Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

October Is Bulb Planting Month

Planted hyacinth bulbs in the garden yesterday as October is Bulb Planting Month. Hyacinths are a flower of the lily-family which was already highly cultivated (especially in Holland) before the end of the 16th century. The fragrance is heady and intense. The story of the flower's cultivation spread from southern Turkey through Lebanon and Syria, to northern Israel/Palestine to Iraq, to north east Iran and Turkmenistan. 

Rumi, The 13th century Persian poet and Sufi mystic wrote:

If you have three loaves of bread,
give two to the poor,
sell the third,
and with the money
buy hyacinths for your soul.

Like Jesus' parable of the merchant who searched for fine pearls and was un-relenting until he found the most perfect one, (Matthew 13:45ff),  Rumi's poem declares that our inner life is more important than anything. And that inner life requires the attentions of beauty, silence, sacrifice, study and consideration. 

What challenges there are to living in this awareness and intent! We weren't made for so much stress and speed. Monks and nuns understand. We need to pay attention and make some changes as we're able. Any ideas?

"You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience; you are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience."  Father Teilhard 

Jan Bos ~ Brilliant Carmine Red


  1. This is similar to the more modern day expression of giving someone the shirt off your back. I wonder how many people are so giving of themselves? To give of your time and your resources sounds so wonderfully rewarding, but when it comes down to it, how many of us actually would give something that we still need?

  2. Maybe we should try it, but then not run to the nearest "thingdom come" store of a million things to buy and replace what we've given away. I'm thinking of the fellow in the Sunday Gospel last week. And Jesus told him, 'You're missing one thing, go sell what you have and give to the'll have treasure in heaven." I asked myself and the folks here at Mass - have I ever sold something I owned and given the money to the poor? But Rumi's poem is only partly about that - the second half (about hyacinths) has to do with soul-care. Actually soul care and caring for the poor are intimately linked. I'd distrust the guy who sat around and smelled flowers all day and who said he (she) loved God. That's the basic teaching of the short Letter of St. James in the New Testament.

  3. Change is hard for me. Slowing down is a challenge. I feel real change could come if I could become more passionate about Jesus' mission. I need to pray for this, a lot. Thanks for this post.

  4. Thanks for this self-insightful response. It's interesting that you reference becoming "more passionate about Jesus' mission." As if becoming passionate about Jesus means to become passionate about DOING. I'd say first become passionate about Jesus just for his own sake - nothing to do with activity, involvements, programs, working - just being with Jesus in silence. For a few minutes each day. Some people can't do it - they are too invested in being busy. It's very American, but spiritually unhealthy. Maybe start with five minutes - sitting still with your bible (even closed) on your lap. We can come to anything new, if we desire it. Thanks for writing and for following the posts!

  5. Thank you for all of your insights. It is true that we sometimes start out with these grandiose ideas and then when we realize that we can't accomplish them, we give up. By starting smaller we are more likely to stick with our goals and succeed. Jesus will be happy with our attempts at loving Him more each day.

  6. Yes! I"m thinking of the gospel of the Seed Sower - most of the seed is wasted but some portion is fruitful beyond all expectation. Just "throw it out there" - God knows what to do with the "seed" - how God wants it to be fruitful. That calls for trust.