... in Mass in my garden

Published on 19 May 2020
Azaleas

I've been lucky, at a certain point of the lockdown, to be able to move from a flat to our country cottage. It stands in the middle of a mature, indigenous mixed wood, and we've altered the landscape very slightly, adding local shrubs and flowering plants.

I walked around searching, on my first Sunday there, for a place to consider my own 'chapel' in which to pray the Mass of that day (I don't go deep with livestreamed ones).The day was glorious and warm. I came upon a semicircular hedge of azaleas, and it felt just right. From behind it I couldn't see the cottage or any sign of human life; just the different trees, the shadows and light through the foliage, and the sky behind. And the crimson glory of cascading  azaleas in front of me. It struck me as the perfect altar.. So I sat down, and took out my mobile and started -head down- going through the Ordinary and the readings...But when I paused after the Gospel, I looked up. And felt transported out of me. Life, the vibrancy of nature, was central: birds crisscrossing their songs, and the humming of bees, and  slender pines swaying gently with a sudden breeze, white petals of acacia flowers falling, and smelling so richly...I was in the middle of it. I was not doing anything. It was nature who was celebrating Mass, and glorifying and praising the Lord and being renewed in life by Him! So I stilled my mind and my doings, and  revelled in this Mass going on. And was grateful and humbled and filled with wonder and joy to be part of and feel the divine liturgy going on all around me.

A garden with azaleas and ferns