Sacred Garden a place for contemplating beautiful life

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, July 18, 2012

Mother Teresa’s quote, “Let us do something beautiful for God,” defines the Sacred Garden at Cochrane’s St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Photos by Warren Harbeck

A recently installed plaque outside one of Cochrane’s churches features a quote from the renowned missionary humanitarian of Calcutta, Mother Teresa. It reads, “Let us do something beautiful for God.”

The words are inscribed in a 42-inch steel plate in a beautiful setting of its own, nestled in the centre of a circle of paving stones beneath a bold-timbered arbour in the Sacred Garden at the southwest corner of St. Mary’s Catholic Church south of the Bow River.

The Sacred Garden, a work in progress, has drawn on the contributions of many skilled craftspeople and volunteers to fashion its restful space. The driving force behind the project is our Cochrane-area coffee companion Mike Simpson.

Mike is no stranger to doing beautiful things. Among many other achievements over the years, his past engineering career involved designing bridges to bring people together. The Confederation Bridge between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island is an example of his firm’s involvement.

In the Sacred Garden, however, a bridge of a different kind has been created: a bridge between the visible and the Invisible.

That’s why, I think, Mike’s committee settled on the quote from Mother Teresa to define the Sacred Garden. In fact, I was given the honour of selecting the quote.

So, just how do I see her wish for us to “do something beautiful for God” working out in our foothills community? Here are three thoughts that come to my mind immediately, and regular readers of these columns won’t be at all surprised by my suggestions:

The beauty of longing hearts. There is an awe-inspiring quality inherent in beauty, whether it’s the magnificence of a sunset or the glory of a fragrant garden. In the context of such beauty our hearts find satisfaction for their hunger for the Beautiful One, the Creator of all, expressed in the sensory-awakening splendour of sky and earth.

The beauty of listening hearts. In the quietude of such space, away from the distraction of the noisy world outside, we can come aside for a few minutes to discern the Still Small Voice of God, and consider how we can hear each other’s voices better along life’s too-often-self-absorbed journey.

The beauty of loving hearts. Here, amidst symbols of the Holy, we can reflect on how we can better practice the loving-kindness of gentle mercy and forgiveness of which the prophets of old wrote and to which Jesus invites us.

So, may the Sacred Garden at St. Mary’s Church provide a beautiful quiet space where people of holy longing can pause and experience a bridge between the visible and the Invisible.

May it be a place where longing hearts find rest for their souls as they seek to hear the voice of God in the quiet surroundings and from deep within.

And may visitors go forth from this Sacred Garden into the wider community with a renewed determination to do – and to be – “something beautiful for God” through the beauty of their loving hearts.


© 2012 Warren Harbeck

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