Loveliest Blossom

 

woman and the flowers art by Christen Schloe

Loveliest Blossom, by unknown artist

 


You are my private garden, my treasure, my bride, a secluded spring, a hidden fountain.
~ Song of Solomon 4:12



When you are eager in the tiny portion

that is your garden, when you are tying strings
to give the stalks of the sweet peas their balance
so flowers may alight on them like wings
of pastel butterflies; when you appraise
with glowing face the lilies and carnations
(scent is to charm and color to amaze),
I think: she has not found the loveliest blossom.

There is a flower full of mystery
between this wall and that, amid this green.
I found it but to bear it back to secret.
It is a flower God and I have seen,
and I not till I looked at it with Him.

Hidden and unpredictable and shy,
it was not given to be shared, not even with you,
little lover of fragrance.
(Oh, with you least of all!)
Plucked from the soft soil of your unawareness,
uprooted from my silence, it would die.
I keep it then, God’s individual favor,
the private bloom I scent my storerooms by.

 

~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.

 

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.


Notes on Contemplation

 

Art by Alfred Glendening Jr. (1861-1907)

Art by Alfred Glendening Jr. (1861-1907)

“I am not asking you so much to gaze upon Christ during your prayer of contemplation as to become aware of the fact that he does not for a moment cease to gaze upon you.” ~ Saint Teresa of Avila

The spiritual hunger of the contemplative can be satisfied only by a full surrender of the soul to God. The longing of the contemplative soul finds its completion precisely in this deeper offering and surrender to God. The manner in which God draws this surrender in prayer is a mysterious aspect of each contemplative life. It has its unique variations in each life, but one essential fact is that a complete surrender of the soul is demanded by the nature of love.
The need to offer all to God becomes a dominant urge within the soul of the contemplative and, indeed, within prayer itself. God in turn seems to find circumstances in which the contemplative soul is faced with this need as the only manner in which it can live out its hunger for God.
The surrender that takes place in prayer is often simply a response to what God has shown as an exclusive option for a soul if it is to plunge ahead in its relations of absolute love for God. 

~ By Father Donald Haggerty, ‘The Contemplative Hunger’