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State Chaplain 2018 - 2019

Picture of Rev Kenney St. Hilaire

Rev Kenneth St. Hilaire
August 2018

The scorching heat of the summer is upon us - at least, here on the eastern side of the mountains - and the growing season is in full swing. Let’s continue to reflect on some ways that gardening provides apt analogies for the spiritual life.

When I was a little boy, one of my brothers and I had a couple of rabbits to take care of, and another brother took care of the chickens. I remember having the unpleasant task of cleaning out the rabbit hutches and hauling the wagon loads of manure to the garden. (Looking back on it, I am thankful that the task of cleaning up after the chickens was not mine! At least the rabbits were docile while the work was being done!)

Sometimes the smell of the manure was suffocating, but Dad said it would make really good fertilizer for the garden, and the animals needed their homes cleaned.  So the work had to be done.

An important part of the spiritual life is to learn to see the various unpleasantries and misfortunes that come our way for what they are. It can seem almost impossible sometimes to see the things that cause us pain or suffering as anything other than nuisances to be escaped from or evils to be avoided. Indeed, we may spend a lot of effort trying to get rid of this or that trial in life.

However, if we look at difficult situations from a broader perspective, we will find that there is some good that God will bring about if we avail ourselves of His grace. I remind people all the time (including myself!) that if God permits any evil to take place, then there is some good that He will bring about through it. If there were no good that could possibly come of it, God would not allow it to happen.

Are you in the middle of a painful or otherwise difficult moment in your life? How do you think about the issue at hand? Are you expending all your energy trying to solve the problem or eliminate the suffering? Perhaps the Lord invites you to consider how manure spread on a garden - as unpleasant as it is - ultimately enriches the soil and makes the plants grow stronger and healthier. In other words, remember that the present trial will not be for your destruction, but for your eventual betterment.

Granted, this is more easily said than done. When we are in the midst of hard times, we can be blind to the prospect of any good thing coming along. To be honest, even when we are looking for the good that God wants to bring about, we may not always perceive it. After all, God’s ways are not our ways, and we are not always able to discern perfectly how the Holy Spirit is working in a given situation.

 Nevertheless, when we feel like the “manure” is being spread, we can do our best to adopt a trusting attitude, relying on the Good Lord to get us through the time of difficulty and looking forward to the blessings that He has in store for us. Knowing that God is infinitely close to us in those moments brings us great comfort, and knowing that better times are ahead helps us to hold on to hope.

 So, don’t be discouraged. If you want to grow a healthy garden, you have to bite the bullet sometimes and shovel a little manure.


Vivat Jesus!
Fr. Kenneth St. Hilaire
State Chaplain