S. Roberta Bussan of Benet House Retreat Center in Rock Island, IL shares these reflections, the fruit of her time in nature.  They first appeared in the Retreat Center’s newsletter, “The Inner Room.” —–

In my morning walk, last Wednesday, I saw flowers in various stages of growth. It recalled our spiritual journey and how each person I encounter offers a different stage of growth. No two of us are the same as we grow in different ways and at different paces. It also reminds me that, within myself, I have grown in stages spiritually. The patch of flowers I photographed are a symbol of those inner stages. Some flowers are closed and tight, indicating an early stage of development; some are fuller but still closed and others are partially open, not quite ready to take off . Then there is the fully opened bloom – reaching skyward as if to grasp in the air and the all of creation. Flowers in full bloom symbolize, for me, a reaching out to God with open hands! I am no Master Gardener, but I do move a little dirt, plant flowers, water them and watch them grow. It keeps me in touch with my own inner movements. Summer is excellent time to take a bit of time to reflect on your journey – to see what is growing and what might need some tending to in your prayer life. Without regular Eucharist it is even more important to stay in touch with the Divine within and to nurture your relationship with God. Try not to put this prayer on ‘hold’ as there is always something to do. Make it a habit to offer a period each day to water the relationship so that your journey continues to bloom. I have long believed that it isn’t the amount of time that God counts but the quality of the time we spend in prayer. My God continue to bloom in each of us and may we discover new ways to relate to God and share this mutual love with others.