On Popes, St. Francis, and a pretty little Petunia


It’s been a crazy week, hasn’t it? By Wednesday evening it seemed like three weeks had passed, not three days! The big news is, of course, our new Holy Father, Pope Francis. Kinda neat to say that, isn’t it? I’m not going into any newsy stuff or deep thoughts because frankly (you like that pun?) so many others are doing a far better job of it, but I will share some related happenings. Mostly because I think they are all related, in the kind of way we can make anything related with enough imagination.

You see, that  little petunia that sits above my sink flowered on Wednesday. I know, so what? Well, not so what. I’ve been hoping it would flower this year — and if you know anything about me, I have a real gift for killing plants. Anyway, I’ve been very distracted for some time. I was hoping that I’d find some new routines this Lent, something that would slow me down and help me smell the flowers, so to speak. I’ve adopted a couple of little disciplines for myself to help me with that refocusing — away from the worldly distractions and closer to God. Some days it goes really well — other days it’s a giant fail. So back to the petunia. I hadn’t noticed it flowered until Wednesday. Maybe it had opened its little bud on Monday or Tuesday and I didn’t see it. I wasn’t looking focused on the moment. But when I did it brought such singular joy in the moment!

Funny how something so simple and yet so precious can elicit such a beautiful response. Religious, really.

And by the way, did you know petunias are from Argentina? No. Kidding.

Then, last night I attended a chamber choir concert. My son knows I love this music, so he reminded me that they were performing the Chichester Psalms:

Of course, I went. And of course it was beautiful, but they caught me by surprise with a selection that charmed me: The Canticle of the Sun by St. Francis of Assisi. Here’s just a little bit of it…

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.

To you, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and beautiful.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks,
and serve him with great humility.

Nice, huh? I’ll call it a banner week.

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