The crafty perennial, I note, has found a way through my ineptitude.
Meant to be planted in “full sun”, our tender little heliopsis gets about half that amount of life-giving light at its base each day.
Not to worry: Even the darkness cannot contain our plant’s desire to renew an ill-chosen space with intricate blooms. I pick the spot – and the plant does an end-around my machinations, mysteriously reaching its tendrils toward the Source, the sun.
An expert observes this of the heliopsis genus:
They will get a bit leggy if they don’t get at least 4-5 hours of sun a day.
A bit leggy, indeed.
Messy. Gangly. Less than tidy, but still somehow beautiful. Remarkably engaging – for its persistence, as much as for the splash of color it adds to our modest garden.
The heliopsis has become for me, in this season of Pentecost, a reminder of the Holy Spirit’s mode of action.
Still, the Holy Spirit finds a way through our obliviousness.
I found myself chatting about this phenomenon – this grace – a few weeks ago, inside a maximum security prison of all places. My former pastor and I, serving as members of a Kairos Prison Ministry team, took a quiet moment to reflect on the unlikely scene we saw unfolding before our very eyes: The Spirit hovering over Menard. Penetrating its locked doors and razor wire, to fall afresh on every one of us…and turn our eyes toward the Son.
This priest and I spoke gratefully about not just the moment of light we were experiencing inside Menard…but also about the messy, gangly, 75-year-long path that had led to that moment…
…How the Holy Spirit had done an end-around “institutional Church” in 1944, to begin renewing the face of the earth through Cursillo – and all of the retreat-based ministries (including Kairos Prison Ministry) that have sprouted from its base.
Again and again, we noted, the Holy Spirit has managed to find a way through our obstinance, our sinfulness, our obliviousness.
Again and again, the Holy Spirit gently invites us forward…and helps us flower, no matter how far off the path we wander…by reconnecting with the Son.
Come, Holy Spirit, come!
Open our lips, open our minds, open our hearts…and show us again how to proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord!
Here’s a fascinating look, in case you’re interested , at the history of Cursillo – and its connection to prison ministry.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.