A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Beautiful Roses

Posted on: August 1, 2013

For Ottawa gardeners, the past couple of summers have been frustrating.

In 2011, a water main broke, and many in the southwest part of the city couldn’t water their lawns or their gardens for weeks. And in 2012, drought conditions meant some plants simply didn’t grow.

This year, the picture is completely different. With lots of rain in the spring and so far this summer, lawns are still fairly green and many plants are flourishing (accompanied by weeds, unfortunately). My own garden has produced beautiful false sunflowers, spike gayfeathers, lilies and more for me to enjoy.

So how fitting that, as I read some of the “Quiet Moments” quotes in my June / July / August issue of Catholic Digest, I came across this quote from St. John Vianney for his memorial on August 3rd: “The pure soul is a beautiful rose, and the Three Divine Persons descend from heaven to inhale its fragrance.”

And this in turn reminded me of a prayer by Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, quoted in Eerdmans’ Book of Famous Prayers:

Help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go…by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to you.

Our society could use more of the fragrance of Christ. The news coverage received by good works done through the Church, charities and community organizations seems insignificant compared to the amount of press devoted to tragedies, disasters and epidemics. It’s a good indication of how great the need is for Christians to show the love of Christ.

But we know that, being human, we will stumble even though our intentions are good. Thankfully, God is the master gardener. Just as we can train roses to climb and prune rose bushes to encourage new shoots to grow, God trains us and prunes our lives so that we grow more like Jesus and produce good growth for him, as Jesus told his disciples:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine…that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit…By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.” (John 15:1-2, 8)*

I pray that we would put ourselves in the hands of the master gardener so that—as God works in us as we read the scriptures, receive the sacraments and experience “God-incidences”—our lives would produce good growth for him and spread a pleasing fragrance to those who need it most.

For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)

(*Quotes from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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