In my last blog post I explained how my encounter with Jesus Christ has been strengthened around the idea of the need to enter a Christian “battlefield”. If you read the last blog you know of my fond liking for the movie “The Gladiator”. Other top movie favorites include Braveheart, 300, Ben-hur, and really any movie that has a hero motivated beyond selfish glory. Furthermore, throw in years of wrestling and football practices mixed with a good dose of farm chores and firing guns and you have a decent perspective for why my imagination operates the way that it does. This thought process works for me (at least if just for a start). Now, if the cinema has taught me anything about battlefields it is that you need to know how to fight and you need to be prepared for battle. (Or… as it says in the Bible, “Gird your loins” Ephesian 6:14, Job 38:3, Jeremiah 1:17, 1 Peter 1:13… being prepared is important.)
First things first, you need some armor. Romans 13:12 states, “…let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” Also you are going to need some sort of weapon. Here I will point you to Hebrews 2:12, “The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” “Armor of light”, “Double-edged sword” bring it on relativism, “Generation Me”, desires of the flesh, etc.!
However, sometimes this metaphorical kick-buttery (…?) only works to an extent. In order to continue our pursuit for salvation we need some practical tactics. Recently, one of these practical tactics came to me in a way I would have never expected. [blox_highlight type=”success”]Instead of a sword the Holy Spirit revealed to me a flower. [/blox_highlight]
I am currently reading St. Francis de Sales’ book Introduction to the Devout Life. At the end of one of his meditations he tells his readers to make a “spiritual nosegay”. Funny word, nosegay (if you are wondering, not a joyous sinus). Upon a quick Google search I discovered that a nosegay is a bundle of herbs and flowers that were carried by women and men in ancient times. The towns back then apparently did not always smell the best. The smells were so unbearable that people would carry these flowers around so they could have something to stick their nose in to make it through the day. Hence, a “spiritual nosegay” will do something similar except it will protect you from far worse than the smell of manure.
Here is my approach to making a “spiritual nosegay”.
- Place yourself in the presence of the Lord.
- Through the intercession St. Therese of Lisieux imagine your thoughts as a garden. That garden is a magnificent God-made creation. Beautiful, but not perfect. There are a few weeds, as with any garden, no one picks the weeds unless to pull them out and get rid of them.
- Walk right past those distractions. You are looking to create a beautiful nosegay. One filled with flowers of God-inspired thought. A nosegay that you will cling onto and stick your nose in when life seems unbearable.
- When the temptations and turmoil of contemporary society begin to press down upon you those flowers from your morning walk in the garden will be with you.
Now, I know Maximus and William Wallace would rarely be found plucking daisies. However, in reflecting on the life of the ultimate role-model, our Lord, Jesus Christ, you will see an approach to day-to-day life that is both tender and resilient. In all the truth and beauty God transcends, it is no wonder that spiritual inspiration has been found in both the sword and the flower.
Listen Bulldogs, come check out Morning Prayer at Newman. If you desire holiness. If you desire to be a Saint. The best way to start your day is in prayer. Here is what is going down. The first 30 minutes are done in silence in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus Christ stands before you in the Eucharist helping you nurture your garden. Once those 30 minutes are up, we enter into 30 minutes of communal prayer aided by the Liturgy of the Hours and the Gospel. Here you are given the opportunity to help or be helped in perfecting the day’s “spiritual nosegay” with your brothers and sisters. This is done by sharing aloud where the Holy Spirit has been moving in that time of prayer. It starts at 7:45. You will not be late to your 9:00 class. Where do your priorities lie? Prepare for the day’s battle with flowers of God-inspired thought that will bring you peace when faced with the day’s inevitable suffering.