Letters to His Roses

Transforming Love

Dear Roses, Jesus doesn’t just desire the transformation of our hearts. He desires our total and complete transformation in His Love… a transfiguration of our souls, hearts, minds, and bodies which necessarily leads to a transformation of our thoughts, words, and deeds. He wants to make us NEW in every way! As the Bridegroom heals our hearts and makes us new in His Love, we enter more fully into a spousal relationship with Him. And so we must take some time in prayer to ask Him, “My Jesus, how are You calling me to live our spousal love not just in my prayer time but throughout my day, in my vocation, work, leisure, and relationships with others? Show me how to live our Love.” At Hope’s Garden, as we journey through The Song of Songs with our guidebook The Cantata of Love, our hope i...[Read More]

In the School of the Bridegroom

Dear Roses, I am excited to tell you about a new theme, a new focus for our prayer and study of The Cantata of Love here at Hope’s Garden. On Monday we began our fall session of Brides of Christ heart-led Scripture studies of The Song of Songs and also created a new space on the website titled “In the School of the Bridegroom”. Jesus is our Divine Teacher. All that is necessary for us to learn from Him is to sit quietly at His feet with St. Mary and listen. The analogy of being “In the School of the Bridegroom” comes from the book The Cantata of Love. The following is an excerpt from Father Blaise Arminjon’s  explanation of verse 8:2. The Bride “I should lead you, I should take you into my mother’s house, and you would teach me! I should give you spiced wine to drink, juice of my pomegrana...[Read More]

Preparing the Wedding Feast for the Bridegroom

Dear Roses, In today’s Gospel, Jesus responds to the Pharisees question with a question.  “The scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, ‘The disciples of John the Baptist fast often and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same; but yours eat and drink.’  Jesus answered them, ‘Can you make the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days.’” Luke 5:33-34 His question, “Can you make the wedding guests fast while the Bridegroom is with them?” has led my heart to reflect on the ways in which the Bridegroom is indeed with me and how can my heart offer Him a wedding feast. The Bride and The Bridegroom in The Song of Songs describe their love for one another in term...[Read More]

Kisses from Heaven

Dear Roses, The Prologue to The Song of Songs has become my favorite song of praise to the Bridegroom. I have come to know Jesus as my Bridegroom through reflecting on how I encounter Him through my senses, through my relationships, through the Sacraments and sacramentals, through the beauty of art, nature, and music, and through the many little blessings and “proofs of His tenderness” that He showers upon me daily. My spiritual director, Father Michael Stalla, speaks of the daily little blessings and consolations that God showers upon each of us throughout our days as “kisses from Heaven.” Pondering God’s thoughtfulness towards me as “kisses” has deepened my faith and understanding in the truly intimate love of the Bridegroom for me… for my unique heart. My gratitude journal has bec...[Read More]

Show Me Your Friends

Dear Roses, Today’s letter is written by Karen Baglieri, a member of the Hope’s Garden Sisterhood of Mary Mystical Rose of God. I pray each of you finds our Hope’s Garden community to be a welcoming and safe “home” for your heart. Prayerfully Yours, Laura Welcome to Hope’s Garden – Community “Show me your friends, and I will tell you who you are”. Anna Gallinaro My husband was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY to an Italian family.  Anna Gallianaro was his maternal grandmother who lived with the family during my husband’s formative years and helped raise the boys.  “Grans”, as she was affectionately referred to, was the typical staut, tough grandmother who, in the early 1900’s, was a barmaid on Coney Island in the establishment that her mother owned.  At one point when she was acting a...[Read More]

The Eucharistic Kiss

Dear Roses, As today is Sunday, I considered not writing but I felt such a strong prompting to share just one more reflection on the first line of The Song of Songs. I hope this short quote from The Cantata of Love will inspire your hearts as you participate in Holy Mass today.  “Let Him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth. Your love is more delightful than wine” “Some Fathers of the fourth century such as Cyril of Jerusalem and Ambrose show in their Easter catechesis that the ardent wish of the bride—“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth”—is essentially fulfilled in the Eucharist:  ‘When the body of Christ will touch your lips,’ Cyril says to the catechumens, ‘then the wish of the Bride will be fulfilled for you: let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! The unity of love in ...[Read More]

Long-awaited Kiss

Dear Roses, Let us pray again today with the Bride of The Song of Songs as she requests a kiss from the Bridegroom. “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth; your love is more delightful than wine; delicate is the fragrance of your perfume.” 1:2 The Song of all Songs begins abruptly and passionately with the Bride’s demand for a kiss. And naturally, our first reaction is to immediately push back and think “Oh no, this is wrong. I cannot think of Jesus as the Bridegroom kissing me!” Be not afraid. Take heart. Remember that these words are the divinely inspired Word of God. Rooted in that truth, ask the Holy Spirit to come and enlighten your heart with His gift of wisdom that you may hear the voice of the Bridegroom singing His holy truth within the depths of your heart.  Imagine you ar...[Read More]

Kisses of Honey

Dear Roses, As I continue resting and healing, I feel a longing to share with you how the Bridegroom and I converse heart to heart with The Song of Songs. In the next few letters I will share reflections and prayers inspired by the Prologue of The Song of All Songs. The Prologue is the Bride’s hymn of praise and adoration to her Bridegroom, to your Bridegroom, to Jesus the Bridegroom of the Church. As you read the Prologue notice the liturgical language and symbols… the “perfume” or incense, the “oil” used for anointing, the “wine” that becomes His Most Precious Blood poured out and given to us, and His “kisses”, His Words in Holy Scripture, His Kiss of Peace sent to us through the Holy Spirit, and of course, the moment we receive our Bridegroom in the Eucharist is a kiss of holiness...[Read More]

My Garden Heart

Dear Roses, As I have spent time in prayer with The Song of Songs, the Bridegroom and I have created our own unique lovesong and dialogue. I would like to share one of the fruits of my prayer time with you. The analogy of our hearts as garden and vineyard runs throughout Scripture, including The Song of Songs, and the writings of the saints. The following prayer is my response to a deepening understanding of how it is the condition of the garden of my heart that is most important and how in need I am of Christ’s help and grace to continually tend my garden. In The Song of Songs, the Bridegroom warns the Bride to “catch the little foxes that made havoc of our vineyard”. Saints such as St. John of the Cross and St. Francis de Sales teach us that these “little foxes” are the many temptations,...[Read More]

My Betrothal Promise

Dear Roses, On June 24th 2019, I said “Yes” to Jesus the Bridegroom’s proposal to consecrate my heart and soul to Him by making a private betrothal promise. The waterfall of healing, grace, and pure love He has showered on me this past year is amazing! I started Hope’s Garden as a means to sharing the beautiful healing truth of Christ the Bridegroom’s deeply personal and intimate spousal love for each and everyone of us. He is the one, true, eternal Spouse of every soul regardless of your vocation or state in life. He offers His unconditional love and only asks that we reciprocate by opening our wounded hearts to His loving gaze and saying “Yes, let it be done unto me according to Your word.” I urge you to place any fears, doubts, and disbelief into our Mother Mary’s hands and ask her to w...[Read More]

Open the Door to Healing

Dear Roses, Some days the fact that my healing journey has no definitive end date is frustrating and exhausting. Yet other days I am able to see my journey as a gift and an adventure. I wonder if my “healing journey” is really just a name for what I am called to do each and every day… live in a broken world with my eyes fixed on Jesus and with trust and hope, in every moment, become a truer reflection of the image of God. Becoming… it is an active continual process. The acts of becoming and of healing are integral to one another and possibly synonymous. In this broken world can I – can any of us – escape the heartbreak, trauma, sufferings that inflict physical, emotional, and spiritual wounds? Our wounds invite us to open the door to healing again and again. I experience a deep peace when ...[Read More]

Time to Choose

“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Romans 12:1 For over twenty years this verse has been one of my favorites….just ask the retreat team that I worked with for over twelve years.  Little did I know what implications this would have for my life. Early in 2014, life’s struggles, idols, stresses, and years of not listening to the voice of God, brought me to a place of overwhelming darkness and hopelessness that I could not escape.  What followed was a soul-crushing journey that eventually brought me to a CHOICE….either FOR GOD or against Him…..life or death, enslavement or freedom, and in that moment I chose FOR God… for life.  That...[Read More]