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For the newest art project her teacher told the students to present something prehistoric. My little Irish girl over-looked the usual dinosaur, went back 270 million years, and found something which IS STILL HERE, as wonderful, as fresh  – and as GREEN – as ever, the Gingko. How fitting for the month of Spring, the month of St. Paddy, the month of the GREEN!! One of my very favorites of all of God’s various Names: St. Augustine’s “O Beauty Ever Ancient Yet Ever New!”

Don’t you just feel yourself drawn into Molly’s Serenity? Her gingkos point us to that most pre-historic of all Beings, the One Who forever dwells in every human heart and soul.

The place where Augustine learned that Name was at the end of a long, long road LOST. “Late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient and so new, late have I loved you!  You were within, but I was outside, seeking there for you. Upon the shapely things you have made
I rushed headlong, I, misshapen. You were with me but I was not with you. They held me back far from you, those things which would have no being were they not in you.

You called, you shouted, you broke through my deafness;
you flared, you blazed, you banished my blindness;
you lavished your fragrance, I gasped, and now I pant for you;
I tasted you, and I now hunger and thirst;
you touched me, and now I burn for your peace.”

WOW!!!! Could that man turn a phrase!!!! Many years later a much simpler saint, Francis, here seen in the second known portrait of him (what he really looked like) summed it all up, weeping: “How can SUCH GREAT LOVE go unloved?”IMG_20160306_104306795

The NUMERO UNO, absolute, crucial, critical, essential, very most important thing in any person’s (or any creature’s) life, as this SimplestSaintSawIt, was staying in Union with the Source of All Life, All Good, All Beauty. To Francis the only time when one is in trouble is not when he or she is destitute or ill or faced with a sword or imprisoned or tortured BUT ONLY when, and to the extent that, one is AWAY FROM THE VINE. As Molly presents it again: IMG_20160306_111720937

One could stay EVERGREEN whatever the season or the tribulation, so long as one stays focused on that Infinite Source. When i see the Green, i think of LIFE. My buddy, Gerry Schnell, reminds of Pope John Paul II who begged the human race on his knees to always seek LIFE, not death. “Do not follow any leaders who train you in the ways of inflicting death. Love Life, Respect Life, in yourself and in others. Give yourself to the service of Life, not the work of death.”

Molly’s Majestic Gingkos remind me of my second favorite action of new Pope Francis. The first, of course, was THE FIRST, when, newly elected, he stood before the People of God and instead of giving them his blessing, he bowed to them and asked for theirs. WOW! i knew we were in for a great ride. But what a move he made that December when he went to what was always seen as “the Great Vatican Christmas Office Party,” where everyone exchanges hugs and baci, little gifts and pleasantries, nicee nice…BUT ALL OF A sudden BAM! A Mega-Explosion! Pope Francis uses the party, which is held during Advent, which is New Year’s on the Church calendar, to say, “It’s time for some serious resolutions!!!!!!” He then addressed the Great Head of the Catholic Church, the Vatican Curia, as suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia, because they had FORGOTTEN what really truly matters, not rules and regulations, not money-making or laundering, not power or prestige, but only Love, Compassion, Care for the Poor and Homeless, in his favorite of words, Misericordia in Italian, MERCY!

Botanists and scientists have always believed that the Gingko contains properties to combat dementia and to keep us fresh and young. Pope Francis, like his namesake and the famous sinner-saved, Augustine, pointed all of us, beginning with himself and his fellow shepherds, to that “BEAUTY EVER ANCIENT, EVER NEW” as the ONE & ONLY SOURCE of Eternal Youth and Perpetual GREEN! He is the Pope of Mercy and of HOPE, the green Papa.

Isn’t my Molly AMAZING?! And i can’t think of a better song to go with her masterpiece than the peaceful, haunting chant of Michael Stillwater, “May We All Return…” i recommend it to everyone ( These saints, and all the saints, would have us at the start and end and CENTER of every day somehow “Return There to the Place of the Heart, of the Soul”, to RENEW OUR GREENNESS. For years i have “suffered” from an intense tinnitus, i.e. Ringing in the Ear. i say “suffer” meaning that it is a lovely constant call or reminder that hardly any of the “crap” that is going on in the world around me really matters much. What counts is the Inner Harmony; again, Augustine, “I searched for you outside, and there you were…always and forever…within.”

My friend, Michael Stillwater:



Author: friardad

what's it like having a wife and six kids after having been a friar for many years and being still married to St. Francis' Lady Poverty?

2 thoughts on “LIVING THE GREEN”

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