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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

A Tree and a House of Hearts




HOLY SONNETS. John Donne

XIV.
Batter my heart, three-person'd God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me. 


Many years ago, my son and I could not be together in the same place for Christmas one year. We did not have our usual magnificent Christmas Tree. By the beginning of January, we were ensconced in a new home and happily getting on with life. But, I missed the tree. So, I set one up later, around January 6th. I started with creating some new ornaments, which I did every year.

We had an Eastern Christmas, that is, a bit late. And, for several years, almost 35, I had many strange and wonderful heart ornaments from all over the world. Everyone knew I was "Mrs. Christmas" and decorated profusely, as this is one of my favourite times of the year. I had many ornaments from Germany and Czechoslovakia. My favourites were those my mother had made as potpourries, and my second favourites were created by an artist in Iowa, made out of wood and wire, with different designs on each.

My mother ended up making many of her hearts full of lavender and other herbs, as my friends could not get enough of them. These are all over Western Alberta and Saskatoon, and I hope on trees at Christmas.

Every year until 2010, I made many new ornaments by hand. I have made bread-dough ornaments, metal ornaments, cardboard ornaments, ornaments from material, and many other kinds using things from nature. Every year, our tree was slightly different. My last tree with my small family had about 400 ornaments on it. They now hang on other trees. My last tree with myself was pink, yes a pink tree with gold ornaments. I went retro for one year. Again, many of the ornaments were hearts. Many were made by me. I finally gave away my glue guns in 2011 to a young family. But, the memories of joy will stay with me always.

Before I left America, I made a tree for my parents with lights and ornaments all on the inside of a cone, wire gold tree, so that it would easy for them to put it away, as they are older.

The heart adjusts.

The symbol of the heart has been with poets and artists since the days of the Bible. In the psalms, we hear David singing of his heart. In Roman times, the heart was also considered the place of love and life. Those who are married wear the wedding ring on the finger which supposedly is connected to the heart by an artery. I think this myth is as old as the Romans.

In our Catholic tradition, we have many devotions to the Sacred  Heart. But, Mother Marie Adele Garnier, foundress of the Tyburn Benedictines, was given a great grace of insight into the Heart of Jesus. In her spirituality, given to her by Christ in mystical experiences, she saw that the Heart of Jesus was the Eucharist. Through the Eucharistic Adoration, she called her nuns to see the Heart of Christ in the community. She was called to be one of those special souls espoused to Christ in a Mystical Marriage. For her, daily Communion was a renewal of her "marriage vows" through the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus.

Now, this type of union is far above me, but lately, one of my friends who is a priest, repeated that all men and women were called to this intimacy in and through Christ. This is also the belief, as I have shown here on this blog, of Garrigou-Lagrange. This is a mystery.

We are all called to union. How? There is only one way.

For those of us who have loved a human being with our hearts and souls, we can understand a tiny bit of what this union must be like. To love without expectation is real love and is creates an interior fire which cannot be contained.

For Mother Marie Adele Garnier, at the Eucharist, in Adoration, her heart of fire was given fuel from the union of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

I ask all my readers to ask God to show you where it is He wants you to be loved and to love. He has a special place for us to receive and to give.

When I decorated the tree and house in hearts at Christmas, I was reminding us all that the Heart of Christmas is the Incarnation. That vulnerable Baby in the Manger would fill our hearts with joy, if we would only be open to Him.

For many years, I created centrepieces for Christmas, starting in early October and making other things, such as wreaths, door handle decorations, and ornaments. Cranberries, red tree dogwood, red roses, and hearts made my signature look. I also made children's decorations, such as gingerbread men and toy centrepieces. My making was part of who I am. Our creativity is part of being made in the Image and Likeness of God. Making made me joyful and pleased my friends and customers. My son and I decorated an entire Church hall one year for a parish Christmas dinner. We made everything ourselves. God blessed us and other through us. This was all done out of love.


We shared in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Others brought food and drink. Some greeted and served. This is the Body of Christ and He is the Heart. But, we are called into that Heart of Jesus. That year was one of the happiest experiences of a real community in a parish we have ever experienced. It was in Alaska, where the hearts of people are as big as the state.

We can be restored to purity through God's Love for us. We should not be afraid, but it can be scary. Even Mother Marie Adele had misgivings. Pray to her for miracles, and if you receive any, let the nuns at Tyburn know.

By the way, these are not photos of my ornaments, although some are similar. I do not have those photos on my computer here. God made the clouds and wonderful heart leaves. Look around you for hearts. These are everywhere to remind us of God's Love for us and our love for Him.

In the midst of all the political turmoil and difficulties of this week, I wanted to return to the heart of all things. Be holy, be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect. Christ said that and the way to the Father is through Christ. Open your heart and pray I can open mine to the wonders of Love, Who is a Person.

2 comments:

akp5401 said...

Thank you, reading this has brought me a lot of peace, God bless you.

Supertradmum said...

Stay focussed on God's love.