f Morning Rose Prayer Gardens: 03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011


     My plan, instead of taking a nap, is to start cleaning up yard waste left by the winter winds and snow.The nip in the air catches in my chest as I walk across the yard.  Its the end of March for goodness sakes, and temperatures by mid-day should at least be above freezing!
   Carefully I pick up debris from the flower beds so as not to damage determined hyacinths pushing through frozen soil.
     I snap off old stems of mums and cut to the ground the ornamental grasses. I rake up the circle of straw that afforded my little dog a place of relief when the snow piled higher than she was tall.
   In the middle of the drive is a fire pit where I deposit my gatherings to burn. Before I ignite it I pull to the side last fall's trimmings that are on the bottom, wanting to free any birds or critters that might be nesting within. Two fat black field mice groggily jump free and hop-skip to the tarp covered lawn furniture to hide.
    The fire grows rapidly as scent and smoke rise. I add more fodder for the flames and become aware that under my hoodie goose bumps are forming as the sudden change in temperature warms me. I am reminded of the flames at the Easter Vigil and the spiritual goose bumps I get when the church becomes dark.
     I toss onto the fire a fairly large branch from an arborvitae and am amazed by the sound from the burning scale like leaves...a sharp tinkling sound like splashing water.
     Fire and water...
     A baptism of sorts on this cold spring day.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Directional Pruning 

     I headed out this morning, scraping frost off the windshield in a mere 22 degree dawn, to work on the grounds of St. Francis Retreat Center. With coffee at hand and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy CD playing, the 50 minute drive went by quickly.

     Even though the morning was cold, the sun was bright and thwarted my S.A.D. An hour later two more well bundled volunteers joined me to help clean up the gardens. They headed off to cut back the ornamental grasses, and I stayed near the front to prune and rake.

     For over three hours I contemplated being pruned as I pruned or, of late while unemployed, of being cut to the ground and starting anew.

     I love to prune. It's like art to me, a hope filled art.

     Sometimes with small trees a whole section that rubs against what is good needs to be removed. At other times the interior has become cluttered with unnecessary branches that block the light from reaching deep inside. More often, it is a simple nip here or there to keep things growing as they should.

     When I do this light pruning I look for a buds direction, its future. Will it grow backwards and into itself? Does it face out and up toward the sun? I imagine the plant's growth and calculate development before I dare to cut. 

     On more than one occasion the Groundskeeper has lovingly chided me as I repeatedly circled my object of renovation. Maybe I do take too seriously the ramifications of my pruning efforts. But like other things in my life, I do not want to throw others off balance.

     And this is how I drew closer to God on this bright and chilly day. He too wants balanced growth, purposefully directional.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Priestly Friend

Fr. Randy Miller, Born Into Eternal Life

     He liked to tease me a bit. He told me he was a lot younger than he actually was. He said he liked my smile and always, always offered me a sideways hug. I liked his impish grin and the way he would sometimes run his long thin hand over his shiny bald head when pondering a question. I secretly laughed at his quirkiness and openly hated his smoking. What I liked the most about him was his homilies.
     He was the best homilist I had ever heard. He had a way of connecting theology with the mundane, eternity to the daily, changing what we needed to hear into what we needed to understand. He made connections with what seemed to be unrelated elements in such a way that I was often astounded.
     I found that many of the seeds that had been planted in my mind took root and began to sprout after his Masses. Some of what he said was not always in agreement, but the gift of controversy is the process of thought...he made me want to think, to discern and draw closer to God. And isn't that the purposes of a homily?
     I will miss him and his words.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Welcome to Morning Rose Prayer Gardens!

In the beginning...

Hello and welcome to the
new site for Morning Rose Prayer Gardens. I pray you find inspiration and growth while tending to your garden!
     I find I am both humbled and intimidated by the thought of creating a blog. I wonder what my voice, the voice of a gardener, will be like when written. I wonder who would read my words and how those words would affect them. I wonder how those who are educated in theology will perceive my spirituality from the soil.
     This blog is the result of reinventing myself. I am literally one in a million unemployed, and well into my 50's. During this time without a job, I asked God to show me how to use the talents he had given me, even though they may not necessarily include the skills I had developed. As I said, I am a gardener, I am also Catholic and I am willing to journey in faith along unknown roads.
     I will do my best to follow the words of  Thomas Merton, "To do this work carefully and well, with love and respect for the nature of my task and with due attention to its purpose, is to unite myself to God's will in my work. In this may I become his instrument."
      So I will ask for the same as when I develop gardens of prayer or memorial, that the Lord will give me what will rebound to his own profit.
     May we all grow in peace.