Over the last few weeks, the “Queen of the Night” has been blossoming outside the Shrine at Villa Maria in Cape Town. The “Queen of the Night” is an extraordinary cactus which can grow up to seven meters. It has the most amazing large flowers shaped like majestic waterlilies. As the name indicates, the flowers open at night and usually close again the next morning, although they might remain open on cool, cloudy days. On several occasions on my way to morning prayer in the Shrine, my heart jumped with a beat of excitement. Why? A large blossom decorated the otherwise ordinary-looking cactus. While enjoying the moment I also wished I had a camera to take the perfect picture! By the time I could get my camera the flower was already wilting.
Capturing the moments
Due to Covid-19 our morning routine changes depending on when we can celebrate Holy Mass. This morning another flower blossomed. With great enthusiasm, I realized I had time to fetch my camera and document this amazing wonder of Nature.
It was later while admiring the picture, I had to think – isn’t life like this? God gifts us with many special moments – even during a global pandemic. I emphasize the word moments. Just like the flowers which only last a short time God grants us moments of grace, of love and care. It is up to us to capture these moments. We don’t need a camera to do this but an open heart. It can be something as simple as a smile from someone, or opening the freezer and realising I still have some of my favourite ice-cream left.
Documenting the moments
A well-known quote from Fr. Kentenich is: “A child lives for the moment.”
When I first came to South Africa I met an elderly sister, who was blind and bedridden. I was so impressed by her radiant eyes and asked why was she so happy. She explained that as a young sister she experienced some difficulties. Fr. Kentenich encouraged her to take time every day and write down one nice thing she had experienced and thank God for it. After doing this for a certain time she showed Fr. Kentenich her notebook with the little experiences. She told Fr. Kentenich that somehow life didn’t seem so difficult for her anymore. He encouraged her to keep us this practice. Faithfully she did and it was these little moments of joy – which she understood as proofs of Gods infinite love – which transformed her into a radiant sister of Mary.