Picture by kind permission of Danielle Banyai. Harvest display, Franciscan International Study Centre, 2015.
Fr Austin was preaching at the Harvest Mass on taking nothing for granted but always being grateful for what we are given. He recalled a time of great austerity when he was growing up during World War II, but the church would still be decorated with the fruits of the earth – even sacks of coal in those days.
At the very least we have always tried to express some of this in the familiar words of the grace, ‘these thy gifts’. But even when feeling low, it is a good discipline to count one’s blessings before bedtime.
When Mrs O allowed me to take on her garden, I was intent on helping her out, or so I told myself. There was more to it, of course. I enjoy dirt under my fingernails; I enjoy growing things, and had been exiled from much of that for a while.
So producing a few forkfuls for the table has been a joy, and Harvest Festival allowed me to give thanks, not just for the Harvest, but also for the chance to share in the prelapsarian work given – given – to our first parents. This Son of Adam will always be grateful to Mrs O as well as her maker!