Word of the Month

The Garden of the Lord

October 2001

So many people's inner life resembles a wilderness and so many hearts resemble a desert, because they close themselves off from God's activity. It does not have to be nor remain like that, for the Prophet Isaiah already indicated that the Lord "will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in it, thanksgiving and the voice of melody." (cf. Isaiah 51:3). How does the Lord, in a spiritual manner, turn a wilderness and a desert into a blooming garden? It can be compared to the creation of the earth: by water - the water of life, that is revealed in the word from the altar; by light and the warmth of the sun - the light of the grace of Jesus Christ, the embodiment of life; the wind - the wind of the Holy Spirit, that fructifies everything, and by the dew - the blessing of God.

However, this also requires our efforts to make the soil of our soul arable. In this context we can bring up faith, love and hope. Faith comes from hearing, and hearing >from the word of God. From this follows: whoever is of good will and honestly strives to accept the word from the altar can believe. And whoever gives room to love, which has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, will experience how God's love unfolds and the works of love are revealed. Finally, hope enlivens our longing for the Day of the Lord. All this is necessary to create a garden of the Lord out of the wilderness and the desert.

Peace is necessary if the garden of the Lord shall bloom and show growth. This peace must be created anew again and again. Let us preserve this peace, then the sun and the rain, the wind and the dew, the gifts of heaven, can work upon the soil of our heart and delight and joy, refreshment, comfort and strength, yes, redemption and bliss are able to thrive.

Sometimes we have to dig somewhat deeper into our hearts - the fear of God gives spiritual depth and banishes envy, hatred and the lusts of the world. Sometimes we also lack a little fertilizer, if the garden does not want to properly bloom and grow. What is the fertilizer for our soul? The imminent anticipation of the Lord.

We possess everything that is necessary to allow our heart to become a splendid garden of the Lord. Is it then surprising that delight and joy as well as thanks and praise can be found in it?

(Excerpt from a divine service of the Chief Apostle)