Sunday, March 2, 2014

Fed by the Heavenly Father

“… I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink…or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?”

These words of Jesus from today’s Gospel never fail to move the Franciscan heart.  Our Father St. Francis and his faithful disciple St. Clare, wanted their followers to put aside all anxiety about earthly things, trusting in the providential love of the heavenly Father to take care of His children.  That does not mean, however, that we just sit back and do nothing for ourselves.  It is true that in great measure our material needs are supplied by the generosity of our benefactors in return for our dedicating ourselves to the service of the God and His Church through a life of prayer and penance.  About eight hours of our day are consecrated to this “work” of prayer, both liturgical and private.  But four hours are also devoted to manual labor, that penance which was enjoined upon Adam and Eve after the fall and which is the common lot of the poor.

I would not say that I was exactly worried, but perhaps it would be appropriate to say that I was energetically concerned this month about our spring garden.  Believe it or not, February is the time to plant spinach in Virginia and everything seemed to be against me.  Every two or three days it rained or snowed, making the ground too wet to work.  Then, last week it happened!  The weather turned warm and sunny for several days and we were out there loosening up the soil.  We prepared four lovely rows that awaited their seeds but no seeds arrived from Burpee.  I kept watching the mail and eyeing the gathering clouds.  Which would come first the seeds or the rain?   

Yes!  An envelope of seeds arrived at my door on Friday!  Saturday I took Phoenix and Mary out and we successfully got our spinach planted.  Now I can actually pray, “Dear Lord, you were good enough to give me dry days to plant seeds, now could you please water them?”

 Back to the snow days which I sincerely hope are past history, we were mindful of another admonition of our Father St. Francis:  to feed our sisters the birds.  Left over crumbs are regularly scattered in our cloister courtyard for their enjoyment, especially during the winter.  So while we rely on the heavenly Father for our sustenance, we also participate in His care of creation.  The birds do not sow or reap, but God feeds them.  It is our joy to help Him!

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