Catholic CornucopiadCheney

Letter W

The Catholic Language of Flowers

Water-Lily,—Trust in God

(Nymphæa: Nat. Order, Nymphaceæ)

Peacefully reposing on the bosom of the waters, this flower gives a lesson to those who, professing to be Christians, trust not in God for security against the storms of life, and are full of anxiety for the future. Does not God love them better than the Water-lily? And will not the arm that protects the lily from the fury of the waves, guide them safely through the dangers which may threaten them, and at length lead them to heaven, where they need fear no tempest, for there, the sun of His Presence shines for ever?

Blue (American) Water-Lily,—Imitation of Our Lord

(Nymphæa: Nat. Order, Nymphaceæ)

The beautiful Water-lily rises from the calm stream in which it grows, and the clear waters love to reflect its shining leaves and azure flowers. Thus in the pure, transparent stream of Mary’s life, were the virtues of her adorable Son reflected, and thus too, amid the waters of tribulation, did the Lily of Israel put forth its fairest flowers.


(Cheiranthus cheiri: Nat. Order, Cruciferæ)

In silence and solitude, I expand my simple flowers, and from the depths of my retreat, waft back to heaven the sweet perfume with which it has endowed me. Mortals, who wander through the world vainly seeking for happiness, enter into your own hearts, and there in silence and retirement, listen to the voice of Jesus: in the music of His tones, in the tenderness of His smile, you will find delights which will fill your hearts with gladness, and convince you how sweet it is to commune alone with Jesus.

Wheat,—The Blessed Sacrament

(Triticum vulgare: Nat. Order, Gramineæ)

Wheat, the most precious of earth’s produce, the chief support of man’s existence, speaks to loving hearts of that divine Bread which nourishes our souls to immortality, that heavenly treasure which lies hidden within the Tabernacle.
    Alas I dear Lord, with what assiduous care do men watch the produce of their fields, while Thy temples and Thine altars are almost deserted!


(Salix: Nat. Order, Salicaceæ)

The Willow bends its branches meekly beneath the storm, and consequently escapes uninjured by the blast. Thus a Christian ought to bow beneath the storm of adversity with which our heavenly Father is sometimes pleased to visit His children; and then, like the Willow, he will rise uninjured, for God will not try us beyond our strength, and calm will soon return.

Weeping Willow,—Contrition

(Salix babylonica: Nat. Order, Salicaceæ)

Though, after we have erred, we deplore our transgressions in bitterness of spirit, yet this sorrow should not prevent us from looking with love and confidence to heaven; for we have there a Father who is ever ready to pardon His repentant children, and a Mother who, with tenderest love, awaits their return.


(Wistaria: Nat. Order, Leguminosæ)

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall find mercy.” Such are the words of that Divine Being of whom mercy is the favourite attribute, and who, full of tenderness for all His children, bids them exercise towards one another that sweet virtue, which has its source in His own adorable Heart.

Woodbine,—Attachment to Mary

(Caprifolium: Nat. Order, Caprifolaceæ)

As the Woodbine attaches itself to the tree or bower at the foot of which it is planted, so should we attach our hearts to Mary, who will be our support. It was this strong affection that St. Stanislaus bore to the Blessed Virgin, which made him exclaim, when asked if he loved her: “How could I not love her?—she is my Mother.”


(Artemisia absinthium: Nat. Order, Compositæ)

Day dawned; the sun was rising from behind the distant hills, imparting to them its golden hues, and mingling its bright colours with those of the deep blue waters. Nature presented a lovely spectacle: it seemed as if she had used all her arts to adorn the morning on which those whom she loved so well, were to visit the Temple of Jerusalem; for on that day, the Divine Jesus and His holy parents wended their way to that blest sanctuary, to pay their homage to the God of Israel.
    Silently they journeyed onwards, unnoticed by men; but Heaven’s angels hovered round to guard them, and to guide their steps.
    They approach the Temple, and the Mother’s heart throbs with joy, as she watches her lovely Child, who, with pleasure beaming in His face, plucks the way-side flowers, and presents them to her with an earnest look of love; but as they near the hallowed precincts, He takes His Mother’s hand, and walks quietly by her side, while His face becomes more beautiful, and the flood of golden light which silently speaks of His Divinity, appears to increase.
    And now they have presented their offerings to the Eternal Father; but while they are quietly taking their journey homewards, the sacred Mother finds that her beloved Son is not with her. Who can conceive the ocean of bitter grief which deluged her loving heart, when, having sought Him sorrowing, she finds Him not? A thousand fears and anxieties oppress her; she recalls to mind the happy hours of His infancy, when her arms were His cradle, whence He never strayed; of His early childhood, when, sporting at her side, or occupied in earnest prayer, He never sought to leave her; and as memory leads her back through the bright past, the sword of sorrow, foretold by Simeon, again transpierces her soul.
    But the Mother of Him who was to make atonement for the world, must not refuse to share His sufferings; and for three days must the desolate Mother, with aching heart, seek for her beloved Child, ere the Eternal Father will restore Him to her arms.