Who Is A Gardener?

woman and the roses

 

And who is a flower gardener? A person who prays to God in beauty. A painter of the Lord. A musician of God. A poet of the Almighty. A person who makes beauty in the colors of flowers.

No one—atheist, communist, sinner, or saint—can pass a flower garden without stopping. In some places, raising flowers is an art almost beyond our understanding. A person’s soul, a nation’s soul, can be expressed in a garden.

Who is a flower gardener? An utterly dedicated person, who loves each flower tenderly, and knows intimately the ways, habits, likes and dislikes of each one. He is someone who gives beauty to everyone—not ordinary beauty, but God’s beauty. And if a gardener did not know God before he became interested in flowers, if he perseveres, he will know him soon, and know him intimately.

Who is a flower gardener? A person who sooner or later falls utterly in love with God, who approaches flowers reverently (you have to, otherwise they will not grow for you), and thus silently shouts his love of God. The one who grows flowers gives God to man, and becomes possessed by God themselves.

Gardeners grow beauty for the Lord, and to bring others closer to him. Each flower, tree, or bush, wild or tame, is God’s love letter to us; each reflects an infinitely small part of his beauty. Yet, this small part can be so enchanting, so overwhelming, so healing, that words can fail to describe it.

 ~ A Meditation by Catherine de Hueck Doherty

 


Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead, He set before your eyes the things that He had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that?
~ Saint Augustine of Hippo


 

“Christ within us,
Light above us,
Earth beneath us,
Love surrounds us.”

 

Happy and Blessed Earth Day! 

Sacratíssima Misericordiae

Sacratíssima Misericordiae.(La Joya de Luz) by jose luis castrillo

Sacratíssima Misericordiae.(La Joya de Luz), art by Jose Luis Castrillo

Solitude — my favorite moments,
Solitude — but always with You, Jesus and Lord,
Close to Your Heart, time passes pleasantly for me,
And, close to Him, my soul finds its repose.

When the heart is filled with You and overflowing with love,
And the soul burns with pure fire,
Then, amidst the utmost desolation, the soul will not experience loneliness,
Because it rests on Your bosom.

O Solitude — moments of supreme companionship,
Though I be abandoned by all creatures,
I immerse myself totally in the ocean of Your Godhead,
And You listen sweetly to my confidences.

Jesus, I trust in You!

 

~ A Meditation from the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska

 

 

 

 

Grace Given

awakenedheart

Awakened Heart, art by Janice Van Cronkhite

You drench me in your blessedness—
pressed down, compacted, flowing over,
till here I am, a child caught in a storm of love,
saturated with these discarnate ecstasies.

Your ways are masterful. Your generosity,
now captive in my starveling heart, loads me
with luxurious garments, crown and jewels—
treasures gained by you in times long past,
and yet enduring into our eternal now.

You are willing captive to my abject,
but trustingly prosaic, homeliness.

Where do we go from here?
Into some fastness of delight and fortitude,
a refuge for those wanderers, besotted by your love?

I cannot conceive (nor do I try)
what you have in store for me, but rest
in faith’s patient hope, and love’s fierce faith.

It is you who taught me how to love—
assiduous, recklessly adventurous
and all the while imprisoned deep
within your mighty stronghold of a heart.

 

~ A poem by Barbara Dent, O.C.D.S.  

Easter Love

 

Mary Magadalene after Christ Resurrection

Mary Magdalene meets the Risen Christ, art by Bradi Barth

He is Risen, Truly He is Risen! Alleluia!

On Easter we celebrate love,
love coming down from heaven,
love blanketing the earth
in a transforming embrace;
unique and infinite love,
giving more than we can imagine
for us, to cleanse our sin,
a perfect sacrifice, Lamb of God,
the walking, talking Word.
He is teacher, role model, friend,
this God in human form,
dying, then rising from the dead,
proving all who believe
will also rise
to have eternal life, with Him,
Lord of all.
Oh, Happy, Happy Easter!

A poem by Joanna Fuchs

Wishing all of you a very happy and blessed Easter Sunday!

 

Tears in The Garden

Jesus in the Garden artist unknown

Christ in The Garden, by unknown artist

My Beloved,
May I console Your heart?
Sadness and weariness are so palpable in this encounter.
Is it necessary that You go through all those moments of suffering and anguish for me?
The anguish of Your precious heart, O Lord, breaks me.
It’s happening all over again…

You are only loving and giving.
How can this be happening?
I don’t want to fall asleep my Jesus.
I want to stay awake, to console Your precious heart, like the angel from heaven did in those dark days.

Would You allow me to be in Your presence now, Lord?
I know You need to pray to your Father.
For his strength and courage will be upon You.
But Lord, I pray, allow me to remain with You now. In silence and in communion.
Your tears are overflowing and my garden is wet from those precious tears…
Your tears are cleansing and healing everything.

O Beloved Jesus,
Thank You for loving me with such infinite and unconditional love.
I can’t express in words how much gratitude I feel for You saving me.

Beloved, let us pray together.
Let us stay in this silent union of love and trust,
That all is in the Father’s heart.

I stay awake.
Let us be together.
Let us pray together, my Beloved.


~ My Personal Reflection

 

 

 

 

The Fragrant Sacrifice of Love

 

Mary of Bethany the unction of Christ art by julia stankova

The Unction of Christ, art by Julia Stankova

In the Gospel of John we read how Mary of Bethany takes a whole bottle of expensive pure nard and pours it out over the feet of Jesus (Jn 12:1-8). This bottle contains a fortune, the costliest and very best that Mary has. When she has poured it out over Jesus’ feet, she dries them with her hair. What a waste! She uses no towel to dry his feet; she uses her hair, herself.

Since that time, there have always been people who feel drawn, yes forced to do as Mary. People, who in their innermost being know that they must give everything, not just what they have, but what they are. They must give their whole self. They must give it all at once. They don’t even ask what purpose it serves. But the whole Church, the whole world, is filled with the fragrance of their devotion.

There is no other incident in the gospel which so clearly expresses the uniqueness of the contemplative life. Those who enter such a life, whether in a monastery or in society, ask no questions about their talents and whether these will bear fruit, nor do they ask whether the contemplative life will develop their personality. All they think about is to give all their love to the Lord, spreading a fragrance everywhere.

~ A Meditation by Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.


Radiating Christ

by Blessed John Henry Newman

Dear Jesus, help us to spread Your fragrance everywhere we go.
Flood our souls with Your Spirit and Life.
Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly,
that our lives may only be a radiance of Yours.
Shine through us, and be so in us, that every soul we come in contact with
may feel Your presence in our soul.
Let them look up and see no longer us but only Jesus!
Stay with us and then we shall begin to shine, as You shine;
So to shine as to be a light to others;
the light, O Jesus, will be all from You, none of it will be ours;
it will be You shining on others through us.
Let us thus praise You in the way You love best, by shining on those around us.
Let us preach You by our words and by our example,
by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what we do,
the evident fullness of the love our hearts bear to You.
Amen.


Love Song

Jesus and the beloved disciple2

St. John The Beloved Disciple resting in the Heart of Jesus ~ By unknown artist

Long ago, an ordinary man called John laid his head on the breast of Christ, and listened to the heartbeats of the Lord. Who can guess what that man felt as he heard the beat of that mighty heart? None of us will ever be in his place, but all of us can hear, if we listen, the song of love God sings to us. If we meditate on the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist, we will hear, not only his heartbeats, but our own hearts beating in unison with his. We will be united with our Lord and our God.

God’s heart is our only true resting place, the oasis to which he calls us. The key to his heart is identification with all his little ones, a deep love that requires so great an enlargement of heart that we cannot even aspire to it unless God shows us the way.

Let us pray for that enlargement of heart.


“I give you a new commandment: love one another; just as I have loved you, you also must love one another. By this love you have for one another, everyone will know you are my disciples.” – John 13:34-35 


A Meditation by Catherine Doherty, Madonna House Apostolate

 

Silence…The Indispensable Doorway to The Divine

On Monday night I attended  a public lecture with His Eminence Cardinal Robert Sarah, at St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica in Toronto, Ontario.

Cardinal Sarah

Photo credit to Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

Cardinal Sarah was born in Guinea, West Africa. Made an Archbishop by Pope Saint John Paul II and a Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI, he was named the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments by Pope Francis in 2014. He is the author of such books as God or Nothing and, more recently, The Power of Silence ~ Against the Dictatorship of Noise.

Cardinal Sarah3

His Eminence Cardinal Thomas Collins from the Archdiocese of Toronto greeting Cardinal Robert Sarah ~ Photo taken by me

Cardinal Sarah’s talk was about how to live our faith authentically and the importance of the strength of silence in our lives. “The modern world generates so much noise, he says, that seeking moments of silence has become both harder and more necessary than ever before.” “Silence is an attitude of the soul.”

Silence is the space that allows God into our lives, said Cardinal Sarah. In his most recent book The Power of Silence he writes:

“There is one great question: how can man really be in the image of God? He must enter into silence. When he drapes himself in silence, as God himself dwells in a great silence, man is close to heaven, or, rather, he allows God to manifest himself in him. We encounter God only in the eternal silence in which he abides. Have you ever heard the voice of God as you hear mine?
God’s voice is silent. Indeed, man, too, must seek to become silence.
In his book I Want to See God, Blessed Marie-Eugene de L’Enfant-Jésus O.C.D. writes:

God speaks in silence, and silence alone seems able to express Him. For the spiritual person who has known the touch of God, silence and God seem to be identified. And so, to find God again, where would he go, if not to the most silent depths of his soul, into those regions that are so hidden that nothing can any longer disturb  them?
When he has reached there, he preserves with jealous care the silence that gives him God.
He defends it against any agitation, even that of his own powers.

At the heart of man there is an innate silence, for God abides in the innermost part of every person. God is silence, and this divine silence dwells in man. In God we are inseparably bound up with silence. The Church can affirm that mankind is the daughter of a silent God; for men are the sons of silence.

God carries us, and we live with him at every moment by keeping silence. Nothing will make us discover God better than his silence inscribed in the center of our being. If we do not cultivate this silence, how can we find God? Man likes to travel, create, make great discoveries. But he remains outside of himself, far from God, who is silently in his soul. I want to recall how important it is to cultivate silence in order to be truly with God. Saint Paul, drawing on the Book of Deuteronomy, explains that we will not encounter God by crossing the seas, because he is in our heart:

Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?” (that is to bring Christ down) or “Who will descend into the abyss?” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does [the law] say? The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom 10:6-9; Deut 30:12-14, 16)

It is necessary to leave our interior turmoil in order to find God. Despite the agitations, the busyness, the easy pleasures, God remains silently present. He is in us like a thought, a word, and a presence whose secret sources are buried in God himself, inaccessible to human inspection.

Solitude is the best state in which to hear God’s silence. For someone who wants to find silence, solitude is the mountain that he must climb. if a person isolates himself by going away to a monastery, he comes first to seek silence. And yet, the goal of his search is within him. God’s silent presence already dwells in his heart. The silence that we pursue confusedly is found in our own hearts and reveals God to us.”

“When we retreat from the noise of the world in silence, we gain a new perspective on the noise of the world,” he said. “To retreat into silence is to come to know ourselves, to know our dignity.”

“Marvels of technology have made it more difficult to know and to learn the value of silence. Cardinal Sarah urged his audience to keep technology in its proper place.
“Technology is only ever a means. Technological development is never an end in itself. Technology does not satisfy our deepest desires.” he said.”

And I would like to conclude with this quote from the Cardinal, “Let us seek silence, for in silence we come to know God and to know ourselves.”

my garden

“Be silent. Sit there and appreciate everything that God has given to us.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I Lay Me Down to Sleep

This is a little adaptation of the beautiful song by Sophie B. Hawkins. Every time I listen to it, it makes me think of My Beloved….Jesus I love you!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do…

 

Jesus you are mine art by Yongsung Kim

You are mine, art by Yong-Sung Kim

 

It felt like spring time on this February morning
In a courtyard birds were singing Your praise
I’m still recalling things You said to make me feel alright
I carried them with me today
Now

As I lay me down to sleep
This I pray
That You will hold me dear
Though I’m far away
I’ll whisper your Name into the sky
And I will wake up happy

I wonder why I feel so high
Though I am not above the sorrow
Heavy hearted
Till You call my name
And it sounds like church bells
Or the whistle of a train
On a summer evening
I’ll run to meet You
Barefoot, barely breathing

As I lay me down to sleep 
This I pray
That You will hold me dear
Though I’m far away
I’ll whisper Your name into the sky 
And I will wake up happy

Oh, Beloved
As I lay me down to sleep
This I pray
That You will hold me dear
Though I’m far away
I’ll whisper Your name into the sky 
And I will wake up happy

It’s not too near for me
Like a flower I need the rain
Though it’s not clear to me
Every season has it’s change
And I will see You
When the sun comes out again

As I lay me down to sleep 
This I pray
That You will hold me dear
Though I’m far away
I’ll whisper Your name into the sky 
And I will wake up happy

I wonder why 

when the sun comes out again 
when the sun comes out again…

I will wake up happy 

This I pray

 

To Be Everyone

purple heart leaf

Purple Heart (photo source unknown)

What am I? And who am I? One who dies a thousand deaths yet stays alive. One who hangs upon a cross not made of wood, but of days and nights that merge and dance their endless dance of pain and of delight.

One who walks shrouded in silence, yet speaks for those who cannot speak, in an endless sea of words that storms, pleads and batters away at hearts of stone—which send my words right back to me: fiery wounding darts of painful ecstasy.

One who is torn apart by the pain of all those who hunger and who thirst, whose shelter is dusty tropic streets, or snowy desert wastes.

I am the millions who seek him, and yet I have found him. How can that be? Why must I live as I were all others? It seems to me that I am torn apart, and that each piece of me is someone else in search of him whom I possess. I must go and walk upon my God, for he is the Way—which means I walk upon Love itself.

But he who walks that way stands still, for how can one walk on feet that are nailed and hands made fast to beam and cross?

The mystery is great. I walk and yet am crucified. I am silent yet I shout. I am filled yet hungry, sheltered yet shelterless, warm yet cold, cold yet hot.

What am I? Who am I?

I am everyone, because I love him: my Lord. I am everyone whom he loves. This is my agony. This is my ecstasy. This is who and what I am.

To be everyone for love of him is to participate in the fullness of his passion.

He said: “I am the Way.” I know this is true because I have walked that Way a thousand yesterdays and walk it still today. 

~ A Meditation by Catherine de Hueck Doherty