A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Consider the lilies…

By Margaret Cullen

By Margaret Cullen

In paddocks around New Zealand, along neglected little gullies where farmers have yet to realize that that little quarter acre could be useful and productive, arum lilies grow. The flowers stand out white and pure among the weeds and broken bits of old farm machinery, beacons of beauty among the weeds and rubble.

An English friend of mine photographed one such clump: in England arum lilies are very special and do not grow easily. She would have thought me peculiar for doing the same with a field of ‘linen’, blue splendour like the sky spread out on the earth or the wayside flowers of pink willow herb.

You can be almost certain that where those clumps of lilies are, there was once an old homestead. A house of dreams and hard work; of a large family perhaps battling against the odds, of early rising to milk cows and cooking the porridge on a smoky wood stove; the children walking to school, or riding horses if they were lucky. Ruth Dallas’ poem “Milking Before Dawn” evokes the morning ritual of the cowshed. In Dennis Glover’s “The Magpies” he uses the magpie as a sort of mocking anthem to the uselessness and failure of Tom and Elizabeth’s colonial farming life.Arum Lilies

When Jesus told his followers and subsequently us, to ‘Consider the lilies of the Field they toil not, neither do they spin’, these words could easily be poetry. But the lesson of them is far from pretty poetry however much they evoke a picture of beauty in the mind. Can we really trust Jesus that much? Trust him so much that we never doubt that He will always look after our needs, that everything will always go smoothly for us, or in life’s bad times that somehow we will come out of it with His help. That’s asking a lot. That we never doubt. Never.

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