Memorial of Saint John Neumann, 5 January 2021
In today’s reflection, Waiting in Joyful Hope author Michelle Francl-Donnay reflects on Mark 6:43, a prayer for hard hearts by Saint Claude La Columbière, and God’s bounteous love.
In the comments section below, share your own response to today’s scripture, Francl-Donnay’s reflection, or the accompanying meditation prompt.
Over the past few years, I have noticed within myself a significantly diminished interest in working in my garden. This is a very peculiar development, but it’s become more pronounced during the pandemic. Although I’m not what you would call a skilled or knowledgeable gardener, I have been a persistent one, and when people have visited this little oasis in the middle of the city, they have always expressed pleasure and peace there. So why the flagging joy in the work?
I think it has much to do with the scarcity of visitors, especially this past year. We removed the gate a while back, allowing the garden to be seen more easily from the street, and from time to time I will look out the window and see someone pause at the end of our driveway with a smile on their face. I wish they’d just walk in. But I’ve tried issuing an open invitation to a few neighbors who have no such space of their own, and they’ve demurred. In this country, our sense of physical boundaries and private property is so pronounced, it’s hard to overcome.
So now I look at the garden as a stewardship rather than a possession, and I ask God to send people to walk on the little paths and sit in the sunshine. This particular gift would mean a lot more to me if it was shared.
In Italian, the word for ‘ enough’ is ‘basta.’ I remember it being used as a synonym for ‘stop,’ as in, ‘enough whining, arguing,’ etc. I wonder if God had had enough of our shenanigans when He decided it was time to send The Messiah? I won’t know until I get to heaven. What I do know is that God’s love has no limit, no end. He is more patient, merciful, generous than I can imagine. His justice decreed that we be ransomed for our sins. He created us out of love, He saved us with Love, He feeds us with more than enough love to last till the end of time. One last thought- today is the twelfth day of Christmas; twelve drummers drumming; twelve points of faith in the Apostles’ Creed; twelve baskets of scraps picked up after the feast in today’s Gospel; nothing happens by coincidence with God.