The Holy Joy of the Children of God

The Holy Joy of the Children of God

When we meet with suffering, we should never give in to discouragement. Let us keep in mind the rose-coloured variety of the Quaresmeira, and face suffering with the joy that leads to Heaven.

Among the various symbols of supernatural realities with which God has endowed Brazilian nature, one is particularly expressive. It is the Purple Glory tree, whose Portuguese name is Quaresmeira, which means Lenten tree. Its flowers come into their fullest bloom just before Holy Week.

It is easy to see the Creator’s hand in these beautiful trees. They remind the faithful that Lent has arrived, a time of contrition and conversion liturgically characterized by the use of the colour purple. However, the attentive observer will notice among these trees decked with violet or deep lilac-hued flowers, a less common variety adorned with rose-coloured flowers.

God does nothing by chance. If the striking purple blossoms are a summons to the penitential attitude that should mark the days leading up to the Easter Triduum, what is the symbolism of these rosy flowers?

Rose-coloured Quaresmeiras, of the Kathleen variety – CERET Park, São Paulo

In the middle of the Lenten Season, there is a day reserved for celebrating joy: Lætare Sunday. On this day, rose-coloured vestments replace the purple ones, the music is more festive and flowers once again adorn the presbytery. There is a break in penance, in order to soften the sadness for our sins with the perspective of the Resurrection.

On this fourth Sunday of Lent, Holy Church teaches us that suffering and repentance ought to always be mingled with joy, for in the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ we have the certainty of pardon. Furthermore, the presence of the rose hue alongside the purple reminds us that happiness in this life is inseparable from the cross. To attain eternal joy, we must face tribulations, setbacks and sufferings. There is no greater sign of God’s love for us than the trials He sends to purify and sanctify us.

“We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him” (Rom 8:28). Accordingly, when suffering knocks at our door, a sentiment of joy should blossom in our heart, so well symbolized by the rose-coloured trees that grow sporadically among the penitential purple variety.

The Blessed Virgin Mary, most perfect of mere creatures, conceived without sin and endowed with every gift and virtue, suffered so immensely in this life that She is called Co-redemptrix. She is the sublime example of how God crowns His especially beloved with suffering!

This truth clashes with worldly maxims that equate happiness to a state of complete material satisfaction, exempt from any form of suffering. On the contrary, the only happiness possible for man on this earth is found along the path blazed by Our Lord Jesus Christ with His Cross, and it implies the fulfilment of duty and the acceptance of adversities, embracing them with enthusiasm, in the knowledge that they lead us to Heaven.

When suffering comes our way, we should not imagine that God has abandoned us, nor should we lose heart. Let us keep in mind the image of the rose-coloured Quaresmeira growing amid the purple ones, and face suffering with joy. In this way, we will be preparing our souls for the joys of eternity.