“’To despise the flesh, for it passeth away, and to take care for the soul, the thing immortal.’ Prove this by your deeds; fast, gladly bestow charity upon the poor, entertain guests heartily; do not grudge anything to those who belong to your household, zealously read the Word of God, pray, repent, lament your sins, strive with all your might after holiness, meekness, humility, patience, and obedience.” (St.John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ – Extracts from the Diary of St. John of Kronstadt, Part 2 pg.175-176)
The Lenten Spring has arrived, so we Orthodox Christians say.
Spring is full of hope, beauty and vitality. Such is how we also view the fast of Great Lent: a time of renewal and joy, a chance to revisit the Garden of Eden and to eat the same foods as Eve and Adam had before them.
And I was in Eden Park, not Eden, but it was beautiful nonetheless. The magnolias had blossomed in a gorgeous array of whites and pinks and magentas.
The white Plumeria, a special flower. I was in town to go to confession, to admit my soul and life were not as pure as the flowers. They obey God, I do not, and am in need of His forgiveness, which they are not.
Flowers of every shape, hue, size and scent. Adam named the animals, did he also have the pleasure of conceiving a name for each of the countless plant variations?
The beauty of flora is alluring, and yet it does according to Scripture represent beauty that is passing away. The flower is there but a short time, its purpose is to produce seed to continue life. Its loveliness conceals the corrupting truth which gnaws at all creation.
Indeed, the flower fades, but the Word of God endures forever. A lesson in living in the world. Beauty is fleeting, truth remains.
Life does also produce thorns amidst the glory. More lessons to learn as we walk through the world which God made, but we made hostile to us.
Beauty can also be healing, and a sign of life renewed by God.
Even with its imperfections, life is precious, elegantly speaking to us of the Creator.
I had the good opportunity and great pleasure to stroll through the Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati. I thank you for taking that walk with me.
You can view all my photos from my visit to Krohn Conservatory at http://www.flickr.com/photos/frted/sets/72157626321145829/. Just click on “Slide Show” above the thumbnail photos to see them full size in the slide show.