Yearn for everlasting life with holy desire. Day by day remind yourself that you aregoing to die…aware that God’s gaze is upon you, wherever you may be….And finally, never lose hope in God’s mercy.(Rule of St. Benedict, “The Tools for Good Works” 4.46-47,4.49,4.74)
During a walk one evening, I discovered a fallen pine tree. The high winds of a recent blizzard must have snapped this beautiful tree in two pieces. I paused a moment before the sight. Even in its broken state, there was something sacred and beautiful about the tree.
Before the wind broke that tree in two, it was shelter to birds and animals. The pine needles it shed blanketed the ground, allowing whatever was growing nearby to survive the winter. Its pinecones birthed new little pine trees. When the broken tree is hauled away and made into wood chips, it will become mulch for a garden or the bedding of paths through the woods where someone like me can walk and encounter God.Even in a broken state, the tree gives glory to God. Likewise, our weaknesses, failures, and flaws are not limitations to God working in and through us. All of us are earthen vessels, fragile and breakable. All of us are dependent upon our God who breathed us into existence. When we cease to cling to material goods and relationships that enslave us, we experience an inner freedom that allows us to open ourselves fully to love and to life. We can become everything God intended for us to be.The broken tree reveals the mystery of God’s love for us – that God cares about us not in spite of our brokenness, but because we are broken.
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.View all of Sister Ann Marie’s blogs.