In the Catholic tradition, cacti rather than flowers are placed at the alter during Lent. This is the time that signifies Jesus’ journey in the desert to meditate and prayer. We had a rather large ugly cactus in chapel last year. I meditated on it throughout the season. There were dead spots, thorns and some new growth. After Lent I decided to ask anyone who could, to bring a cactus to the Monastery to be in the chapel this Lent.
People are so good to us. Many brought cacti and they are now displayed in front of the altar. And once again in meditating, they have given me several ways to examine myself. For instance, one of the cacti has very large thorns which reminds me that I can be prickly with others. I’m reminded that people need to be handled as gently as I handle that cactus. Three of the cacti bloomed, bringing to mind the beauty that there is all around us. One has dead spots showing where I neglected them. How often do I neglect people? Looking upon the differences of the cacti makes me ponder the variety in God’s creation and wonder if I am doing enough to care for Mother Earth.
Having repotted the cacti right before the season of Lent began, it was a delight to see new shoots spout. Cacti soil with fertilizer was part of the repotting. Some have very tiny new shoots and one shoot is taller than the plant it came from! Each is growing the way God meant for them to grow. The cacti help me to grow in ways I think God wants me to grow.
Thank you for all the variety of cacti that you brought. My promise is to do my very best to keep them alive, nurtured and growing for Lent 2022!
Sister Dianne Wansley, OSB