A metaphor: cactus, a priest and a little church

Cactus buds from prickly pear pads taken from the Valley in the Winter

I am way too proud of these little cactus buds. They are new growth from prickly pear pads taken from the yard of St George in the Valley (Pharr, Texas) when I was there for the first of hopefully many Winter Service Retreats.


All three of the pads I took have new growth. I planted them in containers in December, and put them outside when it was warm enough. Sometimes I would forget to take them in and it would freeze overnight, and other times we would have YET ANOTHER torrential Winter rainstorm which, in addition to slowing down the new construction of our temple by at least three months, filled the containers with water. Now, cacti don't like a lot of water,but my little ones did just fine.

I think if I could pick a plant to be it would be a cactus. This is the perfect plant fror a priest to be.

Now metaphors cannot be taken to the extreme – I do not want to be prickly. Priests go for long periods without water, and sometimes have too much (now what do you think water is in this metaphor?) They survive when it is difficult. They do not ask for much. They just live and grow. I want to be tougher spiritually, emotionally, like a cactus.

Our little church is like a cactus. We have not had good conditions for growth – ridiculous delays, huge expenses, our little size, not much money  – to name a few. We are not, as they say "out of the woods yet". But we are going to get a new temple built. We will sing "Christ is risen" in its first liturgy. We will afford it eventually.

I love spring, and new life. I must get my tomatoes in soon, which I will as soon as somebody adds another day to the week! I also need to plant these cacti in their permanent home (which they have had a lot of trouble finding – another metaphor for our little church, which searched for a new home for 14 years). I get ridiculously happy just looking at them on the walkway.

Oh yes, I have other new growth on my mind. If we do not get the money for a bunch of trees required by the city, our little cactus will remain in its container for a very long time. Even cacti cannot survive for too long in such a cramped space.

We need help affording our trees. Unlike a real cactus, we can ask for help, and we would be very grateful if you would help us get over our last great hurdle. See our "Sponsor a Tree" Paschal appeal

As always, we will pray for our benefactors perpetually.


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