By Sister Hope Therese, O.Carm.
Greetings! Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Albert. I am Sister Hope’s Aloe plant. She named me after the Saint who wrote the Carmelite Rule. I have been with Sister Hope since the first time her family came to visit her as postulant on her mission experience at St. Patrick’s Manor in Framingham, MA. Sr. Hope and I have both grown very much since then.
When Sr. Hope was transplanted from St. Patrick’s Manor to Avila to become a novice, she had to transplant me into a bigger pot shortly thereafter. I have seen her through laughter, tears, joy and fears. I bring a little bit of home to the farm girl who is used to taking care of living things. She has been very busy lately so I offered to write this post for her. I have a few points to make to you humans, and I don’t mean the ones on my branches. There is so much you can learn from the natural world if only you would listen and observe. My first point is on silence. Animals have their own ways of communicating but they do not have the frequent, often useless, and idle chatter that humans do. If plants and animals can give glory to God in their silence so can humans. I give glory to God the only way I can- by taking in the sunlight and water that he and Sr. Hope generously provide for me, and showing off my beautiful vibrant greenness that he created. God made every living thing special and unique. Don’t forget to give glory to God by just being you.
My second point is on unconditional love. Plants and animals do not care who you are or what you’ve done. If you are good to them they will love you just the same. Humans have complicated relationships and they are awful at judging. Try to take the objective view of the natural world and you will find loving and forgiving much easier.
My third point is don’t worry and be happy now. Plants and animals never worry about the future, what will happen, or how they will be taken care of. They may have an understanding and trust of God’s Providence that many humans do not. Jesus said that the birds don’t worry, so why should people if God loves them even more? Although animals can suffer, for the most part the natural world has peace and contentment. Plants and animals automatically accept things the way they are and it never occurs to them to want anything different. People often set times in the future when they will be happy; if they keep setting these times they never will be. They’ll be happy when they get a promotion, fall in love, get a new car, or any other thing. Don’t wait to be happy! God wants you to be where you are at in your life right now for a reason. So be happy now and know that God’s plan is always at work.
When everything around you seems to be dying know that you will soon see the green growth of spring after the winter in your life. There is beauty in all of the seasons of your life. Don’t forget to be optimistic. When I look out of Sr. Hope’s window I can choose to look at the dumpster or the beautiful Hudson River. God brings good out of every situation even if we can’t see it at the time. I am continuing to grow and so is Sr. Hope as she matures in her spiritual life and gets a clearer picture of God’s plan for her. So my last bit of advice to you all is to never stop growing until you die. There are always ways to get closer to God if you only listen and observe.