And freedom for its people
In a bigger motherland.
Citizens, Europe shall flourish,
A great task calls on you.
Golden stars in the sky are
The symbols that shall unite us.

I'm not sure which is worse: this banal doggerel, or the shallow, prosy, rationalistic musings of the Schiller original.

Anyway, I think it noteworthy that with the inclusion of our Lady's 12 stars in the EU's banner, Heaven once again found a way to keep itself on the radar screen of a movement bent of excising consideration of the Divine.

1 comment:

Kindred Spirit said...

After reading this post, I have a bit of hope for the EU yet; Our Lady gets what she wants, thanks be to God.