Friday, August 29, 2008


There are just a few things that need to be cleaned up in the garden section of Symbolic Friday before we move on. Today we spend some time in woods finishing up trees that have not yet been mentioned over the past two years.

Trees can be a symbol of life or death. For example there is the tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden and then there is Tree, or Cross, upon which our Savior was hung. The state of the tree can give off meaning. “You can tell a tree by its fruit” as the Scriptures allude.

In his class on Theology of the Body, Christopher West says something along the lines of, “In a fallen world, fig leaves are a necessity.” That is, though we were originally made to be “naked without shame,” sin entered the world and with it shame. In Genesis we read that Adam and Eve, after sinning, realized that they were naked and covered themselves with fig leaves. Thus the fig is often used in much the same way as the apple as a sign of the fall.

The fir tree is a sign of the elect in heaven for as even the cut branch will not wither, neither do those who die ceased to exist but enjoy God’s presence eternally. It can also represent people who excel in the virtue of patience.

The oak is heavily used in symbolism. It is a steady, solid, hardwood tree and its strong limbs provide shade, security, and comfort. Ancient cultures worshipped this wonderful tree. We, however, appreciate it and use it as a symbol of strength, virtue, and endurance in faith even during persecution.

Occasionally you will see a painting of the Blessed Virgin holding an orange. The orange tree is a symbol of purity, chastity, and generosity, all certainly virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Orange blossoms also suggest purity and so is also used on wedding days for the bride.

Finally we have the grand cedar which is a symbol of Christ Himself. It is a tree of stateliness, beauty, and majesty. The Scriptures refer to this “Tree of Lebanon”. Christians see Christ referred to as the Messiah in the Song of Solomon, “his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars (5:15) and in Ezekiel, “I will also take the highest branch of the high cedar . . . and will plant it upon a high mountain and eminent. (15:22)”

I think we are out of the woods now.


Rev. Daren J. Zehnle, J.C.L., K.C.H.S. said...

Now you've done it. I'm going to have to watch that musical now. But that's alright, I'll enjoy it.

Fr. V said...


Glad you caught that!

Anonymous said...
Pretty good ink Father John.
Did not know you were a wet shaver. Badger or Boar? Double edge or straight edge?
Cousin Steve