We’re reading the Prophet Jeremiah these days, who scolded the people of his time, especially their rulers, for letting the garden lands God gave them go to waste. The same prophet then promises his people in exile that God will bring them back, “like watered gardens, never again shall they languish.”
We have a beautiful Mary Garden here in Queens, New York. Recently I noticed some tiny pebbles, their colors disguised in dirt until I washed them. Our garden is on a terminal moraine where the Laurentine Glacier stopped 20,000 years ago leaving tons of rocks and pebbles. A wind the other day shook the trees in our garden till they gave up seeds, scattering them on the ground.
I put some of those tiny pebbles in the small Mary Garden I have in my room. I also put pine cones and an acorn in it. They’re signs of hope and like hope they’re hidden. We have to wait for their treasures.
Today can we hear Jeremiah scolding us for wasting the creation, the “garden land”, God gave us? The God of Deep Time, the Creator of heaven and earth, gave us the humble soil, life-giving water, all the connected things of our universe, and we have wasted them.
But God does not turn away, the prophet says. I have a small picture of Mary and the Child in my Mary Garden, “Salus Populi Romani”, “Rescuer of the Roman People”. The original 6th century icon is in the church of Saint Mary Major in Rome. Popes and people through the centuries sought Mary’s intercession in plagues and other disasters, and so should we.
Mary holds her Child, the Word through whom all things were made, Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.