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Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud … It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4, 7 

This pretty, pink rose was a present given in love. Whenever I see a rose, I think of love. The Apostle Paul describes unconditional love which is centered in the grace of Christ. This passage is almost always part of weddings which unite people in love. But I like this passage for the last Sunday of Advent as we light the candle of love. We reflect on Mary’s Magnificat in Luke 1 which proclaims her gratitude for God’s love that is lived out in justice for suffering people.Mary, the mother of our Lord, is symbolized by the rose. 

Roses were associated with Mary from early times and in the 13th century, Saint Dominic wrote the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Rosary, which means "crown of roses," involves offering a group of prayers to Mary like a spiritual bouquet. The beautiful rose represents Mary’s perfect love of God and is considered the most noble of flowers. Their special beauty is captivating and their fragrance is heavenly. Father Theodore A. Koehler summarized Christian practice with the universal symbolism of the rose in a brief prayer: May God look with favor upon our world, the rose he created, that it may more expand its petals and so glorify him, our Creator and Father, in imitation of the rose of Nazareth, Mary, the servant of the Lord.

In these ever-challenging days, may our lives be like a spiritual bouquet of roses expanding to offer the beautiful fragrance of grace.  As servants of the Lord, may our souls proclaim the beauty of God with beautiful flowers of faith, hope, and love. 

Like a rose, Pastor Andrea