Evangelical Earthworms

More reflections from the garden:

Yes I am writing a catholic blog post about …. earthworms.

Earthworms are a good example of soil-dwelling...

Earthworms are a good example of soil-dwelling detritivores (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They really are fascinating little creatures and I decided that if God put the time and energy into making the slimy little things then they are definitely worthy of a little Godversation!  For sure they do really important work in the soil.  I’m certainly no expert but I do know that lots of worms = good soil!  Luckily I have lots of them in my little garden and as I’ve been preparing for planting  I’ve had plenty of opportunity to observe their activity.

What strikes me is their strength of purpose.  They instinctively know exactly why they were created and what they are supposed to do in God’s ultimate design and they just do it.  No fuss, no muss.  They slither into the soil and eat it up and poop it out.  Over and over and over, all day long.  And I bet if you dig up a worm a thousand times it will gracefully disappear back under the soil all one thousand times.  It won’t stop to whine and complain and question.  It won’t get distracted and stray from it’s task.  It won’t get bored and decide to sow it’s wild oats elsewhere for a while.

It’s simply an obedient and purposeful little creature that was created for a specific and necessary purpose and it does it’s part no matter how insignificant it may seem.  As a general rule they don’t aspire to be anything other than what they are.

“In Him, we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28

They embody that verse and I think it’s a tremendous model for all of us.  Yes, I am saying that we should all channel our inner earthworm!  All creatures great and small glorify the Lord by being exactly what we are created to be and all of creation gives testament to the amazing wonder of God’s ultimate design when we play our part in it.  This is evidenced in the delicate balance of our ecosystem working harmoniously over the Earth.  When any one piece is missing the whole system goes down!

It would be crazy to think God created us for a purpose but didn’t give us the tools we’d need to achieve that purpose.  In the same way it would be crazy to think that He created us with no purpose!  Of course not.  If he fashioned that ugly slimy little worm to play such a vital role in our world, then how much more vital are we, his beloved and cherished children?  He created each and every one of us with purpose, for a reason, with a plan in mind and He’s equipped us with all that we need for that purpose. We are clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49) to achieve what he’s laid out for us, and when we cooperate we find fulfillment and joy and happiness.

The real kind.  Not just the temporary and temporal.

But unlike an earthworm we’ve been gifted with free will to choose if and how and where and when to become all that we were created to be.  Or not.

Sometimes our greatest gift can be our greatest pitfall. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy.  If you are anything like me, we are not always as obedient and cooperative as, say, an earthworm but God loves us anyway.  He will never stop encouraging us to achieve the perfection for which we were created.  Not actual perfection of course, because no one gets there this side of the pearly gates (Rom 3:23) but the perfection of our purpose! A perfection born of Love that the Father has for each and every one of his children.  He sees us perfectly, wonderfully and fearfully made (psalms 139:14), even when free will and sin interfere with the grand design.

Saint Anne with child Mary (Св. Анна с младенц...

Saint Anne with child Mary (Св. Анна с младенцем Марией) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Throughout the bible God has sent prophets and angels and evangelists to shepherd his people. He is always guiding and teaching us truth and wisdom.  Ever notice that you know exactly the person you need in a given situation?  Ever notice the worms in your garden being little evangelists?  The truth is that we all evangelize by being what we are in our walk with God.   We are called to holiness.  We are destined for sainthood.  Take the example of St. Anne living out her vocation as a wife and mother.  She kept her house, took care of her children, taught them to know the Lord, and remained a faithful and dutiful wife.  Imagine the moment she found out that her daughter would bring forth the Messiah of the world!

God has placed us and will use us!   The only prerequisite is to simply be what God has created us to be.

Reflections from the Garden

There are lots of reasons I love to garden.

#1 –  Earthworms are very cool (they may even warrant a future blog post!)
#2 – It definitely counts as some sort of workout since body parts always hurt the next day
#3 – All that Vitamin D does a body good AND I get a great tan.                                                                                              #4 – It’s a legit excuse to tell the kids we’re having cereal for dinner tonight. (The organic and healthy kind of course!)
#5 – The kids love picking and eating the stuff we grow which means they actually eat some veggies from time to time.
#6 – No one wants to help do all that work so it’s peace and quiet time
#7 – No one wants to help do all that work so it’s peace and quiet time
#8 – No one wants to help do all that work so…. (you get the idea!)

But most importantly it’s time in my day that I get to spend with the Lord.

All that being said however, I am by no means a gardener.  I just happen to have a piece of land in which I dig and plant and water and nurture and harvest but it does not mean that I actually know what I’m doing!   Who knew it would turn into such a place of refuge and solace and prayer?  Who knew it would fulfill an elemental need to be in touch with God’s Earth?  I really had no idea how much I would love the garden when I took on the task last spring.  I love it and God teaches me through it.

I was thinking about the idea of gardening in the days of old – as in before the days of hoses and sprinklers.  How did gardeners ensure that their crops would be adequately watered so as to produce fruit?  Especially the full-out farmers who relied on said crops for sustenance and livelihood?  I’m sure if I did a little research I would find various creative and ingenious ways that farmers have watered crops throughout the centuries but for the most part I think it’s safe to say that before the days of modern irrigation, farmers were forced to rely upon the providence of God for the growing of crops.    They prayed for and waited for rain.  And if the rain didn’t come they didn’t have crops. Right?

So in my own little garden I thought about the idea of not hooking up a watering system and simply relying on God for whatever needs my little plants might have.  I immediately rejected that idea for all the standard reasons we use in our modern society; “God helps those who help themselves” and “God gave us brains to invent ——– so He must want us to use ——–“.  As quickly as I first rejected it though I decided to give it some more thought.  After all I do profess that I trust God in all things.

It occurred to me that, as someone living in America in suburbia in 2012 with all our modern conveniences, I’m not sure it’s possible to trust God in all things the way the people in the Old testament had to really trust God in all things.  We simply don’t have to rely on Him.  We have hoses and sprinklers and faucets and elaborate underground systems that bring water instantly.

And while I’m certainly not suggesting that we give up our modern technology and conveniences,  I do think it merits reflection at the very least.  Do our plans include trusting God only when we’ve exhausted our other means?  When we fall short is God our plan B? or plan C? or any plan at all?

We have advanced tremendously since the fall of Adam and Eve and have become masterful at self-reliance in this dog-eat-dog society but are we better off in our relationship with God?

Adam and Eve Driven Out of Paradise, as in Gen...

Adam and Eve Driven Out of Paradise, as in Genesis 3:23-24, illustration from the 1890 Holman Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are a people driven by success but are we driving ourselves right out of paradise?

I think I would rather fail with God at my side than achieve any success without Him. To have Him, to know Him, to love Him is truly the ultimate success.

Lord God bring us closer into a trusting relationship with you. Amen