f Morning Rose Prayer Gardens: 06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011

Monday, June 27, 2011


Held Aloft

I was at Mass and, looking at the crucifix, told the Lord that I was sorry for my lack of gratitude and focus. My body hurt, my depression was picking up speed, and hopelessness was circling like a vulture.

I was not the only one dealing with extended unemployment. I was older, educated and with far too much experience for most businesses during these times of economic uncertainty. No one wanted to hire me and I had tried to not take it personally, but it was getting hard not to.

As I searched for work, I’d exhausted all the benefits I could acquire as a healthy single woman without children, too young for Medicare. I was humiliated to be a charity case relying on friends to support me. I was also humbled by their willingness to share what little they had. I tried to remember that it is just as Christian to allow others to give a gift as it is to give one.

Still, I was tired of trying and tired of hoping. I didn’t care how far I fell; I simply knew I was falling into darkness.

iPhone, screen image
 Sitting there surrounded by others in the congregation, I had an image of a leaf falling from the branch of a very tall tree. Initially I thought of falling away from the tree of my life, tumbling hopelessly detached from all that I knew.

But as I sat there in the quite, I remembered how a leaf falls; swishing back and forth upon the breeze. It is lifted and carried aloft by the wind, as I too am carried aloft by the breath of God…to eventually be gently grounded.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


A Hidden Scar

     Working the grounds as a volunteer at St. Francis Retreat Center, I take great joy in making outdoor prayer spaces. There is really nothing elaborate about the gardens on the ninety-five acre site. After all, we were inundated with deer, rabbits, squirrels, and a host of other animals. All of which love to eat the flowers and shrubs suitable to their nutritional needs. I love the challenge of finding just the right plant for the right place that is resistant to their browsing.
     As I walked to another meditative garden, I looked at all the trees and grasses that our gardening group had installed. I was gratified to see how well everything was growing and that we were able to bring people to a space where they could draw closer to God.
     I noticed as I came around the drive that one of the trees had its trunk wrapped. I did not recall any of us performing the task and wandered over to have a look.  We had planted this tree, a Chinese Elm, because of its resistance to disease and insects, and I was surprised to see its lower trunk covered.
     From a distance I did not realize that the tree was wound in black plastic; a very bad product to be tied around any tree. I knew the Groundskeeper would never do this and assumed someone unfamiliar with proper tree care may have tried to help. I was less curious about who had done this than why.
     My heart sank as I removed the plastic and saw a three foot length of bark had been mechanically stripped from the trunk. The force of whatever had happened had even gone into the wood. The beautiful young Elm was deeply and forever scarred.
     I thanked God that whoever had tried to hide the damage had not compounded the problem by slopping paint or tar on the wound. I was also grateful that the wounding had happened fairly recently and that diseases had not begun to grow under the plastic. Walking over to the spigot, I turned on the water and with the hose began washing the area and leaving it to heal in the sunlight.
     It was a few days later when I returned to the tree that I realized how its wounding led me into a deeper understanding of sin. When our souls have been wounded and deeply scarred we try to hide it, often times making the situation worse through other wrong choices. Once we accept what has happened and expose the mistake to the Light, we too will be able to heal.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


A Divine Poem

A fish cannot drown in water.
A bird does not fall in air.
In the fire of creation
Gold doesn't vanish,
Fire brightens.
Each creature God made
Must live in its own true nature.
How can I resist my nature
That lives for oneness with God?

Mechthild von Magdeburg

Sunday, June 5, 2011


A Wee Bit Much

     There has been an over abundance of rain this spring.  Storms, some severe, have scoured the gardens with record amounts of rainfall. And the gardens have not responded well. 
     The numerous weeds have become massive in record time. With my inability to remove them between storms, they have thrived with all the moisture. They, and the desired garden plants, are floppy and weak stemmed from all the water and lack of sun. As for the opportunistic mushrooms, well, they have multiplied exponentially in both number and size.

Artist: MichaelaJoy

        Other things have grown in the garden besides the herbaceous plants…diseases of all kinds. The molds and mildews, fungus and rots have begun their insidious creeping. Their black pus or white fuzz coatings are appearing on stems and leaves faster than I can remove infected material.
     While trying to clean-up the border beds I found myself praying for sunlight and soft breezes to heal the gardens, but what came was also in excess. The temperatures went from 50-60’s and rainy to 85 and 90 with a scorching sun. The flowers that had managed to open between downpours now melted, further multiplying the molds and mildews. Then the gusting winds came, blowing so hard that softened stems and weakened branches collapsed and fell to the ground.
     It has been a springtime of disproportions, of extremes and excessiveness. This season I have come to appreciate even more the teachings of moderation, the virtue of temperance. I am reminded how an over abundance of any thing perceived as good…like rain and sun and air… will cause damage and disease if taken beyond a reasonable balance.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


One Fine and Good Irishman
     Many of you who read my blog already know I volunteer on the grounds of St. Francis Retreat Center in DeWitt, Michigan. I love the opportunity it provides me to contemplate the Creator in his creation, to offer His beauty to those coming on retreat, and to bless and be blessed by the priests who come to the facility.

Fr. Larry P. Delaney
St. Francis Retreat Center
703 E. Main St., DeWitt, MI 48820
      Today, and for the next several weeks, I ask you to offer up special prayers for the director of the retreat house, Fr. Larry Delaney, one fine and good Irishman. He has had a heart attack; he will need surgery and time to heal.
     A friend once said of him that he is  “Everybody’s sweetheart.” This may have added to his illness…his inability to say no and push himself beyond what is humanly possible…all in the name of Our Lord. He loves his ‘flock’ which includes, not a single parish, but a whole diocese and more. He is loved in return by his flock of, literally, tens of thousands.
     I ask that you storm the heavens with prayers for his healing. Not so he may recover and continue his frantic care of us, but that he may recover enough to enjoy a retirement basking in the charity of the peace he so deserves.