“Lord, I know you said in the Gospel that it’s a faithless generation that asks for a sign, but I can be kinda hard-headed sometimes, and I’m human and operate through my senses. So if this is the right thing to do, could you send me some sort of sign? Send me…flowers?”
These are words I’ve prayed in the past, often when I was at a critical juncture in my life and wanting to know God’s will for my life. I always smile when I think back on the times when I prayed this way. I may not have gotten flowers per se, but I always got my answer. I reflected on this prayer after Bishop Paul Sirba visited our Community for Evening Prayer and supper.
During that visit he surprised us all by presenting each sister with a single, long-stemmed red rose. Later that evening, I gazed at my rose, sitting in its bud vase beneath a large crucifix in my room. I remembered my prayer from times past and I smiled. Ah, the power of a flower! As I continued gazing prayerfully at the rose, I realized that the leaves on the stem were outstretched like Jesus arms on my crucifix. My rose stood proudly and boldly beneath my crucifix, reminding me that the blessings we receive from God are also a call to surrender ourselves; that letting go of something precious to us often yields an even greater blessing; that the cross of Jesus is the ultimate sign of God’s love for us and the answer to our prayers.
As I grow into my Benedictine vocation, I marvel at St. Benedict’s profound understanding of human nature and our need for love, acceptance, and belonging. St. Benedict’s Rule is a wake-up call to awareness of the presence of God in all people, things, and situations. All is sacred because through everything God touches our hearts and transforms us. Think about that the next time you wrap your fingers around the steering wheel of a car, drive someplace, share a meal and a conversation with someone, tie your shoelace, or any simple daily action. Everything you are and do can be a sign from God of who you are called to be and how you are called to live.
Sister Ann Marie Wainright
Sister Ann Marie Wainright is a Benedictine Sister of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, she worked as a CPA for many years before earning dual masters degrees in counseling and pastoral studies. Sister Ann Marie is interested how people encounter God in their daily lives and how they use their faith and spirituality in meeting difficult challenges.