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.