Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Saint Quote- St. Francis de Sales

The devil doesn't fear austerity but holy obedience.

~St. Francis de Sales

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Lessons From A Crushed Flower

I opened my old Bible the other day and found something that brought a tear to my eye and a lesson to my heart...

One day, many years ago, when I picked my first-grade son up from school he presented me with a gift of a little pansy. This tiny - already limp flower in his small hand, and his smiling face as he gave it to me - is an image I'll remember all my life. "I got this for you Mommy" he said with such joy.

Pansies do not exactly make good cut flowers - they hardly survive two days - and this one survived even less. Some how, in the squirming and settling down in the car, without noticing, he sat on it. When we got home and he got out of the car and saw the now totally dead, flattened flower, his little heart broke and he started sobbing. I tried to console him by explaining that I could save the flower, not in a vase, but by pressing it in a book. He was not all that convinced but he watched as I gently spread the limp little petals across a page in my Bible, then closed it firmly. I promised him that in a few days the pansy would be preserved. And so it was. Instead of lasting just a couple of days, the pansy ended up in a little frame in the living room where it remained for many years.

He is grown and married now - but I still have the pansy. His little gift that seemed so ruined, became instead a permanent and treasured keepsake of his innocent loving childhood. He did not give me what he wanted to give, but what he did give was so much more than he could have imagined.

And I ask myself, why do I think I must do great things for God our Father? (Even if I ever could do what I think is "great", what is great compared to what God deserves?) Why do I have such a hard time believing our saints who tell us that it is not the greatness of the deed but the love with which is it done that matters? Why can I not believe that my imperfect, tarnished or even crushed gift, given with love, has real value to our loving Father and in His hands can become something wonderful. The next time my careful plans, the offering I worked on so hard, my good intentions which end in failure - make me feel that I have nothing to offer God, I promise to remember my joy in the crushed flower from my child, and hope with good cause that my "failures" can still be turned into a gift pleasing to my Father.