Just Keep Going

 

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We all get cut back a bit through life, sometimes a little more like a prune than a pinch.

I often find the greatest truths in the simplest garden lessons.

The begonia is an amazing plant…it just keeps going along and blooming, and when cut back, it starts up again.

~ Gladys Taber

The Angel Wing begonias are a lesson in humility. They too start up again when cut back and hide their beauty beneath their wings.

Image by Heidel Bergerin at pixabay.com.

 

 

Send us Good and Holy Religious, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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O Jesus, Good Shepherd, who have come to save what was lost, you have established the priesthood of the Holy Church, so that the work of Redemption might be perpetuated. We ask you urgently: send laborers into your vineyard! Give your Holy Church worthy and holy priests. Give your Holy Church religious brothers and sisters. Grant that all those whom you have chosen from all eternity may follow your call. Do not allow anyone who is unworthy to ascend the steps of the altar.

Confirm all priests and religious in their difficult vocation and bless their efforts and labors. Grant that they may be the salt of the earth which preserves from corruption and that they may be the light of the world which enlightens the faithful by their words and example. Grant them wisdom, patience and fortitude in order that they may promote your honor, propagate your Kingdom in the hearts of men, and guide the souls which have been entrusted to them to eternal life.

Amen

Prayer shared from https://www.praymorenovenas.com/

Image Pixabay.com, CCO creative Commons.

Covering Ground, Unwilling to be Barren

6F6A3033Had I still been using a typewriter, there would be a pile of balled up, partially typed pages surrounding my desk. I thought I had a good piece written, but then not quite. It was reworked, altered, I paraphrased another writer, tried to add wit which only seemed forced, moved paragraphs…no, lead sentences…no…start again.

I thought this column would be about barren ground, earth laid fallow and exposed. I wanted to tell you about how it’s not natural to create an unproductive and sterile land. That nature wants to protect itself. Gardeners and farmers know that exposed soil is soon covered by plants. All manner of seeds fall to the ground and take hold. The seeds sprout, their roots secure the soil, and the ground is protected from the ravages of sun and wind.

I wanted my column to lead you into reflecting why we at times are not being fruitful. But all my words lacked depth, sounded trite and fell short in a way that was embarrassing.

I left my desk and sat before the home altar where I prayed and read. I went to Adoration and offered to God the few words that I had printed out and carried there. I tried to be open, to be still and calmly wait. I sat in the upholstered chair with the dog. I stared out the window. I returned to my desk and stared at the monitor.

All that I had were snippets of thoughts, disconnected and dispersed, and an imagined pile of wadded up paper strewn around my feet.

I found that I felt like the fallowed ground in my unproductive metaphor. My nature doesn’t want to be fruitless and barren, not even for a day. I feared that if I were idle for too long the winds of change would blow hot and carry away what was fertile ground, leaving me exposed as nothing more than the proverbial Dust Bowl.

I want to be fruitful…so add yet another blank sheet to my digital “typewriter.” Words or weeds, they both cover ground eventually.

Image by Mariask courtesy morguefile.com.

(1/23/13)

Sod of Love Spared from Eden

burgundy roseI stooped at the waist to pull a few weeds. A twinge in my back caused me to stagger a bit so I lowered to kneeling and moved closer the flowers—a familiar intimacy.

The rose next to me was Tuscany, a maroon heirloom rose, its richly perfumed center was fluffy with gold pollen. The base of the dark velvety petals were tipped with white where the keel connected to the calyx. It gave the illusion of light radiating from its center. ‘Tuscany Superb’ is a polite shrub rose that remains relatively compact, at about four feet high and wide, and its stems are covered in hairy prickles rather than the usual woody thorns.

I worked my way a little farther down the garden bed, scooching along to where the Oriental lilies ‘Pink Pearl’ grew. The oversized anther pads floated on fine pale green filaments above the white edged petals. A humming bird zoomed in, took a couple quick sips from the lily’s trumpet and darted off.

The roses and the lilies, the fragrances known in July, rustled enough of me into the moment that the anxieties of the past few weeks eased.

I had been nearly consumed by worries, what were perceived as potential threats. A ghost from decades ago had returned to haunt, and fear bit hard like a hungry dog on grizzled bone.

I’d become terribly upset and thrown off balance, losing the comfortable peace so well known in my days. I attempted to regain perspective through regimented worship: intercessory praying, rosary, Liturgy of the Hours, Mass and Adoration. Tentatively I reached out for prayer and shared the situation with a group of peers. They acknowledged my fears and began their own intercessions on my behalf.

In all this, it wasn’t until I lowered myself to the ground did the tension seep away.

To kneel on soil—instead of on padded wood—is to join oneself intimately with the Creator, to lean into, and on to, God. To arch the back and offer ones hands to toil with joy or tears, distract, alone, loved or not is to embroider the earth with prayer.

We are placed upon this sod of love spared from the Garden of Eden. For as low as our lives are from the heavens, we are, always, the humus of the earth—from it and to it, nourished and nourishing, full circle in the created affections of God. We scratch upon it. And not all scratching is fruitful and not all seeding sprouts.

It is the effort to draw closer to God that brings us to our knees. And every prayer waters the ground that rears us to our sainthood.

(Image by Margaret Rose Realy, Obls OSB. All rights reserved.)

(Originally appeared July 2014)

Mother has the Patience of a Saint

Soloman's seal and cross

Solomon’s seal and cross

Silently she stands, peering at me from around a tree as I slog my way through the project. She’s been waiting for me to complete her rose garden.

I started it the beginning of May, the month dedicated to our Holy Mother. The idea for a Marian rose garden didn’t originate with me, it was by request. The thought of attempting to garden again was a challenge to how I’ve come to see myself with physical limitations. It felt like a dare, and I usually don’t respond to those. Taking on this project would mean learning about patience and moderation so there would be minimal aches from my Mary behind treearthritic spine.

Moving forward a lot of prayers were offered as I struggled to let go of expectations. Tasks I had done in less than thirty minutes now took the better part of a day, and a day in between to recover. Prayer also supplied endurance to persevere—and needed materials.

One expectation that had to be let go was that the garden would be completed by Mother’s Day. I now hope for the end of the month, on The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, May 31.

The next phase was to deal with the sod, and then plant the roses. I fussed for a few days on the placement of the bushes, finally deciding the order of the roses should be white/Joyful Mysteries, red/Sorrowful Mysteries, yellow/Glorious Mysteries, and last purple for the recently added Luminous Mysterious—the sorrowful being embraced on each side with joy and glory.

There is still more to do.

Next was trenching out the sod for the edging of bricks—those lovely, now clean treasures! The bricks will provide an edge for the lawn mower wheel to ride over, eliminating the need to trim the grass. edger flippedHaving learned earlier the benefit and ease of using an electric edger, I repeated the process, cutting two lines around the bed in the width of the bricks. I found the cultivating hoe was perfect for rolling up strips of sod. Over the course of a couple of days I was ready for ground cloth and mulch.

cutting edging brickscutting edging pulling strip

 

 

 

 

 

 

To lay the ground cloth, secure the material with U-shaped landscaping pins at the farthest edge and unroll to the other end, leaving about two inches extra at each end. The material will usually blow around, so I used a brick to hold a portion in place while I worked my way across the bed. Slide the cloth up onto the sod/soil and cut a line partially across the material so it will go around a bush. When you figure the cloth is far enough up, cut an X and fold the flaps under so the cloth encircles the bush. Pin the split in place and move on to the next plant. Repeat the process for the next course of ground cloth, allowing a three inch overlap on top of the previous row. Pin in place. It took three courses of material to cover my garden area.

Trim back the extra cloth allowing an extra two inches or more to lie under a flat edging; in my case, the bricks. If you are using a vertical edging you’ll leave only one inch and slide the ground cloth between the edging and the soil on the garden side.

Next week, the finishing touches.

I made poetry stones, too!

(All images by Margaret Rose Realy, Obl OSB. All rights reserved.)