Catholic CornucopiadCheney

Letter O

The Catholic Language of Flowers


(Quercus: Nat. Order, Cupuliferæ)

Amidst the rage of the tempests and the thunder’s roar, the Oak stands firmly, and seems to look fearlessly upon the angry elements, like souls that, strengthened by God, remain unshaken by the storms that assail them.


(Olea: Nat. Order, Jasmineæ)

Fair plant, harbinger of all that is beautiful and holy, it was by thee our forefather Noah knew that the Almighty had revoked His dread sentence, and restored peace to the earth.


(Citrus aurantium: Nat. Order, Aurantiaceæ)

The fragrant and snowy blossoms of the Orange have ever been considered emblematic of virginity, that gem which shines so brightly in the crown of Heaven’s immaculate Queen. This too is the mark of the chosen souls who follow the Lamb, and whose happy lips are privileged to sing a canticle which no other tongue may utter.

Oriental Plane,—Fortitude in Adversity

(Platanus orientalis: Nat. Order, Cupuliferæ)

Noble tree, thou bearest an aspect which all must admire. Whether clothed in thy summer beauty, or stripped by the wintry winds, thou art ever the same; and ever raising thy head to heaven, thou seemest to bid me take courage, and trust to the protecting arm of God, for strength amid the dangers and difficulties that may beset my path.

Orange-Lily,—A Passionate Disposition

(Lilium bulbiferum: Nat. Order, Tulipaceæ)

It was a beautiful summer morning; the sun shone brightly upon the glittering waters of a pleasant river, and upon the verdant fields that stretched along its banks. Two fair children were sporting among the flowers; they chased the gay butterflies until their little feet were weary; then they seated themselves on the mossy banks of the stream.
    There was an air of restless, childish pride about the little girl, which, beautiful as she was, made one turn from her with sadness; but it was not so with her brother, who, as he stood there, with his golden curls floating on his shoulders, looked the very image of beauty and innocence. “See, sister,” said the boy, “yon fair lily which is growing so near the water’s edge. Let us run and see who will get it first.”
    Off they both flew; the little boy was the first to reach the flower; he stretched out his hand to pluck it, but, in her eagerness and disappointment, his sister violently pushed the child aside. His feet slipped upon the smooth, grassy bank, and the next instant he was struggling in the waters beneath.
    Terrified at the consequences of her youthful impetuosity, his sister called aloud for help, filling the air with her cries, but it was in vain; the boy was borne away by the swift current. For a few moments, his cries reached her, and then an ominous silence told that the beautiful child had perished in the cruel waters. In an agony of grief and despair, his sister threw herself upon the ground. Presently she heard a low voice near her, and raising her head, she beheld the Angel of the Flowers.
    “I come not to reproach you,” said the spirit; “for I know you intended not the death of your brother; but, as a warning to all who yield to jealousy and passion, this lily shall shine no more among its fair sisters.”
    As the angel pronounced these words, a deep yellow tint overspread the snowy corolla of the flower, it was no longer the white lily that raised its lovely head towards the bright sunshine, and expanded its fair chalice to receive the dews of heaven; no longer the peerless emblem of pure and holy souls; but doomed to be the type of angry passions,—the silent witness to the evils which those passions bring upon the world.