January 3, 2021
Cool and overcast
A friend of mine was bicycling alone down a little-traveled road outside of Sacramento, assuaging his own inner grief by cycling alone through the unknown fields. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of a structure in the distance. Curious, he left his bike by the side of the road and walked out in the field to see what it was. What he found was a small shrine with a marble statue of Mother Mary covered with dust and dirt from the fields, the paint of the wooden board behind her cracked and peeling, her feet covered with fallen leaves. Neglected and alone, she stood abandoned by those who had once loved her.
My friend knew that he could not leave the Divine Mother in such a condition. He began to return to the shrine daily with tools, equipment, paint, brushes, water, usually carrying everything he needed on his bicycle, but sometimes bringing his car for heavy loads. Gradually, the shrine as it appears in the picture above emerged. He has become the shrine’s caretaker, the only caretaker as it remains hidden on private land.
In just this way, in the 12th century St. Francis of Assisi discovered an abandoned chapel near his home, Portiuncula. He started rebuilding it alone, stone by stone. Eventually, a few men came to help him, then more, then more, in the spirit of service. This was the beginning of the Franciscan order.
What began as love led to devotion. Love is the opening of the heart, the burning flame that cannot be quenched, and devotion is service to that flame. Devotion is the testimony to love. Love is often unrecognized, protected in deep, unspoken silence, too precious to entrust to the chaos of language. Service is the signpost pointing toward the love that is behind it.
Service is the language of the heart.
Wishing you and yours happiness and growth in knowledge, love, protection and power in 2021,
My mentor, Rahul Star Patel’s book, The Healer’s Way, An Inner Guide to Healing Through Energy Medicine” is now published and available for purchase: