Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Bells of St. Patrick's



Catholic girls from
St. Patrick School
pick lilacs from 
farmhouse yards,



then place them near the altar
with reverence and humility;
(and secret pride)
more meaningful than any
store-bought, flower-shop bouquet.



From this fragrant offering,
one small flower 
shaped like a tiny bell,
falls softly, silently,
next to the candles
that are reflected 
in the gold chalice.


These lilacs, fresh as 
a May morning,
are expressive of the love
these girls possess,
the love they profess 
in prayer
as they attend 
morning mass,




listening to
the bells of St. Patrick's,
waiting 
to receive the grace
they hoped for 
when they offered 
these living treasures
flowering in lavender.




Soon the same hands
that gave the gift
that flourished in the sun
will receive the bread of life,
the body of Christ, God's son
who flourished briefly on earth,
who continues to guide
these willing participants,
continues to bless their lives.





*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

Twenty years later one of these girls
will receive a bouquet of 
lavender love from lilac bushes
planted by her husband,
now picked by her husband
from their farmhouse yard.




From inside the screen door,
on the back porch,
the young mother watches
her toddling daughter being 
guided through the grass,
holding in her little palm
the father's finger,
the living flesh.




Now he lifts his daughter 
into his arms, up high,
to smell the fragrance.
Her new church dress
the color of lilacs.


She cannot express
the joy she feels
in her little girl heart,
until she hears the bells
of St. Patrick's 
across the fields.




The child's laughter,
ringing across the fields, 
and inside her father's heart,
becomes a pure gift
for her father,
for her Father.




The mother,
watching silently
from the back porch,
holds this moment
deep in her heart.


Now, closing her eyes,
she inhales this fragrant offering
from her own table,
listens to the bells of St. Patrick's,
senses His presence,
still feels the reverence,
and the faith of her family.



As they prepare for church,
she imagines the altar
so many years ago
gifted with lilacs,
and is grateful
for the grace 
she was given.
© 2015 Richard Havenga




Photo Locations:

1, 3, 5, 7, 11, 12 : St. Patrick Church - Parnell, Michigan

2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13, 14 : Home/Garden - Cannonsburg, Michigan

9. Parnell, Michigan