Friday, September 4, 2009

Of Crepe Myrtles and Lives of the Saints

We have two crepe myrtle plants out front that we purchased several years ago on the way home from the Outer Banks. Last year they bloomed abundantly. This year one plant didn't bloom at all and the other got only a few flower clusters. We haven't figured out what the problem is: something missing in the soil? Too much rain? On strike?

Whatever the reason, the poor blooming reminds me that our spiritual life is sometimes like that. We are the fruitless fig tree or the flowerless crepe myrtle that the master says to cut down and throw into the fire. But then the gardener begs for a reprieve. "Let me try to figure out what's wrong with this poor plant and fix it," he says. "If that doesn't work, you can cut it down later."

I think the Blessed Mother is our spiritual gardener always urging her Son to give us one more chance for a change of heart, one more opportunity to be a fruitful, flowering vine. All she needs to see is one flower, one tiny sign that our hearts are not completely sterile and she works the soil with her prayers and waters it with her tears.

Today is First Friday, when the Church invites us to reflect on the apparitions of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. It was she to whom He revealed His desire for devotion to His Sacred Heart and that Catholics attend Mass on nine consecutive first Fridays of the month in adoration. From an early age St. Margaret Mary desired to be united to Christ in his sufferings and He answered her prayer by allowing her to participate in a small way in his agony. She suffered from terrible headaches that sometimes kept her from laying her head on a pillow. She often spent entire nights in Communion with Christ.

If you want to draw closer to Christ immerse yourselves in the lives of the saints. It brought St. Ignatius of Loyola to conversion and many others as well.

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