After several days of rain the sun is shining. And I'm going out to work in the garden. Whoever said "cleanliness is next to Godliness" wasn't a gardener. Gardeners know that the best place to worship outside the Church is on our knees with our hands in the dirt nurturing new life. Growing things remind us of Him who created them all and called us to tend them. When I go out to work in that little piece of earth, I not only am in the Garden of Eden, but the Mount of Olives, and the Garden of the Holy Sepulchre as well. I'm seeing Jesus risen and hearing him say, "Mary." Just being in my garden is a pilgrimage to holy places.
The first thing I'll do is cut back all the old growth from last year: the dead stalks from the coneflowers, sedum, clematis, and blackeyed Susans. That reminds me of the need to constantly pull out the dead stuff in my spiritual garden: uncharitable judgments, unpleasant memories that stir the embers of almost-healed hurts, old tempatations...whack 'em down and throw them in the wheelbarrow for burning. After that I'll pull the weeds. They're small now at the beginning of the season. Get them quick before they bury their roots deep and become entrenched -- like little faults and vices that can so easily tie us up in knots.
Putting down rich compost will nurture what's already beautiful in my garden: the daffodils, the azaleas, the herbs. And while I'm at it I'll separate and share what I have. The volunteer butterfly bushes will be beautiful in my neighbor's yard. The silver, downy soft lambs ear will enchant my little grandchildren in a fairy garden.
And when I'm done for the day (gardening, whether in the yard or in the soul, is never really done) I'll take the refuse out to burn and, as the flames leap up, think of Thomas a Kempis and offer my sins and offenses on the altar of consummation asking the Lord, "Please burn and consume them in the fire of Your love."
Then I'll pick some daffodils for the dinner table. And when we say our evening rosary, it will be with a thankful heart for the beauty of creation that gives a respite from the ugliness of sin and division that inflicts our poor, fallen world.