Friday, April 11, 2008

Flowers are like babies...

…in just a few weeks, it’s a whole new ballgame! You may remember a previous blog on the tulip bulbs I planted at the convent in Richmond. When I photographed them last, they were just tiny, little stalks of spring-green poking through the soil. When I wrote about them several weeks ago, I thought they’d NEVER really look like real tulips. As full of Easter hope as I generally am, I often doubt my own capacity for things. I’ve always said, “I have a black thumb” because no one ever taught be to nurture life in a garden. I expected these 80 bulbs to get carried off by well-organized squirrels, or die of some rare strain of root rot. I am in awe of these beautiful, delicate flowers – bursting with color – and of the GOD who wires all of creation for life.

Today’s reading from The Rule of Benedict comes from Chapter 58. “Do not grant newcomers to the monastic life easy entry, but, as the apostle says, ‘Test the spirits to see if they are of GOD’ (1 John 4:1).” Sometimes, for the wonderful women who are in discernment with us, the process of becoming a Benedictine Sister of Virginia seems to take a LONG time. The testing, physicals, autobiography and interviews can seem like flaming hoops through which a candidate must hurl herself in order to knock on the door of the monastery. Like baby bulbs planted in the cold autumn earth, that take months to peak from beneath the soil, these good women wait patiently for the next step in the process to unfold. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. I suspect tulips fear safe and secure in the darkness of winter. It’s much harder to wait for your future to be decided – to put your life on hold while all the pieces fall into place. But, as a flower grows silently and steadily, the monastic heart is nurtured during these difficult months. GOD uses this time as surely as the seasons shift the earth from sleep to wakeful beauty. I pray this morning for all the women in discernment with our community. May GOD give you strength to persevere and rock-solid faith in the One who only wants your good.

Blessings and love to you all…see you Monday!

- Sister Vicki