Posted by: rosa alba | May 25, 2009

Hello world!

Well, for a multitude of reasons, Hello World seems apt. My username rosa alba and my blog title:
“The rose of all the world is not for me” is a line – or two – from a MacDiarmid poem:

The rose of all the world is not for me.
I want for my part
Only the little white rose of Scotland
That smells sharp and sweet – and breaks the heart!

Yes, those of you who know me will know I have Nationalist  – and Jacobite – leanings (but don’t tell my mother!). And yet, it is more than that.  First of all, rosa alba is the white rose, and the symbol of Jacobite Scotland, recorded in songs by Carolina Oliphant, amongst others,  whereas, rosa mundi (the pink rose) is, in English, the rose of the world.

It is more than Fran-and-Anna or even Alexander Brothers nationalism – Auntie Jean weeping to the words of Auld Lang Syne on Hogmanay – , it is more than the cultural memories of patriotism (betrayal): we can all sing Flower of Scotland, and mean by it, well, what we will.   MacDiarmid’s poem trawls and harvests deeper than that – and yet, can we separate world and nation,  or world and God?   No, but we must start with Self whether it be God, relationships  or reducing a carbon footprint (or even world politics).  We must break the (hardened) heart, and heal.  From there, resolved and perhaps humbled,  we can honestly relate to the world. Or, charity begins at home.

In his letter to the Catholics of Scotland, Bishop Tartaglia (Bishop of Paisley, see Scottish Catholic Media Office), spoke of Benedict XVI’s embracing of digital technology and how it brings the world to our ain wee but and ben; he also warned against eschewing all personal, real-time, flesh-and-blood relationships in favour of the digital.  Self and World, but most of all connections.  We need to connect, as, to quote Fr James (of the Catholic Chaplaincy) Christ asked Thomas to connect with Him, flesh and blood, in putting his hand in Christ’s wounds.  Heart-rending no doubt: we cannot live sanitised lives and live the Gospel.



  1. Check out this guy’s Scottish tatoo!

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