June 7, 2011

Tending your garden

It always takes some adjusting when one gets home from vacation. Yes the time away is enjoyable and good, but then we have to come back to reality with its schedules, deadlines, and other responsibilities. I am trying not to let coming back to home and work be too stressful.  I have come to discover that giving into stressful situations is one of my faults which I am working hard to overcome, hence the title of this blog and the scripture passage from where it comes.

One of the things I am doing in the few days I have been back in New York is tending my garden.  I have made a few trips to the nursery and The Home Depot and have been planting flowers around the yard and on the deck. Flowers make me happy.  I don't have a green thumb so it may not look like a botanical garden, but as I sit outside in the morning to say my prayers, with a cup of coffee and the sound of the birds chirping in the tress, I feel at peace and at one with nature and with the Creator of all that is beautiful and good.

It's early in the season and my plants are still small, but soon they will grow and the yard will be filled with color.  I kind of think our spiritual life is like that.  We start out "small," like a seed or seedling, and the more nourishment we get through our relationship with God, the more we grow in our spiritual life.  It reminds me of the inquirers in RCIA.  They start out not knowing that much but have a desire for God and to grow in their love of God. We nourish them with God's Word and help them to understand what it means to be a Christian. By the time Easter comes they are "blossoming" and hopefully will continue to bloom throughout their lives. 

The image of a well tended garden to describe the spiritual life is one that has been used throughout the centuries. Jesus himself used the image in His parables of the Sower and the Seed, and when He spoke of trees giving fruit. St. Teresa used the image of watering a garden to describe advancing in one's prayer life.  Along with water, a garden needs sun.  So too, we need the Son. Just as flowers lean toward the sunlight, we must follow the Son where He leads us.  Only in this way can we expect to blossom in the spiritual life.


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