A few weeks ago a young boy attending Mass at one of my parishes collected dandelions to give his mother. Noticing it, I asked him if he put any money in the collection. He did. A few quarters. I told him that I didn’t think he got his money’s worth and he should go pick some more from the grass. Besides making a huge bouquet for his mother, it helped to reduce the yellow in front of Church for a little while.
Isn’t there something beautiful in a young person collecting dandelions and giving them to someone they love? They have no money to buy roses, tulips, or carnations, but from the abundance of God’s earth they find a gift they can afford. In many ways, that is how God receives our small offerings of praise and sacrifice.
The dandelion has been on my mind since early May. I flew down to a retreat center in Indiana in order to give a day retreat to attendees. Due to flight schedules, I needed to stay at a hotel near the airport. When I entered my room and rested, I looked up to see two framed pictures of dandelions. I thought nothing of it, until I arrived at the retreat center the next morning and in the main meeting room there was a dandelion on the wall with the fuzz blowing in perceived wind. Dumbstruck in the moment, I wondered if God was trying to teach me a lesson about the dandelions. I asked followers on social media for their thoughts, and this is what they had to share:
1. Dandelions can be perceived as a weed that never leaves you alone-or is it a symbol that God with you no matter what you do, he always sticks around!
2. Dandelions scatter in the wind and begin to grow where the seeds land, like disciples moving about, sharing, and multiplying!
3. It is the first flower children pick for their mom’s..she never tells them they are weeds
4. Dandelions are the first food of bees during the Spring season. Bees make the beeswax for the Easter candle.
5. Dandelions are food for pollinators and people. They grow and distribute prolifically without much care or cultivation. People will poison the earth to rid it of a flower they do not understand or appreciate and limit it’s dissemination.
6. They represent the seeds of ministry and going where the wind blows.
7. We are called to spread the Word of God and like the seeds on the dandelions they will spread out from you and grow new “plants.”
It seemed that my followers on social media believed God was in fact using the dandelion to teach me a lesson about faith, discipleship, and evangelization. Simple lessons from noticing images of dandelions on a recent trip. I think they were right.
This was back in May, a month that I am on the road a lot giving talks throughout the country and my diocese. Some were large gatherings. Others were small. As the speaker, I was planting the seeds of Marian devotion. I’ll never know what resulted from those talks. I hope I the seeds took root and perhaps even spread to others. But its possible that the message was squashed by worldliness or weeded out of their heart by sin. I am like a dandelion, and you can be like one as well, sharing your knowledge and spreading your love wherever you go.