by Sister Brenda Rose Szegedy, OSF
“Blossom like a rose growing by a stream… and bless the Lord for all his works.” Sirach 39: 13-14
Throughout the years this scripture passage has taken on deeper meaning for me. As we draw near to the Feast of All Saints, I would like to share some thoughts about my name-saint. Thank you to all who remember the “Rose” part of my name. St. Rose of Lima has been my patron saint from my earliest childhood days. Even at an early age I was inspired by this saint’s deep prayer life that flowed into her loving care for the poor and sick in a makeshift infirmary at her home.
Some years back on a thirty-day retreat, I had an opportunity to reflect on the image of the blossoming rose in light of my vocation. Today I’ve become even more aware how God’s initial call to me has unfolded and deepened throughout the years in my life of shared Sisterhood within my Sylvania Franciscan community. My retreat helped me to see the various aspects of my life as an unfolding rose. The following reflection continues to take on greater meaning for me as I ponder the countless persons who have blessed my life.
Quietly and imperceptibly the Rose gently opens revealing layer upon layer of
petals. Each layer adds to the beauty and richness of the flower gradually
revealing something of its Center, the Core of its being.
It is the power of God’s transforming Love that opens each of us to fullness of life. Throughout our lifetime our lives slowly unfold one petal at a time. This, of course, involves a growth process that is a type of death. The rose has to continually let go of what it presently is in order to become more. All growth involves change and change implies surrender, a dying to a familiar way of being to enter into the Mystery of the “something new” God holds before us.
Today I continue to see my life and all life as an unfolding rose growing under the Gaze of God’s Love. In turn, I am called to gaze with this same Love upon each person I encounter on life’s daily path. It is with this Gaze that I meet my Sisters and countless others in my place of prayer each day.
During this season of letting go, I invite you to join me in pondering:
What is my greatest challenge to continued growth in God’s unfolding plan?
How is my faith being “stretched” at this time?
What has to die in me? What is being raised to new life in me?