Late one morning, as I walked the winding paths of a beautiful park, I came upon a man doing some serious gardening. I watched him for a few minutes. Then I asked this old gardener why he cared so much for these plants. He smiled upon hearing my question and said, “I get down on my knees because I understand I am here but for a short time. I am the steward of this part of God’s creation. As I pull weeds, plant seeds, and prune the bushes, I give thanks to our dear beloved Creator. I give thanks to our Lord for the countless species of plant life He has bestowed upon humanity. He gave me my hands, the very hands I use to help produce new life by planting, caring for, and sustaining the new life in this new generation of plant life. I am an old gardener. I am a simple man. I love our dear Lord because our Lord loves humanity so much that He has granted us a great worldwide mosaic garden of life. Where I go, the hands of our Lord are there. Here I am, down on my knees, praying in a spirit of awe and gratitude. And I fully understand this is precisely why I am down on my knees. I hope this answers your question.” I just stood there amazed.
God spoke to me that moment in my life. It was a day long ago…a day from which I learned. Now, I find myself down on my knees tending the garden God gave me. I humbly accept the Lord’s invitation to draw near, to more fully enter into prayer, and to truly understand that I am down on my knees as a humble steward with a place, a purpose, and a role to play in the unfolding of God’s kingdom here at hand. Like that old gardener, I too am down on my knees, and am blessed with a deep abiding spirit of thanksgiving, joy and deep heartfelt awe. Down on my knees, I am at once stunned and forever humbled by our one Divine Gardener. And I, a mere laborer for the Lord in His Garden of Love, give thanks to You, O Lord, my God. AMEN.
-Fr. Michael Briese