Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Farm Town Games and St. Teresa's Gardening Tips

One of my Facebook friends is into the myFarm game. It's not a real farm. Your Facebook friends can send you not-real plants and animals as gifts for your not-real farm.

Yes, it is for people who have far too much time on their hands. Or maybe it's for people who would like to grow a real garden, but don't have that much time - or land.

I have forty-some myFarm gifts waiting for me to get started on virtual farming. Can't imagine I will get around to it, but I hang onto the plum trees and mango trees, my cat and my bunny and my cow, all those Farm Town gifts, just in case.

It reminds me of a passage in The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila. She talks at length about a garden for God. How we can draw water from the well to care for God's garden.

The water comes from prayers, from tears, from great devotion. At times, God is doing the watering, when we enter seasons of dryness. Even then, the rain comes. God takes over and does the watering.

The plants are virtues which the Lord (with our cooperation) causes to grow and to produce a harvest.

"If it be His will that these plants and flowers shall grow, some of them with water drawn from this well and some without it, what is that to me? Do as You will, O Lord, and let me not offend You. If You have, of Your kindness alone, given me any virtues, do not let them perish. . . Fulfill Your will in me" (80-81). "What shall the gardener do now? He shall be glad and take comfort, and consider it the greatest favour that he is working in the garden of so mighty an Emperor" (79). -St. Teresa of Avila

This is a garden that I can (and must) tend. This is a garden (though it remains invisible to the eye) which requires and merits my effort. This is a garden that some will consider to be as silly as a Farm Town game. As imaginary. Something akin to a child's game.

But no, this garden has another name. This garden is the soul. And there is no greater joy than that of having the Lord of the garden pass through and find all things rightly ordered. To have Him reach out and pluck a plum or mango from this orchard. There is no greater joy.

This is no imaginary place. It is real. I am the gardener. And the Lord is the Lord of the harvest.

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