Nov 10, 2011

the garden

One of life’s little satisfactions is to spend time in the garden. Yes, sitting under a tree with a book is pleasurable. But just as satisfying is being down on hands and knees with a fork and shears, weeding and pruning, planting and watering.

The presbytery garden is flourishing this week. Irises and Peonies are blooming outside my window. The roses will join the display in a couple of weeks.

Last week I planted a couple of tomato seedlings.  I’m a bit late with those, so (as usual) they will be ready for harvest when the supermarket is selling a dozen tomatoes for three cents.

You have probably heard the story of the proud gardener who was showing off her beds (of flowers) to the fervent Christian. “Isn’t it great what God has done here” the Christian mused.  “What God has done?” the gardener retorted; “you should have seen the mess God had it in before I took over!”

As I look around the garden I see that even after my work, I can do nothing to make the bulbs bloom and the seedlings mature to produce fruit and flowers. Gardeners have to be patient. Yes, we water and weed and fertilise, but the harvest is God’s work.


The gardening image has always been a powerful picture of the heart of hope for me.  Hope is the healthiest human state. We can never be fully satisfied by any possession, project, career or relationship. God has planted in the human heart a quiverring restlessness. Awareness of this inner longing is not a sign of a human flaw.  Instead this is a gift which perpetually propels me into the future, the future that is the eternal fulness of all we can ever hope for.

Looking forward to the new prayers of the Mass

There are many things I hope for. In recent weeks I have been looking forward to the introduction of the complete Roman Missal on the First Sunday of Advent later this month.

Today we heard that the when the printing was completed and the Altar Missal’s delivered, they were discovered to be not up to the appropriate standard.  This means that it will be a few more weeks that we have to wait (as the Missals are reprinted) before we hear the beauty of these revised prayers. 

This little disappointment reminds us that even when projects that are meticulously well planned and executed, they can disappoint us at the last minute. At least with the Missal, we know that the revised texts we have seen online, will be worth waiting for.

First Communion and Baptisms

The celebration of a sacrament is always an experience of hope, as God tangibly, audibly and visibly enters our human lives. Next Sunday at the 10am Mass we celebrate the First Communion and Baptism of a number of parish children.  We pray for them as they experience God with them in these two great sacraments of initiation.

And then we hope as many parishioners as able will join us for refreshments after the Mass.  I hope the weather is fine so that we can do as we have done in recent years and picnic in the presbytery garden.  I might even mow the lawns.


Sunday Readings 13 November 2011

Commentary on the readings for Sunday 13 November

Preparation for Receiving the Third Edition of the Roman Missal

Note: If you are reading this on the Christchurch Diocese website, you can receive these (and other) updates and reflections directly from one of the links below:


Link to this week’s parishes’ newsletter 

(Our Lady of Victories Sockburn, St. Joseph’s Darfield, St Therese of Lisieux Chatham Islands):      



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts

the teenagers

the teenagers

A few years ago I discovered the wonderful way that God uses my imagination in my prayer.
Such openness to imagination when seeking God does not take us away from reality into fantasy but instead brings me into what is most real and inescapably personal and intimate.



A couple of thousand years ago, a young Jewish woman was going about her normal morning routines, perhaps with a mixture of house and garden work, chatting with parents and neighbours, aware of the local drought, the sickness of a neighbour and annoyed by the neighbourhood’s lack of sleep caused by the Romans’ noisy party the night before, when God broke into her routine and entered her life in a new and powerful way.

the real centre

the real centre

Over the last month I have had the opportunity to work with many people across Aotearoa and further afield. In every retreat and seminar I have been with committed and faith-filled people who often feel as though they are on the periphery of the Church

the adventure

the adventure

It’s easy to make the mistake of seeing life as a treadmill, day after day ups and downs, a movement through time from youth to old age, then death and beyond.
Too often if feels as if we are helplessly captive carried along by the momentum of all that is expected of us and demanded from us, and we risk falling into an existence mode, a daily rhythm of survival, enduring, coping and so the treadmill rolls on.

the bigger picture

the bigger picture

Over the years, and even in recent months, weeks and days, I’ve prayed many prayers which have not been answered as I had hoped.
You’ve probably had the same experience: praying and wondering if and when or how your prayer will be answered.