Last weekend my parents planted 199 trees.
They have spent the last 3 years cleaning out the invasive buck thorn from their shelter belt, cutting down the doomed ash trees, and setting the stage for beautiful trees that they will probably never see in their full glory.
And I don’t mean that they hired out this back-breaking work. Mom took lessons on running a chainsaw. Every day it wasn’t raining these two retirees methodically worked their way through acre after acre caring for the land.
Cutting, pruning, planting, cleaning, restoring.
One hundred of the trees they planted last weekend were chestnut seeds (the rest were actual plants). These chestnut trees are going to eventually grow to be majestic giants, but not for at least 50 years.
Dad joked that he’s going to come back as a ghost and check on his trees and great grandchildren 100 years from now.
So why do it?
They could let the buck thorn choke out all the native plants that live under the canopy of the trees. They could just watch as the ash borers destroy the whole stand of trees in the coming decade, but what does that say about us as Catholics if we stand by and let the next guy take care of it?
We all have gifts. And I don’t mean talents. Even the ability to speak is a gift. The ability to carry a shovel is a gift. The ability to smell clean country air is a gift.
To let these gifts sit idle when there is a difference that can be made – when we could be defending human dignity at all stages of life – to cluck our tongues at injustices we witness every day but do nothing to stop – to squawk on Facebook and call it speaking up for the voiceless – to let God’s creation become infected with pollution and assume someone else will fix it – to claim helplessness when in reality it’s just laziness – that is waste.
These are our God-given gifts. We do not hide them under a bushel basket. We use them, we share them, and we rejoice is His glory!
Let love be your guide. When you approach every person with the love of Jesus Christ, and you can see Christ in each person you meet, you can’t be wrong.
Love to all,
Saint Teresa of Avila. Jesus teaches us of the prayer that leads to contemplation, offering her own experiences as encouragement, showing us how to surrender ourselves more and more to this blissful union with our divine Lover.
The most touching message a customer ever had us engrave was on the back of a St. Joan of Arc medal. It read:
“You’re brave too”
I tear up every time I think of that.
A Praying Virgin by Pintoricchio Florentine plaque, gold leaf, 11.75×15.5″. MADE IN ITALY