Long time readers know that I’ve put up a gabillion Flowers for the Immaculate Conception, flowers that I see here at the rectory, at church, at the hermitage, “picked” wherever I happen to be, always at the ready to pick flowers for Jesus’ good mom.
But that doesn’t mean I know anything about flowers. I certainly don’t have a green thumb. If it were left up to me, all flowers would die with too much or not enough sun, over or under or irregular watering or fertilizing, weeding out the flowers and mystified as to why only weeds grow, you know, that kind of thing.
One gracious reader sent in a bare roots in the box Florabunda Guadalupe Rose which I planted according to instructions after soaking for a few days. After a some months it burst into a zillion roses all at once, and then those disappeared and the leaves stopped growing and I thought that I had done it again, another dead plant.
But, all of a sudden, the other week, I saw new growth in the leaves. Great, thought I, a second life. Then I saw the rose pictured above. I went out to take this picture and saw that the bush had another gatrillion buds ready to explode into flowers next to the little “grotto” of Our Lady. It’s like a lull in between fire works on the 4th of July. All quiet, all dark, and then… Wow!
This is also how things can be in the spiritual life, so much so that we can come to know what Saint Paul means when he says:
I know indeed how (1) to live in humble circumstances; I know also how (2) to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret (2) of being well fed and (1) of going hungry, (2) of living in abundance and (1) of being in need. (Philippians 4:12)
Notice that he throws around the order of the circumstances. We usually say that we know how to put up with good circumstances and even… and even… difficult circumstances. He reverses that order and emphasis: “I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance.” Outrageous, that.
And then he throws it out the other way, twice, just to make sure that we get the right idea that stability, security, constancy in friendship with our Lord doesn’t depend on some sort of determination we have, but rather depends on the love our Lord holds us in. And that, in itself, is a Flower for the Immaculate Conception, she who stood next to our Lord in bad times and good, and good times and bad, and good times in bad.
Thank you Jesus. Thank you Mary.