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Jesus continues to tell parables even after his resurrection using the lives of saints. He employs the lives of saints to tell different parables. He drew on the life of St. Little Flower an ever-memorable parable.
He told us many things using the parable of a “Little Flower”. A Gardener planted the seed of a little flower in a fertile garden. He appointed two faithful servants to look after this flower tree. The flower tree happily underwent the cutting and pruning done by these servants. The flower tree grew in a place where it could receive the sunlight lavishly. The enemy of the Gardener sent the wind to eradicate the flower tree but it had strong roots to overcome the wind. After sometime, the Gardener uprooted the tree from the Garden and planted it in another garden, which is more conducive to produce the flower. Later three leaves sprouted on the flower tree, which fastened the blossoming of the flower. On a particular day, the Gardener visited the garden and found a beautiful little flower on the flower tree. He cut it and took it to his house. S/he who has ears, let him/her hear.
The parable of the “Little Flower” explained God is the Gardener who planted the seed of “Little Flower” in the fertile garden of Lebisone on January 2, 1873. St. Martin and St. Zelie Martin were the two servants who were appointed in this garden to look after the flower tree of “Little Flower”. They poured the water of sacraments and the manure of Christian faith at the root of the flower tree of “Little Flower”. They pruned the unwanted parts of the flower tree of the “Little Flower” every now and then. The Flower tree of “Little Flower” received the rays of love from The Son. Seeing all these, Satan blew the wind of suffering to uproot the flower tree, which is going to produce the “Little Flower” of sanctity. But the tree had deep roots of faith. God the Gardener plucked the Flower tree from the garden of Lebisone and planted it in the garden of Carmelite Order. Poverty, Obedience and Chastity were the three leaves that grew in this flower tree of “Little Flower”. These leaves intensified the growth of the “Little Flower” of sanctity in the flower tree. On September 30, 1897, God, The Gardener, visited the Carmelite garden and found the “Little Flower” of sanctity. He cut and took the “Little Flower” of sanctity with him to decorate His altar in Heaven.
“Little Flower” was a parable written by Christ on the paper-like surface of earth. He wrote the opening line of the parable of little flower on January 2, 1873, the birth day of “Little Flower”. And he wrote the concluding line of the parable of little flower on the surface of earth on September 30, 1897, the death day of “Little Flower”. He continues to write the parable of little flower from heaven and sends it to earth in the forms of flower petals of blessings to her devotees.
Behind the blossoming of every flower of sanctity, there are assistant gardeners appointed by God to look after the flower trees and he named them parents. Parents are the representatives of The Gardener on earth and families. If they do not toil in the garden of family, no flower tree will produce the flower of sanctity in them. That is why Bible teaches us that it is the first commandment with a promise. It is found in Ephesians 6:2 “Honour your father and mother.
This is the first commandment with a promise” and in Exodus 20:12 “Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you”. What do we read in the Gospel about Jesus, the flower who bloomed in the family garden of Joseph and Mary? “And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them” (Luke 2:51). The flower of sanctity was blossomed in the life of St. Mary because of her parents Joachim and Anne. Obviously, we know that Martin and Zelie were the causes in the growth of the little flower and the effect is sanctity. Like Little Flower, let us also undergo the pruning and cutting done by our parents, God-sent gardeners, to have the flowers of sanctity in our lives.
The Flower of sanctity blossoms in the midst of thorns of weaknesses. St. Paul writes about such a thorn in 2 Corinthians 12: “Lord I have a thorn in my flesh and you kindly set me free from it”. But God’s reply was amazing, “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. The mental agony caused by the death of Martin, her father, was a thorn in the life of Little Flower but she accepted it and in turn God manifested his power in making her a flower of sanctity. One, who transformed water into wine and wine into blood, planted us. Finding the thorns of weaknesses in our lives, we need not give up our desire to blossom as a flower of sanctity because we have a God who manifests his power in our weaknesses and who is able to give birth to flower in the midst of thorns.
It may be possible to hide a flower in a closed room but who can stop the fragrance it spreads? The fragrance of sanctity can never be hidden. However, we hide the fried fishes; the smell will hit the nostrils of cats. And the 5th chapter of Gospel of St. Matthew pauses the question? “Do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel?” Little Flower was hidden inside the four walls but the fragrance of sanctity spread from four walls to the four corners of world which made her the patroness of world missions. Let us also bear the fragrance of sanctity in our life and it will reach the minds and hearts of the people breaking the walls of time and space.
Jesus could write a parable of “Little Flower” using the life of St. Therese of Lisieux on the surface of earth. Are we leading a life using which Jesus can write another parable on the face of the earth? You and me need not write the parable of a “Little Flower” but write a parable of our own for each one is filled with the ink of purity to write a parable of God’s choice. Let the words of love be rolled down from the pen-like life, you are given. Let your life be another parable, which Christ tells to the multitude of 21st century.
Fr Joby Kochupurayil CST