George Washington, the Blessed Mother, and #Advent

George Washington, the Blessed Mother, and #Advent November 30, 2014

As we begin the season of Advent, Fr. Peter John Cameron writes in The Magnificat Advent Companion about what we are called to enter in to:

If you visit George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate in Virginia, you will notice something inside the mansion’s front door. On the left wall of the central passage hangs an antique, seven-inch iron key displayed in a custom-made, carved and gilded case.

It is the key to the Bastille, the notorious political prison in Paris. Friend and French collaborator in the American Revolution, the Marquis de Lafayette, send the key to the first President of the United States following the storming of the Bastille in 1789. Lafayette wrote, “Give me leave to present you with the main key of the fortress of despotism. It is a tribute which I owe as a son to my adoptive father.”

The O Antiphon for December 20 pleads: O Key of David, you open and no man closes; you close and no man opens/ Come, and deliver from the chains of prison those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Advent asks us to accept the gift of God’s Key whose coming ends any tyranny in our lives. It opens fortresses for ever closed. We welcome the Key in faith — the tribute of sons and daughters to the unbounded mercy of the Father.

Something else you will see: a glorious eighteenth century painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary. George and Martha Washington clearly treasured the image of our Lady because they hung it over the mansion’s main dining room.


The image Fr. Cameron is writing about is on the cover of this year’s Magnificat Advent Companion.

Not familiar with the Magnificat Advent companion? It’s a solid way to insert some reflection into your coming weeks. You can download it on your Kindle or as an app on your iphone or ipad. Get it here.

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