At the top of Mount Tabor, on the path to the Church of the Transfiguration, there is a canopy of sweet-smelling shady Eucalyptus trees that lead into a lush courtyard garden. Low and high stone walls topped with ornate iron work and cascading vines separate a patchwork of gardens full of a variety of plants and colorful flowers. Statues and garden objects dot the landscape, the most magnificent being the life-size statue of Christ on the cross bending down towards St. Francis, whom He made custodian of His Holy Land.
All my life I have been attracted to gardens. As a child I loved collecting rocks and little statues, and as an adult living in New Orleans, I loved touring the ironwork in the French Quarter. I can spend hours at a plant nursery just looking and dreaming of my perfect garden. The garden of my dreams is always filled with ironwork, statues, and colorful flowers galore, covering the ground, filled to overflowing in pots and cascading down the side of stone walls.
As I walk the grounds at Mount Tabor, kept since the 14th Century by the Franciscan Order, I realize that I am in my dream garden. It is so beautiful and in it is everything I long to place in my garden. This beauty opens my eyes to see that at the very place where the Son of God revealed His Glory to His apostles, He is doing the same for me. Since childhood, God has placed in my heart the love for His created things, anticipating the day that my heart would transcend to the Creator Himself.
For years, I had made no room for God, choosing instead to occupy myself with the glittery but ultimately empty places of the world. For years, now I see, that Jesus has passed through my heart without finding a place to stay. He has been waiting for me to hear His cry from Matthew 8:20, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
Overwhelmed at the revelation that God has pursued me all my life, I seek the One who has always loved me. I enter the Church of the Transfiguration, find Jesus in His Real Presence in the Tabernacle, kneel before my Creator and my Love, open the door of my heart, and invite Him in.