I love contemplating the theology of plants. There’s just a lot going on there that brings my mind to things of God and the Church.
I am an “occasional gardener.”
I am known to be zealous about caring for my little plant friends for a time, followed by weeks or even months of neglect. I know myself well enough to be thoughtful when selecting the type of plants I grow, choosing varieties that can put up with a less-than-perfect caretaker.
Right now my go-to favorite is May Night Salvia, which has abundant long, stalky, dark purple blooms and comes back year after year, faithfully.
At the local garden center when I was selecting plants, I remember putting several lovely looking potted perennials in my wagon, when a knowledgeable employee came over to see if he could assist. After a quick glance in my wagon, he picked up a few of the plants, turned them upside down, pulled a bit of the dirt out, and said “I’d put those back. They probably won’t do well for ya.” I replied, “Oh really? They look so nice! And they already have pretty blooms!” He went on to point out how some of my selections were badly root-bound, and others showed signs of disease.
It seems that if you want a healthy plant, you better pay attention to the roots.
This lesson in roots made me think of the One Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church. So many times throughout the ages it has blessed humanity with its glorious display of beauty and truth. Through some years it has received imperfect care, and yielded less blossoms. It may be in a need of a good pruning from time to time. Other institutions may appear to outshine it even.
But when I converted to Catholicism in 2010, it was the roots of the Church that interested me the most.
Rooted in the Apostles, a continuous Tradition that the Scriptures tell us to “hold fast” to (II Thess. 2:15), and constant guidance from the Holy Spirit, I have confidence that it will continue to thrive and show resilience through all types of conditions.
I look forward to spring when my May Night Salvia are back in blossom. With just a little, imperfect care, I have faith they will reward me with stunning blooms – it’s all in the roots!