FROM THE PRESIDENT'S KITCHEN TABLE
I love summer for lots of reasons, not least that we see our grandchildren more often. One daughter and son-in-law from Houston come with their family for at least a month (Chris works from his “virtual office” in our living room.) gracing us with five lovely Texas rosebuds. Our son from Austin often visits as well bringing three more rosebuds and two tumbleweeds. The local cousins arrive to swim and play and renew friendships, so the Camp Kreitzer garden bursts with Texas varietals as well as local color. And while I’m on flowers, I love my summer garden! I know I wrote about the spring garden in the last issue, but I find myself mentally wandering in the garden again. As I write this, the daylilies are dancing in the breeze in glorious orange, yellow, and pink profusion. They inspired me to dig up more yard and plant more lilies. Who wants grass when lilies are an option? If you are a relatively lazy gardener like me, make daylilies a staple. Once you plant them, they need little attention for about five years when sharing time arrives. That’s how I got my start when our second daughter’s father-in-law was thinning his lilies. He had a pile to throw (or give) away and I am never too proud to beg. I came home from a family party with three starter clumps that have grown and expanded, been dug up once, and continue to spread. And it’s time to transplant or share again. I want a wave of lilies spreading across my side yard, a reminder of the Lily of heaven, our Blessed Mother. I know they’ll make her smile.Gardening must be close to God’s heart since Jesus Himself loved to take His apostles to the Garden of Gethsemane. What a compliment to gardeners that Mary Magdalene mistook Him for one after the Resurrection. I can imagine that Gabriel found Mary sitting and praying in her garden in Nazareth when he came to bring the message of “great joy.” No doubt Joseph built her a little bench under an olive tree where she could sit and ponder in her heart the events of the day. I imagine she also welcomed the mothers of the village with their children just as mothers get together today to visit while their children play. I imagine them sitting and chatting as they sew and mend for their families.
It makes sense to me to think that Mary was a magnet drawing the local women around her. Their conversation wouldn’t be idle gossip, but an opportunity to develop their spiritual lives. Jesus probably learned to teach the faith in parables by listening to his mum’s stories. Can’t you see Mary holding up a colorful little shirt she’s mending and reminding her guests about Joseph and his many-colored coat? Perhaps she would lead her neighbors in prayers and songs of thanksgiving to God for delivering their ancestors from Egypt. I can see the little ones abandoning their games and climbing on their mothers’ laps to listen to tales of David the shepherd preparing for his fight with Goliath by protecting the little lambs from bears and wolves. How round their eyes would become when Mary described Moses approaching the bush that burned but never burned up. Did she tell the children how little Samuel ran to Eli in the night, reminding them to always listen for God’s call? Were James and John among the children and did they climb up on her lap for a kiss and a cuddle? According to Anne Catherine Emmerich, their mother was Mary Salome, Mary’s cousin and one of the Marys at the foot of the cross. If that is so, they were no doubt regular playmates of Jesus. How natural for them to be among His earliest followers; He was family. They knew him just like our grandchildren know and love their cousins. Which brings me full circle and back to our visiting grandchildren and summertime. What an opportunity to share the fullness of the faith, take children to Mass and out to breakfast, say a decade of the rosary at bedtime, sing songs, play games and gather together in the family “garden of delights.” May we always have Mary as our companion during these fun times remembering that she was a mother, neighbor, cousin, and friend leading all to a closer walk with her Son.