“Listen to me,… and bud like a rose growing by a stream of water; send forth fragrance…, and put forth blossoms. Scatter the fragrance, and sing a hymn of praise; bless the Lord for all his works… with songs on your lips.”
– Sirach 39:13-15
Many women say that it lacks creativity. Many men complain that they are too expensive.
Many people claim a card can say more. But I have yet to meet a woman who hates getting a dozen red roses delivered.
It’s always nice to have someone think of you, especially when it isn’t an anniversary. It means a lot when flowers arrive “just because someone loves you” and not because the person “has to do it.”
Which gets me to thinking, why are twelve red roses the norm to demonstrate our love for another? Why not a basket of fruit? Of course, then I remember how the fruit idea turned out for our lovebirds in Eden.
Why not a half dozen or two dozen? Why red roses and not white? Why not daffodils or daisies?
When it comes to the Bible, roses are almost never mentioned because, as any Scripture scholar will tell you, roses are not very common in Israel. Still, I like to remember that all creation points us back to its Creator, and so I wondered, “How could this commonly accepted symbol of love symbolize Love in the flesh (Jesus Christ)?”
- Why flowers? Perhaps to remind us that although it was in a garden that sin entered the world, it was also in a garden, outside a tomb, where we are assured that death was destroyed forever.
- Why do they have to be fresh? Perhaps to remind us of the smell of the burial spices and perfumes that lingered in an empty tomb. Perhaps to make us to want to live better lives in what the saints call “the fragrance of God’s holiness.”
- Why are there a dozen? Perhaps for the twelve apostles, or perhaps for the Blessed Virgin Mary, one for every star with which she is now crowned with (Revelation 12:1).
- Why are they red? Perhaps to remind us of the beautiful blood poured out on that cross.
- Why the long stem? Perhaps to remind us that it takes time to get to the prize, or maybe to help us still feel connected to the life-giving water when we go through spiritual dryness.
- Why are they delivered? Perhaps because we are delivered from our sins. Jesus gave us the greatest sign of His love on Good Friday. His cross is like unexpected flowers in that it shows He was thinking of you. But the cross is not a one-time remembrance of you or a token gift because it was a holiday. It is the ultimate reminder of His love.
- Finally, why roses of all the kinds of flowers? Why not a “Sonflower”? Well, that one is easy. We’re always asking, “What would Jesus do?” Well, on Easter Sunday morning, the Lord rose.
Of course, the hard part is that everyone wants the roses but no one wants the thorns; everyone wants heaven but nobody wants to die. God, the rose’s Creator, didn’t design it that way though. Jesus rose on Easter Sunday, but not before He endured Friday’s thorns.
Maybe a dozen red roses aren’t such a thoughtless gift. It’s all in how you look at them. The cross of Christ is certainly a loving gift. It comes with a card with your name on it, and it says, “Because I love you.”
Roses die, but Jesus lives forever.
Taken from “Ask the Bible Geek 2: More Answers to Questions from Catholic Teens”