Friday, August 19, 2011

Waiting....Watering....Not Easy.

The earth, the humus, has been broken open. The seeds, and the seed potatoes, have been planted in the fertilized ground. Is that all there is? Unfortunately not. There is no instant growth, neither in the physical world, or the spiritual world. In both world we have the four W’s. (A), We have to wait, (B), we have to watch, (C), we have to water, and (C), we have to weed. All the above are not just necessary, they are each essential for a healthy, productive garden, and a healthy spirituality. This demands effort, sacrifice, and sad to say, a great deal of patience, all bound together with no expectations.
Waiting, for most of us is very difficult. we want results, and we want them now. Nature says to us, " hold you horses", growth cannot be rushed. There is a process here that has to be followed. If that is not followed then the results are not going to be what was desired, or we were destined to be given. The birth of God's only Son was not rushed. Unexpected, yes, ask Joseph. Mary, like all women had to go through the usual nine months of pregnancy, in order to have a healthy Son. Jesus had to learn the slow process of becoming a good carpenter. He was not able to snap His fingers, and a table and chairs would just suddenly appear. Nope, He had to do it the slow way. Slow is good. So we wait in, "patient expectation", for "the harvest "to appear. While we wait we watch. While we wait we are given the opportunity to rest. Rest from our efforts and surrender to the secret action of grace. This action is invisible . Just as we watch the rows and rows before we , in the beginning see no results. Deep within the earth these is a miracle happening. The seeds as we have sewn them die, they have to. It is the law of nature. Out of that dying new life appears. Unless the seed dies it remains just a single seed, but it is the dying that an abundance appears. So it is with us in our inner life. Where there is no death, there cannot be resurrection and NEW life. The greater the death, the greater the resurrection gifts. This is a guarantee.

We keep a close eye on the garden. We will come to see that it will need, both water and weeding. The water is essential for growth. The weeding is essential, so that a healthy space is provided for growth to happen. When the weeding does not happen, then growth is choked off. Would it not be great if you had to water just once, and weed just once. That is just a pipe dream, nothing to do with reality.

My reality was we did not have an irrigation, or sprinkler system. Actually we did have one, it was named Joe. The garden was a distance from the water source. So it was necessary to draw the water from the source, in five gallon drums. Water is heavy, that I soon discovered. Yet in order for growth to happen, numerous trips had to be taken with those two five gallon drums. In Ireland you can have a Summer with only one fine day. Other years you would only get one wet day. Guess which Summers I was gifted with, the" one wet day" Summer. While I was able to enjoy the beach in Garryvoe, by day, I knew well what was before me each evening. The results were great. We had fine spuds for dinner, to go with the carrots and parsnips. There were tomatoes, lettuce, and onions to make a wonderful salad. As we enjoyed all the good healthy food, not much thought was given to those, five gallon drums.

As the years progressed I have had the opportunity to reflect on those days, weeks and months in the garden. So many authors and mystics use the analogy of , the garden, as the symbol of our souls. as it happens in the garden, so the same reality is within our souls.( Jesus when He taught used the analogy of a field.) We have been called by Our Creator-Father to be co-cultivators of our individually gifted gardens. We are called to cooperate within , The Master Gardner, in the sacred work of the cultivation of our souls. He will not do what has to be done without our cooperation. He cannot get done what He intends, without our cooperation. What trust and faith Our Shepherd Gardner has in us. What a awe-full gift free will is?? Look at what is now within our power. Just as He had to wait for Mary's great YES!, so He waits for our Yes for His creative plan to be realized. That is how much Our God loves us. We have been created out of His freedom, to live, if we so choose, a life of creative freedom.

Here I have to rely on St. Theresa of Avila. She was able to connect the action of watering a garden with four different stages of prayer That is going to be next week effort.


  1. Coincidence? While on a sojourn in Kalispell,Mt,I'm reading Fr Joe's blog, then turn to a daily spiritual reading that states the story of St Francis working in a beautiful garden. A passerby said, "You must have prayed very hard to get such beautiful plants to grow." The good saint answered, "Yes I did. But every time I started to pray I reached for the hoe."

  2. While praying at the mission in San Luis Obispo, I suddenly realized that I had not really done the heavy lifting of prayer. A thousand little distractions have infiltrated and diverted me, but there I was thinking I was really praying. That sudden realization gave me some insight into what I really want from prayer -- solace, growth, closeness to God, love -- not moments filled with distractions. I had to learn to concentrate on one thing, and eliminate all others. That, for me, is the heavy lifting of prayer.