Our Lady of the Holy Rosary inspires us to reflect on the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is adorned with roses, bearing the glory of God.
Roses are one of the most beautiful flowers, a special gift of nature. All roses—from the white rose to the pink, yellow, sterling silver, and deep red—are nature’s wonders.
Even if you have little aesthetics appreciation, you can’t gaze too long at a garland of roses without been drawn to its beauty. Occasionally, I drive by neighborhoods where roses flourish, and I could hardly take my eyes off the walkways. Roses are strikingly beautiful.
Gift of Roses
Have you ever received a gift of roses from someone? What did you think about the gift? Your feelings? Your emotions? Didn’t you feel honored, appreciated, and loved?
Sometimes I contemplate: How would God feel if God received roses from me? I know God does not feel like we humans do, but God, who gave us the gift of sensation and feeling, surely knows what feeling means. As Sacred Scripture says, “Does He who made the ears not hear? Does He who fashioned the eye not see?” (Psalm 94:9) God surely does.
Specifically, I believe God relates to us as our nature is. He graciously accepts our reciprocity of His love as our nature is as well. God would neither expect us to relate with Him as angels, those spiritual beings, nor expect us to relate with Him as birds who have limited ways of expressing their “feelings” or instincts, too. God desires our reciprocity to be genuinely human.
In essence, It is human to have feelings. God receives our feelings and pierces into the deepest of our emotions and welcomes them too. We can offer to God our feelings and deepest emotions, as imperfect yet lovely gifts too. They become roses of our imperfect self so that grace can make them a pleasant garden of love.
What roses do we bring to the Lord? What colorful petals do we offer God? Everything—our life, our sacrifices, our brokenness, our sins, and our joys?
Holy Garden of Roses
Today, we celebrate a human being who is the most beautiful rose offered back to God. That rose is the Virgin Mary—the woman in whom God is much delighted and who the Lord called “Most Blessed.” She is a spotless vase of roses offered to the Lord. The vase that bore in her womb the aesthetics of God’s revelation, the fullness of God’s Glory revealed—Christ the Lord.
Furthermore, Mother Mary’s life is adorned with roses, capturing all human praises and worries most beautifully. Just like the praises captured through the Book of Psalms, in the Holy Rosary, we render the story of our salvation in beads. The “holy rosary” literally means a holy garden of roses, a bed of roses, and a garland of roses. By extension, it means garland beads. The Holy Rosary captures that story that found fulfillment in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, you shall call him Jesus” (Is 7:14; Mt 1:23).
In essence, the Blessed Virgin Mary is God’s Special Rose of Incarnation. The rosary tells the story of our salvation, on beads, rings of rosy beads, designed as images and metaphors, tangible things expressing the intangible.
Thus, I love to offer back to God those roses; the merits of the unique Rose of the Incarnation—the Blessed Virgin Mary. I offer the roses of divine goodness and love for us narrated throughout the beads of the rosary. I offer back to God the unique experience of my feelings and connections with the mysteries of our Christian faith as I retell that story, touching the beads.
Devoted to the Rosary
Ultimately, I pray God to feel me as I feel the beads; to touch me as I touch the beads of the rosary; to cuddle me as I wrap the beads of the rosary around my palms. I want God to see in me one of the redeemed—God’s precious child—following the footsteps of the woman most blessed, Virgin Mary, who also followed the Son, Jesus Christ.
May Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, pray for us. Amen.
Fr. Maurice Emelu