“Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Luke 12:27
Dear Redeemer Family:
I was driving out in the county the other day, and my eye was caught by some large cream colored flowers. I thought that they were beautiful. I have a weakness for flowers, and especially wildflowers. I think that in our society that they are highly underappreciated. I slowed down when I saw another group of these cream colored gems on the road, and took a closer look. They were yucca. The yucca plant is blooming all over the place. Now, I know many people don’t like yucca. Like I said, it’s a wildflower (closer to a cactus really). People don’t like them in their yards. They can take over parts of your yard and gardens, and their roots can go down 25 feet, so they are a real nuisance to try to get rid of. But there is another side to the yucca. It’s used in many skin products. You often find it listed as an ingredient in soaps and shampoos. And most people don’t know that it is also used to treat some forms of cancers. It has proved effective on certain types of tumors. That’s not bad for a plant that so many people don’t like.
And that got me thinking about other things. One of the books that I’m reading is “Saints Behaving Badly.” I found it in the Clearance Section of Barnes and Noble for about a dollar. It tells the story of about twenty saints’ lives before they converted. So, it has chapters on St. Augustine, St. Francis, and other popular saints. But it also discusses the lives of people like St. Columba (if you’re Scottish, you know about him), and St. Olga (whom I had never heard of before). All of these people had very checkered pasts, and some, more so. These are not people that you would think of as persons who would dedicate their lives to the service of God and His people. These people were very much Wild! But each of them had events in their lives that caused them to turn around. In the Church, we call this repentance. And this led them to flower in the service of God. Their lives became stunningly beautiful. They were wild flowers. They just needed the right conditions to bloom.
I think of that when I meet people, good and bad. Faith is a journey. No one is born a saint, quite the opposite. We are all born in Original Sin. So, we are all born sinners. But with the call to faith, and spiritual development, we grow and faith and love of God. It is not always an easy nor quick process. It often takes a lifetime. And it usually includes a lot of mistakes and learning along the way. But along that faith journey, the saint-in-the-making also bears witness to the gifts and glory of God to those around them. Especially to those who knew them only as a “wildflower.”
When we run into someone whom we wonder about, who does things that we may consider inappropriate, or as a “wastrel,” as St. Francis was described in the book during is young life. Remember that perhaps they will change. Maybe something about us may lead to that event which causes them to change their lives. Because, sometimes, even without our knowledge, God will work even through us. We may be called to bring a wildflower into our garden. And it can be a beautiful thing when it blooms!