Thursday, May 17, 2012

In the Cloister Garden

I spent part of today working in the cloister garden (above). Seasons have their effects on cloister gardens; and as we know, seasons of life have effects on our souls....

"Let us advance; let us make our way through these low valleys of the humble and little virtues.  We shall see in them the roses amid the thorns, charity that shows its beauty among interior and exterior afflictions, the lilies of purity, the violets of mortification: what virtues shall we not see?" (St. Francis de Sales)

"The beginner must think of himself as setting out to make a garden in which the Lord is to take His delight, yet in soil most unfruitful and full of weeds.  His Majesty uproots the weeds and will set good plants in their stead.  We have now, by God’s help like good gardeners, to make these plants grow.  We must water them carefully, so that they may not perish, but may produce flowers which shall send forth great fragrance to give refreshment to this Lord of ours, so that he may often come into the garden to take his pleasure and his delight among these virtues." (St. Teresa of Avila)

"Have good courage to cultivate this vineyard, contributing your little effort to the spiritual good of the souls that the Lord has reserved for Himself lest they ‘bend their knees before Baal.. in the midst of a people that has unclean lips.’  Do not be surprised if the fruits do not yet appear, because if you do the work of God patiently, your labor will not be in vain."  (St. Francis de Sales)

"I am the true vine and My Father is the vinegrower. He prunes away every barren branch, but the fruitful ones He trims clean to increase their yield.  You are clean already, thanks to the word I have spoken to you.  Live on in Me, as I do in you.  No more than a branch can bear fruit of itself apart from the vine, can you bear fruit apart from Me.  I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who lives in me and I in him, will produce abundantly, for apart from Me you can do nothing.  A man who does not live in Me is like a withered, rejected branch, picked up to be thrown into the fire and burnt."  (John 15:1-6)

"Prayer is to our soul what rain is to the soil.  Fertilize the soil ever so richly; it will remain barren unless fed by frequent rains." (St. John Vianney)

"We must give the flowers - that is, the glory - to God, and the fruits (our services) to the neighbor." (St. Catherine of Siena)