In my head today I have been singing one lyric of a song over and over again: 'Daisies need sunshine and roses need rain.' To me these two flowers show a difference between two types of happiness. Daisies are irrepressible bundles of joy, they are bubbly and delightful symbols of innocence and cheerfulness. Roses, on the other hand are deeply beautiful. Roses are offered as a symbol of love, courage and respect; in Christendom they are a reminder of Christ's passion. Roses, to keep their beauty, need rain; daisies close up and retreat into the ground at the first sign of bad weather. It's tentative I know, but to me there is something here to be learnt about beauty in life. Something to do with an appreciation, if that is the right word, of the hardness of real living.
Today was the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. It is a beautiful and poignant feast. But, like many things in the Church, it is weird and takes some growing up to get your head around. Without too much thought I have always assumed that to live a happy life good things should happen to you. I like to think about the happy times. When things go a bit awry I pretend it isn't happening, look away and try and think of something else. I have the same reaction to horrid images on the telly. And, to my shame, difficult things that happen closer to my home: beggars on the street, drugs and alcoholism. The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is a challenge to all of that.
Our Lady of Sorrows is beautiful. But, hers is not a superficial beauty. True beauty comes from experiencing life to its fulness with all its pain and sorrow. True love is the same. Mary at the foot of the cross had, we are to understand, the faith to believe in the resurrection, but she still cried. That wasn't because she had lost all hope, it was because she loved her son. It was love that made her stay and refuse to look away.