Tutu, Rain Boots, and Dandelions: a Reflection for the Second Sunday of Lent

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Tutu, Rain Boots, and Dandelions: a Reflection for the Second Sunday of Lent

by Thom Chartier, Oblate of St. Benedict 

Genesis 22, 1-2, 9-13, 15-18
Psalm 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19
Romans 8: 31-35
Mark 9:2-10

In the first reading from Genesis, “God said to him, ‘Abraham.’ And Abraham said, ‘Here I am.’”

When my then-three-year-old granddaughter Claire was visiting one summer day, we went for a walk down to the lake, Claire wearing her tutu and rain boots. We were holding hands, not talking, just enjoying each other, listening with the ear of our hearts to each other and to God’s beauty around us.

Claire and I, on our walk that day, were kind of like silently telling each other, “Here I am.” We accepted each other unconditionally, no titles, no fancy clothes, just a papa with his granddaughter.

I believe God was showing me that day that, if like Claire, we reach for God’s hand and listen with the ear of our hearts, He will embrace us just the way we are and proclaim, “Here I am.”

When I reflect on this passage from Paul’s Letter to the Romans, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or swords?” — a dandelion comes to mind. Life is like a dandelion: it grows and endures hardship of weather, the sun’s heat, dark nights, heavy rain, famine, the sword of the lawnmower.

The seed of the mature dandelion is called cypsela, the parachute-like structure that carries the seed is called a pappus. When I remember Claire and me on that walk, we were like two dandelions seeding memories. Eventually, God’s breath will send our memories, our pappus, to heavenly soil to be born again and never die. It is at that rebirth that God will make wine out of dandelions, a living water.

My final thought and prayer: “I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living.”

On this earthly journey, like that walk with my granddaughter Claire, I will listen with the ear of my heart, and I will hear “Here I am, Thom.”.

And when I do that, my prayers will be as burning sweet grass that rises upward, like the plane in the poem High Flight, written by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings.
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of, wheeled and soared and swung,
High in the sunlit silence, hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting winds along, flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or eagle flew
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high un-trespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

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“Listen carefully, my child, to your master's precepts, and incline the ear of your heart. Receive willingly and carry out effectively your loving father's advice, that by the labor of obedience you may return to Him from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.”
–St. Benedict of Nursia, The Rule of Saint Benedict