Last weekend we had the great pleasure of welcoming friends old and new for a festival in honor of one of our favorite patrons, St. George. A model of love for Christ and devotion to Our Lady, St. George vanquishes evil by the Cross, and honors duly all things familiar to the experience of our faith with humility, piety, valor, and sacrifice. Indeed, when the King of Selena proffers a reward for saving the princess, his beloved daughter, and his kingdom from the pitiless, relentless, and dire threat of a dragon, St. George refuses the wealth and asks that the king follow his instructions instead: care always for the Church, honor the priests, attend piously to the divine office, and keep the poor always in mind. After the baptism of the King's people - who are convinced of Christ's power at the slaying of the dragon - a church is erected in honor of the Mother of God.
At our gathering, we paid homage to St. George the Knight with games and a feast, prayer and song. Leading up to the day, weather predictions were perfectly terrible, with chances for precipitation standing at 100% up to the morning of. Rain or shine, however, we decided to forge ahead, praying fervently for the rain to abate just enough in the afternoon. Our prayers were answered, and the guests came. We found that people are desirous enough for a real, good time with family and friends that they drove from all over to come, at least one party through a hail storm, and all with the happy chance (or necessity, as it turns out) of dodging a thunderstorm or two while here.
For camaraderie and a marked aura of virtuous competition, guests sported one of five chosen colors: sable, purpure, azure, vert, and gules. Painted banners waved in the wind of the archery field, and the threat of overly-wet conditions simply dissipated in the festive atmosphere! Children spanning many ages ran an obstacle course comprised (variously and according to ability) of running through the woods and creek, trekking a ditch uphill, throwing axes, shooting arrows, crawling under logs, hefting beams of wood across a field, and thrusting a spear of pinewood into a mulch-pile dragon. The kids ran for time, with the best per age-group rewarded with a medal of St. George (blessed by our good friend and attendant priest!). After a bountiful feast to satisfy healthy post-obstacle-course appetites we gathered in the dusky gazebo for a St. George play (interrupted at a dramatically poignant moment - just when the king offers his own daughter to satisfy the dragon - by a suddenly blackened sky and downpour), culminating in Non Nobis Domine. Contented - nay, happy visitors prayed a rosary together, and then out came the guitar, banjo, tin whistle, mandolin and Irish drum for music and singing.
The joy of the day lingered long after the guests had departed, and our family gazed hopefully upon a stunning supermoon a couple of nights later, basking in the light reflected by that wonderful celestial orb upon us, like the grace of Christ poured down by His loving Mother. May St. George continue to intercede and inspire us in all of our humble and heroic endeavors, perhaps small in the eyes of the world but pleasing, we pray, to Him who makes and moves all things!
On this little homestead our family aspires to work the land and hand on the Catholic Tradition, walking in wonder and learning to live by the fruits of our labor, in honor of Our Lady of Fatima, who guides us to Him.