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! 

Through Darkness To Light


A few years ago I visited Gaudí’s masterpiece the Basilica De La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. It was so awe inspiring to see the beauty of this unique Basilica. Its stained glass windows are magnificent. I was marveled by seeing the light coming through these windows and not only was I completely awed by their beauty but it also gave me an “illumination” inviting me to enter into a profound inner reflection about my spiritual life. It was an unforgettable experience.

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”
~ Desmond Tutu



Here are a few photos I took during my visit to La Sagrada Familia

barcelona pics2 “But man does not create…he discovers.” ~ Antoni Gaudí

barcelona pics7

“The amount of light should be just right, not too much, not too little, since having too much or too little light can both cause blindness.”
~ Antoni Gaudí 

barcelona pics3
Gaudí was a devout man. He went to church twice a day. He believed with conviction his architectural ability was a gift from God.

Gaudí famously insisted: “My client is not in a hurry”. His client, of course, was God.

 

A Meditation

The human being is like a field. In this field a treasure is hidden (Mt 13:44). Deep within you, you carry enormous riches, you carry divine life. Before you can get to the treasure, you must work your way through many layers where you are confronted with many different things which may appear to be completely different than the treasure you are seeking. You may be surprised that so much disorder and impurity exist within you.

It is important that you understand what it is you seek, so that you don’t lose courage in face of what you must confront. You are seeking the light within you, but you can’t avoid meeting your darkness as well. It is through allowing some of the light to enter you that you become conscious of your darkness.

When you seriously strive to be good and loving, then it will be revealed how much evil and lovelessness there is within you. The more you take pains to be true, the more your untruthfulness shows.

You don’t have to focus on your mistakes. If you seek God with your whole heart, the mistakes will show themselves. Then it is important not to close your eyes to them, but rather observe them in all their misery.

It is not particularly encouraging to be face to face with all the impurity we carry within. it can be heartbreaking. But it is in a broken heart that we find the way to the treasure. But don’t get stuck in your misery, keep your eyes on God. He is your treasure.

 

~ By Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D. 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

A Pearl of Great Price

Pearl of great price by JVC

A pearl of great price, art by Janice Van Cronkhite

“The higher he ascends the less he understands,
because the cloud is dark which lit up the night;
Whoever knows this remains always in unknowing
and transcending all knowledge.”
~ Saint John of the Cross

The contemplative must lean on pure faith, as Saint John of the Cross affirms insistently. By this teaching, he maintains that our hunger for God in prayer depends in an absolute sense on a belief in his immediate presence to our soul despite what can seem at times the stark emptiness of the dark hour. In this teaching, faith is essential to the contemplative life, just as breathing is to the human person.
The certitude upon which the deeper life of contemplative prayer rests can only be firmly grounded in the unquestioning dispositions of a soul’s deeper faith. Faith establishes the certitude of the divine presence, without which prayer might be thought simply a lonely cry released into the vast reaches of an empty night. By faith our soul knows that prayer draws a mysterious response from God, even when it seems to be an answer of silence. The silence conceals God’s longing for our soul—a truth known often only by faith. It is a faith always rooted in the clear teaching of the Catholic doctrinal tradition, without which no contemplative life can survive.

The truth of God is an inexhaustible mystery and therefore always an incitement and goad to our intelligence. Even with an intensity of faith, we confront the incomprehensibility of God. There is no eventual arrival in prayer at a comfortable knowledge of God. He is infinite love and beyond our human understanding. Contrary to what may be our expectation, greater faith does not grant a more expansive knowledge of God. What it does more often is reduce our knowledge of him to a blind certitude of his living presence. We realize in deeper prayer how real he is and, likewise, how unknown he still is. This inability to overcome barriers of blindness in our knowledge of God is the normal condition of contemplative prayer after a certain point. Over time, we learn more about the limits of knowledge, while at the same time recognizing that there is no limit to love. A loving encounter with God can remain our great desire in prayer even in blindness and incomprehension. And God, indeed, does make the reality of his presence known at times, though not perhaps to our satisfaction. For his presence is not a reality that the soul, even with great love, can embrace as a possession. Always God slips back into hiding, so that our love, too, may be inexhaustible.   

~ A Meditation by Father Donald Haggerty

The Living Flame Of Love

Painting by Celine Martin : St John of the Cross

Saint John of the Cross ~ Art by Celine Martin

“This was requested of me by the Carmel, as he was known. I focused on creating a strong contrast with the cross.” Céline’s note. (taken from the Archives du Carmel de Lisieux)

Songs of the soul in the intimate communication of loving union with God. 

1. O living flame of love
that tenderly wounds my soul
in its deepest center! Since
now you are not oppressive,
now consummate! if it be your will:
tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!

2. O sweet cautery,
O delightful wound!
O gentle hand! O delicate touch
that tastes of eternal life
and pays every debt!
In killing you changed death to life.

3. O lamps of fire!
in whose splendors
the deep caverns of feeling,
once obscure and blind,
now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely,
both warmth and light to their Beloved.

 

4. How gently and lovingly
you wake in my heart,
where in secret you dwell alone;
and in your sweet breathing,
filled with good and glory,
how tenderly you swell my heart with love.
~ Saint John of the Cross, O.C.D.

In a Cloud of Angels

Angel art by Nadia Strelkina

Angel, art by Nadia Strelkina

I walk in a cloud of angels.
God has a throne in the secret of my soul.
I move, encircled by light,
blinded by glowing faces,
lost and bewildered in the motion of wings,
stricken by music too sublime to bear.
Splendor is everywhere.
God is always enthroned on the cherubim,
circled by seraphim.
Holy, holy, holy,
wave upon wave  of endless adoration.
I walk in a cloud of angels that worship Him.
I walk in a cloud of angels…

~ By Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers) O.C.D. (1905-1988)