featured image

Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB, contemplates the power of grace to penetrate even the most parched of souls.

Those who have a working farm or tend a garden know that damp soil draws down and disperses rain efficiently.

It is difficult and time consuming to rehydrate a soil that has deeply dried well below the top three inches. I’m referring to the dryness a drought brings when the temperatures run high and there has been no rain for weeks.

A storm may move in — an assurance that help is on the way — but the rain that lands on the drought-stricken earth fails to fulfill the deep need, running off without penetrating; there is nothing left in the soil to draw the water down.


poppies in the rain


The surgery had not gone as planned. The doctor’s assertion that I would maintain what I had and improve what I didn’t, failed. It was after the third post-surgical follow up, two surgeons, and ten weeks later that I was told we were done; this is how it is going to be for the rest of my life — short of a miracle.

Alone in the parking lot, too upset to drive, I cried.

It is the expectation — no, the hope — that the cure that was sought and with prayer would improve the situation. Surgically it was a success; the unwanted tissue was removed, there was no infection, and no other tissues were damaged in the process. The rest is consequence.

Forty-eight hours later, still trying to process the situation I was now in, I recalled how rain penetrates earth.


dandelion in the rain


It had been a difficult year-and-a-half and it felt as if a drought had parched my heart. I was moving very close to despondency. To be despondent is to turn away from God, and that turning away is a sin. We as Christians are taught that in any negative situation we are to look for a good, and with this situation the good was learning to lean all the more into the Holy Trinity and Mother Mary.

As I leaned in — and more than once! — the Holy Spirit led me to ask of myself, “What sustained me over these past eighteen months through the spells of decline and sorrow?” Simply, it was grace; the soul, the spiritual garden that we tend, is openly receptive to God’s grace when it is kept supple through small virtuous acts (those small random prayers and acts of kindness), even when we are experiencing dryness.


Click to tweet:
Like soil supple and moist draws down water, so our soul draws down grace. #catholicmom


When with a drought-stricken heart we are attentive to the health of our soul, and offer even the smallest virtuous act, our spiritual garden remains receptive when the Holy comes, and grace like water is drawn down. We remain restored even in the heat of desperation.


succulent plant in the rain

Copyright 2021 Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB
Images (from top): Canva Pro; Pixabay (2020); Pixabay (2020); Pixabay (2015)