Every Bush Is Burning

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Every Bush Is Burning painting by Mary Southard 2015

How grateful I am for the nine weeks I enjoyed at The Desert House of Prayer near Tucson!  The Sonoran desert with her beauty and diversity, her dangers and her mystery, drew me in. It was such an unfamiliar environment that I often paused to listen for the heartbeat of God in the beings and landforms and glorious sunsets. At first I had a little trouble tuning in to the “cactus people”. We finally made contact very early one morning. While it was still dark and utterly silent, I decided to walk the trail in the light of the full moon.  I began to feel the cactus presences everywhere as I walked among them—the stately saguaro, the prickly pear, la cholla. They began to reveal themselves, how they love the cool nights and how that enables them to be more outgoing.

So we chatted on . . .

Just after sunrise they began to glow, some outlined with light, others radiating light. I was reminded of Moses’ burning bush.  “Wow!”  “You’re beautiful!” “Radiant!”  “On fire!” “Every bush is burning!”, I sang as I made my way through them and around them, off the trail now—awed by the bright contours of the prickly pear, gazing into the lighted faces of the barrel cactus, marveling at the amazing geometry of needle patterns!  And they laughed, as if to say “Of course every bush is burning! You are on Holy Ground!”

Now I stop, and become still.  How true—every being is radiant! God’s energy, Love energy indwells and empowers every being! I feel surrounded by light, held in light, filled with love!  Words from a song are singing in my soul, “Come let me love you.” That’s all I want, God sings…”Just let me love you!”.  And I do, and I am there for a long while.  Eventually the climbing sun nudges me to go to breakfast.

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Tree Flowers and Wild Flowers

We had two days of good rain in late January, amazing sweet desert rain! A gentle fragrance rose in the desert. Where there were no signs of life before, green appeared. As the weeks unfolded, tiny flowers in great varieties of shapes and colors began to pop up from the desert floor. On the trails I watched as the winter desert literally burst into bloom—an abundance of desert wildflowers—all the hidden inner radiance came rushing forth.

Everything found a way to bloom and my cactus friends were putting forth huge buds.  I was eager to see the colors and shapes of their inner beauty exploding outward!

But the day of my departure came just before they came to bloom.

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Cactus Blooms



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Cactus Blooms


I was told it was a glorious show!

So, this is what I’m wondering now . . .

What if we could behold the world as it really is? ON FIRE with the Great Outpouring LOVE Who brought forth every being ?  Every bush, every being—filled  with divinity! What if we would stop and listen for the heartbeat of God’s presence in all things, all beings?

What if we let the radiant energy of God’s Love that dwells within us burst forth and flow through us out into the world, to others?

With hope and love,

Mary Southard, CSJ