Catholic CornucopiadCheney

Letter I

The Catholic Language of Flowers


(Mezembryanthemum crystallinum: Nat. Order, Ficoidæ)

Hateful vice, that closest the heart of man, and driest up the springs of mercy in his soul, if thou findest a place among our flowers, it is but that, by looking on thy hideousness, we may learn to fear and shun thee more.

Indian Plantain,—Heroism

(Cacalia: Nat. Order, Compositæ)

Not of the glory of the battle-field, does the Indian Plantain speak. It tells of the generous devotedness of those heroic men, who might have acquired renown by their talents, or won a glorious name in the annals of their country; but who, despising these transient honours, chose rather, like St. Paul, to share the ignominy of Jesus, and the sacred folly of the Cross. Burning with zeal for God’s honour, they have traversed the earth and reached its most distant regions, to win back to Heaven those souls which cost the Saviour’s blood. And the remote shores that witnessed their labours and sufferings, their heroism and forgetfulness of self, will yet repay their generous care. The good seed planted by their hands, and so often watered with their blood, fell on a fertile soil; and thousands of souls that otherwise would have been lost to Heaven, shall acknowledge throughout eternity their gratitude to these sons of God.

Iris,—Messages from Heaven

(Iris: Nat. Order, Iridaceæ)

The ancients pretended that Iris was the messenger of Juno. To us, the deep blue petals of the Iris speak of messages from Heaven,—those bright hopes and holy thoughts which the angels bring us, to cheer us in our exile, and to elevate our hearts to God.


(Hedera helix: Nat. Order, Araliacæ)

With untiring fidelity, the Ivy clings to the stem around which it twines itself. Well do you teach us, little plant, that our hearts should remain unceasingly united to the sacred Heart of our Lord, and that our best affections should centre in Him with undying fidelity.