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REED – 1. The reed is a symbol of the humiliation Jesus faced leading to His death. It was thought that the scepter placed in Jesus’ hands was made of reeds and was used to hit the crown of thorns on His head during His beating (Matthew 27:29-30). Further, it was upon a reed that a sponge soaked with vinegar and water was placed in order to give Jesus a drink when He was on the cross (Matthew 27:48). 2. The reed symbolizes John the Baptist because Jesus referred to him as a reed in Matthew 11:7. In art, John the Baptist is often shown holding a cross made of reeds.

ROSE – 1. A red rose symbolizes martyrdom.
2. A white rose symbolizes purity. Tradition, according to Ambrose, tells us that the rose had no thorns before the fall of humankind. After the fall, the rose grew thorns. The rose is still beautiful and fragrant as a reminder of Paradise, but the thorns are a reminder of sin’s devastating effects on the earth. 3. Because thorns represent original sin, the Virgin Mary is sometimes referred to as the “rose without thorns.” This refers to the Roman Catholic belief that Mary was protected from original sin so she might be a perfect vessel to give birth to a perfect child: Jesus. In art, roses depicted with Mary are always without thorns. 4. A garland of roses symbolize the Roman Catholic practice of the rosary. 5. Wreaths made of roses symbolize heavenly joy. In art, wreaths are usually worn by angels and saints.


SHAMROCK (Clover) – The shamrock symbolizes the Trinity. The three leaf shamrock was used by St. Patrick to explain the Trinity to the Irish unfamiliar with Christianity. They where having a hard time under-standing his explanation of the Trinity. Patrick plucked a shamrock and explained that the shamrock is one leaf. It is one plant. But each shamrock has three, separate leaflets. So too is the Trinity.

STRAWBERRY – 1. The strawberry’s three leaves symbolize the Trinity. 2. The strawberry’s fivefold leaf on the fruit itself represents the five wounds of Jesus. 3. The red color of the fruit symbolizes the shed blood of Jesus and/or the martyrs. 4. The strawberry, when shown grouped with other fruits, symbolizes the fruits of the Holy Spirit. 5. The strawberry, which grows close to the ground, symbolizes humility.

SUNFLOWER – 1. A sunflower is known for raising its head towards the sun during the day and lowering its head when the sun goes down. It symbolizes keeping our eyes fixed only on Jesus. 2. Glory. 3. Gratitude. 4. Remembrance.

THISTLE – 1. The thistle symbolizes earthly turmoil and sin in a person’s life. This is based on the curse placed on humankind in Genesis 3:17-18. 2. Because the thistle is prickly like thorns, it can represent the Passion of our Lord as it symbolizes the crown of thorns placed on Jesus’ head before His crucifixion.

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© 2016 By Doug Gray. All Rights Reserved.