Spirituality of gardening at the rectory. Hint: It’s NOT New Age. It’s about Jesus, Mary, Joseph.

Yesterday the 4th to the last spaghetti squarrrsh from 2021 got cooked up. Lot’s of butter, onion chips, pepper. That’s it. Delicious, after more than six months after harvest.

Meanwhile, same day, these asparagi were harvested and cut up raw and put into a coleslaw salad:

Please don’t say asparagusses or asparagooses. Just don’t. There’s name is not Gus and they’re not geese. The plural for goose is not gooses. I think everyone should have a couple of years of Latin grammar school and a couple more in middle school and a couple more in high school.

For that matter, being that Holy Week is almost upon us, don’t say that Jesus was scorged at the pillar. It’s like being brave, as in courage, or like a nickname for a dog, that is, “cur” – cŭr. Thus, scourged is like scŭrged, with a “short” “u”. Sorry, my pet peeve.

I can’t help myself. It’ not that we’re against being “vaxxed” with abortion tainted fake “vaccines.” We’re against receiving such “vaccines.” Why’s that? Doing up a bit of historical philology, “x” is actually an abbreviation for “ks” in Greek. That old cow “vacca” (whence we get “vaccine”) has a “c” closing a syllable and another opening a syllable. “Vaxxed” would be “vaksksed” or “vacccced” in derivation. I think we should teach Greek to kids as well, and Hebrew. Sacred Scripture is most important, and we need honest to goodness Catholics learning these languages instead of just leaning on the heretics we have at present.

Meanwhile, the first tomato blossom:

No bragging going on here. Humiliation for planting way too early may soon follow. This weekend we’re supposed to have a few mornings well below freezing and tomatoes are super-susceptible to cold. I’ve had to put the five gallon buckets over them a few times already. They survived. Lot’s of water dripping off them in the morning when I took the buckets off, but that water didn’t freeze. I’m concerned, however, for what’s to come. We’ll see what happens.

I still have to plant string beans and October beans and corn. That patch, half of it yet, still has to be weeded and fertilized and have good soil put over the top before planting. A little bit every day. These few moments of exercise are doing wonders for me on all levels. God is good.

I call to mind a group in our diocese in and around Charlotte who are doing up gardening as a kind of Catholic movement. I couldn’t agree more with them. It’s not just about prepping and good taste and exercise and the sociability that goes with it – and there is plenty of sociability as people share tips and… fertilizer… and such.

But there’s also a reclaiming of the theology of work, something Pius XII was all for when he instituted May 1 as the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker. God created us to be coworkers with Him in creation for the sake of praising Him in His wondrous creation and for the sake of charity in every way. And that’s a spiritual “experience” if you will in every way.

But original sin dumbed all that down so that we end up growing thistles and spreading those to the neighbors’ gardens. Grrr… And now we have the ugly hated “labor” of the “proletariat” that is structured to be slavery for the state. Now we have the “kill ’em all” mentality of Russia murdering through the decades hundreds of millions (perhaps well over a billion world wide) from Stalin to Putin. No individual rights, just cogs in a wheel to be replaced at whim.

Gardening with a prayerful spirit, with Joseph and Jesus, doing the hard work of tilling and fertilizing and weeding and pruning and staking and varmint hunting, and with dearest Mary for harvesting for the meal five minutes later is most refreshing for the soul. And, you can bet a few Hail Marys are said… you know… for the souls in purgatory… Hail Mary…


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7 responses to “Spirituality of gardening at the rectory. Hint: It’s NOT New Age. It’s about Jesus, Mary, Joseph.

  1. pelerin

    Regarding spelling mistakes I was amused to see in a book about the Shrines of Our Lady (written by an Anglican vicar) reference to ‘Our Lady of the PILLOW’ in Chartres Cathedral! He also gives the French name but makes a mistake there too writing ‘Notre Dame du PITIER’ instead of Pilier.

    The statue was one of the many Black Madonnas to be found in Europe and as such appeared very mysterious and the chapel in which she was situated was always full of candles and very conducive to prayer. However my last visit was after the renovation of the Cathedral and frankly I was horrified when I saw it and I remember seeing a notice that no candles should be lit. Admittedly it was the smoke from the candles which had turned the statue black but now she looks like a doll with rosy cheeks. I am glad I can remember her as she was.

    Incidentally the same author writes that the Cure d’Ars bore the stigmata in his hands. I have been to Ars and that was news to me!

  2. sanfelipe007

    Pet peeves – heh! Mine will always be the super-annoying mistake people make when referring to hand trucks as “dollys.” Gaaah! My late sister’s (God rest her soul) pet peeve was people saying “you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.” She would always say “Yes, you CAN! It is after you eat your cake that you cannot have it! The proper saying is ‘you cannot EAT your cake and HAVE it, too!”

  3. I’ve been following a little book for Lent with lessons from the life of Servant of God Dorothy Day, who with Peter Maurin founded the Catholic Worker movement. She was very much into the spirituality of manual labor and strong on Catholics forming communities to work with the earth and grow things – they even had a farm at one time on Staten Island, a borough of New York. Dorothy Day, pray for all us gardeners, that we may cooperate with God in growing His plants!

  4. donna

    These are some of my favorite posts Father. I’m in Michigan and can’t wait to dig some dirt! I have some tomatoes, peppers emerging under lamps in the house. I’m starting a new little flower garden dedicated to Mary. I have some dwarf lavender for the edging and a pale pink climbing rose on order. When the garden center opens, I’ll search for more flowers to add in. I’m looking for the “just right” Mary statue. I haven’t used my time gardening, in prayer, but I’m starting NOW. Thank you for that idea……..

  5. nancyv

    The rains come down to nourish the earth … for the just and the unjust. And we don’t exterminate the rain because it rains on the unjust. Lord have mercy on us.
    I really liked these words you put up for us to read. (thanks for the English pronunciation lesson too!!)

  6. Aussie Mum

    “Scourge” mispronounced grates on me, too.
    A tomato blossom already! Beautiful … I hope it makes it safely through to warmer weather. While on the subject of tomatoes, there is a calendula flower (Calendula officinalis), aka English Marigold, called “Green Heart Orange” that is a popular companion plant used to repel soil nematodes near tomatoes and asparagus, while also attracting pollinators like bees and butterflies as well as other beneficial insects to the garden.
    Father, you mention “good soil” – do you compost your scraps for that purpose? Comfrey is also useful. It is not edible (contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids that can cause severe illness and even death if consumed) but is an excellent mulch and fertiliser that can be grown at home.https://down—to—earth.blogspot.com/2021/11/comfrey-liquid-fertiliser.html
    My father used manure from a neighbouring paddock to good advantage – it’s helpful that you have Cooper next door – as long as the manure is incorporated well into the soil and allowed to decompose before tender roots come in contact with it.
    The following link is added for anyone interested in making natural skin salves from the calendula flowers grown as companions to tomatoes and asparagus.https://down—to—earth.blogspot.com/2011/12/simple-skin-care-calendula-salve.html#comment-form
    Although popularly known as English marigolds (Calendula officinalis) not all marigolds are calendulas (e.g the French marigolds, Tagetes patula). The English Marigold, a true calendula, is named for Our Lady (Mary’s Gold) and is the one for salves.

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