White Rose


An arrangement of white roses drew my attention. I got sucked into the world of the white rose. Its symbols and meanings came alive and started speaking to my heart. The white rose said, “Your sins are forgiven. You are as white as a white rose, the queen of the flowers. White lilies have nothing to compare to you. From now on, you are my white rose.” I wondered if anyone else heard those words I was hearing at the Eucharistic Adoration. Did they even notice the roses someone put on the altar?

I recalled the panic attack I had on some street somewhere in town the day before. My fourth one in less than a week. What is happening to me? A second 911 response in less than a month, the same questions from the paramedics, the same shame, the same confusion and the same exhaustion. When my heart shuts down, it feels like heart attack is right at the door. And the fearful thing is, while I am screaming in pain, I can sense this clear death wish somewhere inside me. It wishes that this one will end things for me, allowing me to finally end my journey here in the world.

I was glad that the next day was thursday, the day my parish holds Eucharistic Adoration. I had a lot to confess; the permanent guilt about my broken marriage and divorce I carry with me, the destruction I had brought onto my family by leaving Korea, and my weak mentality that keeps making death wishes seeking for a permanent escape. I know that I won’t be heading straight into heaven with these impure thoughts inside me. So I had to confess all my sins once again, especially the part where I wished upon a death. Again.

Used in both weddings and funerals, white roses are so versatile. It is a symbol of purity and innocence, and often related to Our Virgin Mary. The meaning struck me hard to my core, and I discovered my deep yearning for the purity and the innocence of our Lady. In contrast to the Immaculate Conception, my sins run deep with the curse of Adam and Eve still valid in my blood.

I slowly got up from kneeling at the bottom of the altar and made a stop to pray to St. Joseph before I walked over to the statue of the Blessed Mother Mary. I started praying the rosary every day only a year ago. I knew about many promises of praying the rosary, but the only thing I honestly cared about was deepening my relationship with the Mother. I wanted to feel as close to her as I did to Jesus and the Father. I had been praying the rosary every day for about 6 months when she finally revealed that she had been with me throughout my entire life. She was in my mom, in my grandmas, in my dear sisters, in my friends, and in my teachers. No wonder I was so blessed with so many wonderful, loving female figures. She had been gifting me with herself. I just didn’t feel the need to reach out to her Motherly love because she was already giving me her love constantly, without ceasing. In my whole life, I suffered from the lack of a safe, trustworthy, reliable, and loving male presence. That void has inspired me to seek the ultimate love of God, the Father, and the love of Our Lord Jesus who comes from the Father. Throughout my Fatherless journey, the motherly love sustained me. I was surrounded by so many great women that loved and protected me. I was their dear friend, their sister, their daughter, and their grand-daughter. They have loved me with such purity and innocence, and it was because of that love that I was able to survive until the day I reached the ultimate source: the Father through Jesus. It was at that moment that I knew my love was complete. My love has finally hit a home run.

On this white rose thursday, I finally felt it. I finally felt the essence of the Blessed Mother Mary for who she really is. Not through my mom, my sister, my female friends, but the Virgin Mary that I have heard, and read, and meditated upon so much about. I felt her pure loving energy, enveloping my sinful little soul suffering in anxiety and depression, knowing me yet still loving me. Her love was there, and that purest of the pure love was carrying me to Jesus.

“You are my little white rose.”

There. I heard it again.

And kneeling there under the statue of Mother Mary in the quiet chapel, I shed all the tears built up in my heart until the very last drop came. And just like that, she brought me back to life.

~ ~ ~

The Little White Rose

By Hugh Macdiarmid

The rose of all the world is not for me.
I want for my part
Only the little white rose of Scotland
That smells sharp and sweet—and breaks the heart.

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