In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
The rose was used as a symbol in early Greek and Roman social and religious life, but in the Christian faith it is most often associated with Mary, the mother of Jesus. It was thought that the rose did not have thorns in the Garden of Eden until after the fall of humankind, so Mary is often depicted with a thornless rose. In the Medieval church, the rose appears in a variety of places included cathedrals, stained-glass rose windows, and in the rosary. Historically, the rose has also appeared as a symbol of God’s love, Christ’s blood, the blood of martyrs, and the passion and death of Jesus.
Merciful God, we rejoice at the gift of another day and give You thanks for Your generous blessings. We thank You for the many ways You have used men and women throughout history to further Your kingdom and to spread Your love. Empower us to be Your people and Your disciples today, sharing Your word and love. Help us to be willing to sacrifice our comfort to enrich the lives of all Your children. Amen.