Golden Rose from the Vatican Library.
The rose is blessed on the fourth Sunday of Lent, Lætare Sunday (hence also known as Rose Sunday), when rose-coloured vestments and draperies substitute for the penitential purple, symbolizing hope and joy in the midst of Lenten solemnity. Throughout most of Lent, Catholics pray, fast, perform penance, and meditate upon the malice of sin and the terrible punishment it brings; Rose Sunday is an opportunity to look beyond Christ’s death at Calvary and see Christ, the redeemer, risen in the first rays of the Easter sun, and rejoice. The shining golden flower shows forth Christ’s majesty, appropriate because prophets called him “the flower of the field and the lily of the valleys.” Its fragrance, according to Pope Leo XIII “shows the sweet odor of Christ which should be widely diffused by His faithful followers” (Acta, vol. VI, 104), and the thorns and red tint refer to His Passion. See Isaiah 63:2: “Why then is thy apparel red, and thy garments like theirs that tread in the winepress?”