ROSES AND THORNS
ROSES AND THORNS
Author: Concepción Cabrera de Armida (Conchita)
First Printed: 07-16-2007
Mary’s Maternal Tenderness for each believer (then and now) is apparent at every moment in this little gem of a book. The“thorns” or sorrows of the Blessed Mother are an expression of this tenderness. She invites us to receive the “roses” for our consolation and surrender, keeping the “thorns” for herself, so that we might discover her motherly love and might keep her company as she reflects on her separation from Jesus following the Ascension. Conchita has Mary say, “The sorrows were all for me, but the precious fruit derived from them—for you.” As you read this book, you feel invited to live in union with Mary, so that, with her help and by her example, you can better grasp the love and sentiments of the Lord. “Roses and Thorns will be a classic Marian devotion, as The True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin of St. Louis Grignion de Montfort and The Glories of Mary of St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori already are.” Msgr. Juan Esquerda Bifet, Professor, Urbaniana Pontifical University, Rome, Italy.
About the Author: The Veneralbe Concepción Cabrera de Armida, better known as Conchita, was born in San Luis Potosi on December 8, 1862 and died in Mexico, D.F. on March 3, 1937. Wife, mother, foundress and lay apostle, the cause for her beatification is well under way today. Along with the present work, ST PAULS has also published: Holy Hours (2006),Seasons of the Soul (2005), A Mother’s Letter (2004), and I Am: Eucharistic Meditations on the Gospel (2001). Other works inspired by her and also published by ST PAULS include Conchita by M.M. Philipon, OP (1978) and Irresistibly Drawn to the Eucharist edited by Juan Gutierrez Gonzalez, MSpS (2002).
Book: 190 pages
Prod. Code: 1239-1
Roses and Thorns consists of a series of thirty-three meditations taken from the prayer life of Concepcion Cabrera de Armida (1862-1973), more commonly known as Conchita. The life and writings of this Latin American mystic have placed her on the road to sainthood. As a married lay woman, the mother of nine children and the founder of Obra de la Cruz (Work of the Cross), this is the fifth volume in a series of Conchita's meditations published by ST PAULS. She is now recognized as "venerable" by the Church. The title conveys, through the prayer experience of Conchita, that Mary has kept the thorns of sorrow for herself while she has asked that we receive the roses for our consolation and surrender.
This text centers around Conchita's devotion to the Mother of God. Mary communicates her experience of a Gospel event in each of these meditative reflections. She gives us a rose from her son so that we might more readily allow his word to penetrate our hearts. Mary, however, also lived these Gospel events as thorns, in that she shares in the same fate as Christ. Her sorrow grew in the knowledge that her son was neither known nor loved. Mary's maternal tenderness for each believer is apparent through her thorns or sorrows. Just as she offers us her rose "for our consolation and surrender," she invites us to accompany her in her sorrow. She gives us the rose yet keeps the thorns for herself, that we would come to know her motherly love and keep her company. Mary reveals to Conchita, "The sorrows were all for me, but the precious fruit derived from them -- for you." A unique aspect of these reflections drawn from the Gospels is that the Blessed Mother invites Conchita's readers to keep her company as she reflects on her separation from Christ after his Ascension. She teaches those who follow to "suffer with love, and to transform our suffering into gift."
Within the series of meditations, Conchita sees the rose as sprinkled with blood. It is the heart of Christ. One is encouraged to take on penitential practices as a means of reaching paradise. "If you desire to reach paradise, mount the cross; if you desire to hide yourself in this wound, sacrifice yourself." The thorns remain in the heart of Mary. The Blessed Mother is seen as Our Lady of Solitude through a post-resurrection narrative. Conchita asks, through Mary's intercession, that she might obtain the virtues necessary to become "a living portrait of the divine heart."
In another meditation, the Blessed Virgin urges Conchita to practice the virtue of simplicity, that she might more closely unite herself to God. She is urged to banish "worldly attachments," strip her soul of "all disorderly affections, refining virtues with the holy fire of the cross." The Blessed Mother describes her thorn as straying from a life of virtue: "roaming on other roads, erring on other paths, seeking the divine love without sacrifice, and seeing them die deceived by the brilliance of a false piety."
Christ is always the center of these meditations. The maternal role of Mary is given emphasis in that she teaches the fruit of a penitential love. The reader is urged to live in union with Mary so that one might more readily grasp the love and sentiments of Christ. The editors have provided a very readable text, making explicit the benefit of this spiritual journey for those drawn to such a devotion to the Mother of God. --Sr. Madeleine Grace, CVI in Homiletic & Pastoral Review, June 2008