The Parable of the Garden Hose

(Roman Cybak is a retired military man who lives near Charlottesville, Virginia. A regular reader here, he served as host and coordinator for my visit to Charlottesville a few years ago, just about a year before that town was victim of some nasty street theatre and ugliness. Charlottesville is a beautiful town, home of the University of Virginia. I met a lot of wonderful people there. Cybak is also a regular lector at his Parish. He submitted this insightful little contemplation, evocative of St. Paul’s peroration about many gifts and one same spirit. It can be helpful to each of us as we make our way forward, giving thanks for the variety of gifts and personalities God has given each of us.-CJ)

By Roman Cybak

I’ve been a volunteer Lector/Reader at Masses for over four decades. I enjoy doing readings and take my role seriously. I try to do the best I can. I review the readings ahead of time, try to determine the emphasis of the reading, practice my enunciation and pacing in order to avoid being dramatic while also eschewing a monotone delivery, etc. In the early days, when I was just beginning the effort, I wondered about my “worthiness” in proclaiming the readings. Plus, as with any public speaking, there’s always that nervousness / fear / hesitancy factor about being before a crowd, e.g., what will people be thinking of me when I get up there? What if I flub up the reading? If I’m up there doing a scripture reading, will people expect me to be “holier than thou” in order to be worthy enough to do a reading? and so on.

Well, one day in the not too distant past, as I was doing a reading, I glanced at the congregation, and the impression occurred to me that I was a garden hose that stretched out to the end of the church, and the Word that I was proclaiming was flowing like water through this garden hose and out onto the congregation. I was not the water, I was only the vessel through which that water flowed. I was not the life giving/life sustaining nourishment; I was only the vehicle through which that nourishment flowed. It was up to the Holy Spirit to do what He could do with the congregation. I was only the humble vessel.

Pliable, humble, common.

Taking that metaphor a little farther, what about someone who is said to be like a copper pipe: rigid, inflexible, authoritarian? “Ah,” the Holy Spirit might say. “Watch what happens when the pressure or heat is applied. They won’t buckle, they won’t warp, they won’t burst open. They may look a bit tarnished on the outside, but when I really need them to step up, I see this vessel saying, ‘Ha! Heat, pressure, bring it on and then watch me; yeah, just watch me!’ ”

Oh, but another may say, “Gee, you know, I don’t seem to fit in any of those categories. I don’t deal well with conflict or public exposure or other things. When faced with anything, I’m afraid I would most probably tinkle where I stand.” “Ah!” the Holy Spirit might say – “a ‘soaker hose’.” When I need life sustaining nourishment to reach a flower bed, or a garden bed, without any wastage, I could use a soaker hose. A regular garden hose could do the job, but then there’s that attachment thing that has to be added on, and if the wind is blowing or the sun is particularly hot that day, half the water is lost before it can soak in anyhow. I need the slow, gentle trickle of water that will percolate thoroughly over time into the soil, not damaging anything, not being lost to wind or heat, something that I can set it and let it carry the water on my behalf – a perfect situation for a soaker hose.” Kind of reminds me of a lot of moms or wives – not necessarily being in the spotlight, but life would wither without their nurturing existence.

As an aside, I remember reading about a manager at a garden supply shop who had a customer come in complaining that they were sold a “defective” hose. In a curmudgeonly fashion, she said that in using it, the hose was full of pinholes and just leaked all over the place. Rather than arguing with the customer or trying to explain the difference, he simply walked over to the hose section and exchanged her “defective” soaker hose for a regular garden hose. Isn’t that sometimes like life: we might think we’re “defective” when we really are not – we are just doing what we are supposed to do. We may be in a mismatched position / function / venue, but we are not inherently defective.

Regarding the metaphor of a garden hose, I was doing some cleanup in the garage, and I came across an old garden hose. I had been in the military (retired now) and we moved a lot. And so with each move you cart up your belongings and bring them with you, even if you might not use them in the next location. Well, this one garden hose was there – the exterior was faded (too many years in the sun), the skin was also crinkled (like spider veins), it wasn’t as flexible as it used to be, and it was even starting to break open in spots exposing “the innards.” However, it could still carry water. Boy oh boy, when I look in the mirror nowadays, that metaphor image hits too close to home. Fortunately, I’m at the point in life where I’m finally settled (no more moving), and I can also afford a new hose. So I traded in this model for a newer one – some people might do that with spouses; I only do that with garden hoses.

 

301 thoughts on “The Parable of the Garden Hose

  1. Maria Esperanza said in in December 2003: “the manifestation — which sounds different than the actual Second Coming, and would precede what she called an “awakening” — would occur from “from ten to twenty years”

    Can you please expound on this Beckie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First I need to say that Maria Esperanza’s quotable comments are meant to be received in the larger context of Maria ever bowing to priestly authority, discernment and teaching commentary in order to exhort the laity to better understand both the messages she was given as well as her own insights rising from the rich mystical life she lived. Whenever we were together, she acknowledged that priests are key to understanding messages from Heaven in light of the teachings of our faith. Any cleric (priest, bishop, cardinal) deeply steeped in knowledge and study of mystical messages – and not all clergy have this background as it is not required for ordination – will affirm several principles of prophecy which, actually, Charlie has addressed, again and again at TNRS.

      Mystical messages are never so cut and dried in interpretation as they may seem to be. Sure there are literal interpretations, yet from the very same words there also can exist metaphorical and other meanings which we can readily miss. We’re mere mortals; God ALONE knows what will exactly happen. Oh how Maria reiterated this truth! The piece Through a Glass Darkly comes to mind. Every single prophet, no matter how much s/he is given, is shown a mere shadow, a whisper of God’s Plan. Maria knew this and acknowledged it repeatedly.

      Another principle of prophecy which Maria stressed: the need for God’s people to respond with repentance, changed lives, and intercession for souls, for these things bring mitigation. This may seem redundant but I don’t think so now that the Storm is intensifying. As are many, I, too, am recalling points and details from various messages given from Heavenly visitors as we batten down the hatches in these rougher water days.

      With all this in mind, I’ll provide (with my own comments in italics) some material from Michael Brown’s revised edition of his book about Maria Esperanza and Betania entitled: The Bridge to Heaven, published in 2003. (The quote in your comment, Joe, was not first spoken in 2003 but it was published in the 2003 edition of the book.) In addition to the book quotes, I’ll add some notes I took from my times of visiting with Maria, in a group and one on one.

      Our Lady had revealed to Maria that mankind was “moving toward perdition. If there is no change or improvement of life, you will succumb under fire: war and death. We want to halt the evil that suffocates you. We want to overcome the spirit of rebellion and the darkness of oppression by the enemy. This is why, again, in this century, My Divine son arises…

      Maria told Michael Brown in 1993 that an event would appear in the not-too-distant future. She said it would mark the end of the great darkness that has bedimmed our spiritual intelligence and obscured our century. (In my pondering, I believe this was the lifting of the evil one’s undue influence on us as was shown to Pope Leo XIII which prompted him to compose the St. Michael the Archangel Prayer. Charlie described that great day: “On September 23, 2017, a great sign appeared in the sky, almost unnoticed by a world pre-occupied with other things. It was the woman cloaked with the sun, the Revelation 12 sign. It was the beginning of the process of rescue.” Could I be wrong? Absolutely. Gosh! If the apostles got it wrong concerning the Coming of God’s Kingdom with Jesus Christ Himself teaching them, no doubt I’ve missed a LOT. But we humans do love to contemplate these things, don’t we? No worries as long as we don’t make an idol of our interpretations and/or fail to do what Jesus wants us to do or crumble in overwhelming fear and panic because things are not turning out the way they’re “supposed to be.” )

      Too, Maria has been granted visions concerning a future manifestation of Christ – a manifestation in which Christ will show Himself in a powerful way. She said, “Jesus will have a great surprise. We will see Him in glory with rays of light. The last messages are beautiful – it’s incredible the way He will come in glory.”

      Maria said she felt the United States has to save the world. She suggested the the whole world must unite with the US to save the world because war is waiting. “It’s waiting already to come upon us, especially in Venezuela. They want Venezuela to be like the hook or the lure for all of this to begin.” (And, yes Joe, Maria said in 1953 she was told things would happen, such as the quote you have used in your additional comment about Russia acting in a surprise way. But notice the qualifier, “may.” Because of that word, “may” I pray that the alliance between the United States and Russia will be forged soon. I can only imagine how the evil one will work overtime to prevent it.) When Michael pressed Maria with more questions about what would ensue if there was a war, Maria resisted in explaining more. She said it would be imprudent to do so because she believes in miracles. (Here, I think Maria is silent for she knows the power of intercession which brings mitigation. Ah well. We can conjecture till the cows come home and the biggest surprises may well be what God actually decides to do given how we choose and act. May we stay awake and be ready for whatever the Lord asks of each of us.)

      Closing now with Maria’s reply to Michael’s question of how to prepare:
      “We do have to be very pure and very honest in everything we do, and trust the right souls, the right persons. We must rise to defend the Church through prayer and penance. We have to respect the Church. We have to follow the rules. The world is waiting for a guide, for orientation. The Virgin says to us you have a mission and the mission is going to be fulfilled with the demonstration of humility. It will be completed with obedience, with fraternity, and especially with gentleness and kindness, candor and hope in this Mother who comes to gather you in.

      All of you have to save yourselves. All of you. There is no doubt about this, that you will save yourselves because Jesus will be felt very clearly in our hearts and you will see Him just as on that great day of His Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven….

      It will be in a way never before imagined by man, because the Light of His New Rising will be evident to everyone. And, of course, man is still not ready for this, to accept these profound things, which actually are so simple and so clear, just as the water which comes down from the spring.”

      Liked by 4 people

  2. And this too please Beckie
    “Russia may act in a surprise way, when you least expect it…
    [God’s] justice will begin in Venezuela. – The Bridge to Heaven: Interviews with Maria Esperanza of Betania”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi JH20 (what does the 20 stand for?)
      Thank you for posting this link to Dr Peters piece on canon 915. His reductionist skills are excellent and have cleared my mind on many applications of this rule.
      Cheers
      Joe

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Joe, the 20 stands for the number of grandchildren but I will have to change it to 21 in August. Thank you for asking. 🙂 (still praying for your mother. my mother was in hospice for 6 months and then they removed her because she got better. God has His own plans.)

        Liked by 4 people

    2. Interesting, Joyful. Thanks for the links.

      There are two Bishops with no jurisdiction in New York, yet, who speak to the appropriateness of excommunication.

      And in the measured words of Msgr. Pope: “There comes a time when something is so egregious and boldly sinful that it must be met with strong ecclesial and canonical penalties and remedies,” Pope wrote Wednesday at the National Catholic Register.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I believe you are very familiar with the witness of Maria Esperanza Beckie as I am with Conchita’s. There seems to quite an overlap. I hope this hose waters the garden of ASOH and helps to keep us awake.

    The following is taken from the Australian magazine “Garabandal.”

    “…..Mrs. [Christine] Bocabeille then asked Mari Loli: “If you are not allowed to tell me the exact year [of the Warning], perhaps you could tell me approximately when it will happen.”

    Mari Loli: “Yes, it will be at that time when the world will most need it.”

    Christine: “When is that?”

    Mari Loli: “When Russia will UNEXPECTEDLY AND SUDDENLY (my capitals to highlight the surprise element expressed by Maria Esperanza) overrun and overwhelm a great part of the free world. God does not want this to happen so quickly. In any case the Warning will come when you will see that Holy Mass cannot be celebrated freely anymore; then it will be that the world will most need the intervention of God.”

    For our further reflection, keeping in mind that prophecy is a charism of the papacy, is this quote from Blessed Pius IX: “There will come a great sign that will fill the world with awe. But this will occur only after the triumph of a revolution during which the Church will undergo ordeals which are beyond description.”

    “The pope will go to Russia, to Moscow. As soon as he returns to the Vatican, hostilities will break out in different parts of Europe.” We don’t know when all this will happen, but Albrecht Weber’s book contains this statement attributed to Conchita: [The source for this information was also requested: Mr. Weber responded: “Conchita said this in a long conversation at her house on November 14, 1965.”]

    To Sum It Up

    A worldwide communist takeover led by Russia will appear to have succeeded and in the midst of this frightful aggression will be a harrowing persecution of the Church. Priests will have to go into hiding, the churches boarded up and it will become very difficult for the faithful to practice their religion. It will seem as though the Church had disappeared. The duration of this persecution is not known but it will take an act of God, the Warning, to stop it. To close on a positive note, we again quote from Fr. Brennan’s 1983 article:

    “As a result of all this there will be a turning to God that will match the apostasy from God that preceded it, with the result, as Our Lady said at Fatima, that “an era of peace will be granted to humanity.”

    This will be a peace such as the world has never known.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “Tom Fahy confirmed to me on Sept. 15, 2017 , that when he interviewed Albrecht Weber in 2006 for research for his book “Suddenly and Unexpectedly”, Albrecht told him that when the Pope returns from Moscow there would be a revolution at the VATICAN”, involving Northern Spain,Italy & France, from the advance of ” Communism “.

    (Source Glen Hudson)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Have you gotten your saint for the year :
    https://www.catholicherald.com/Opinions/Pick_a_patron_saint_for_the_New_Year/
    …” If you have a special intention and can’t wait for one of these providential incidents to drop a saint into your life, there’s also a way to “make” a saint pick you. On New Year’s Day, each person in my family uses the Saint’s Name Generator at saintsnamegenerator.com to get a special patron for the year. ” https://saintsnamegenerator.com/

    Liked by 3 people

  6. “Not until some formidable European power comes into the western Atlantic, breathing the fire of aggression and conquest, need the United States become alarmed about the ups and downs of European conflicts, intrigues, aggressions, and wars. And this peril is slight at worst.”

    In the light of the prophesies of the later prophesies of Ven Elena Aioli it may not be so slight
    “Russia with her secret armies will battle America, will overrun Europe.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I wrote this to the Bishop of Knoxville

    Dear Bishop Stika–

    Thank you so much for the recent responses you have had to the ongoing devastating occurances in our culture. First of all, the horrible debacle involving the Covington boys– thank you for not throwing them under the bus before knowing the facts, but instead– defending them. Secondly- thank you for saying that Cuomo should be excommunicated. That WOULD be an act of love toward him and a way to counteract the scandal that the faithful witness when the clergy sit idly by and say nothing in the face of incomprehensible acts of evil committed by so called Catholic leaders in the public forum. That certainly also applies to a host of other Catholic public leaders, ie., every Democrat Catholic– look at their abortion platform!

    I am writing to thank you and encourage you, but also to ask you to think about the tweet that you put out. You said you are thankful that you are not in “that” position. I assume you meant that you are not in a position to excommunicate Cuomo. Since it is a blessing…”medicine” to excommunicate someone, you should not be thankful that you don’t have the opportunity to do that. I would have rather you said that you wish you did have the opportunity to help him.

    I live in the diocese of Memphis. We have suffered here for years due to lack of strong leadership from our bishops. Now we have Archbishop Kurtz standing in until we are assigned a new bishop. When the story broke about the Covington boys, he immediately rushed to condemn them– to jump on the “PC correct” narrative. To my knowledge he has not rescinded that condemnation in light of the fact that the initial information was so tainted. This behavior is repulsive and heartbreaking to witness. Oh, how we pine for a strong, holy shepherd here on the far side of the state from you!.

    We need courageous, holy shepherds who will stand up with great strength, proclaim the truth, and protect the faithful and our Church. It appears that the bishops who have those attributes are a tiny minority. God bless you, Bishop Stika! You are in my daily prayers, as are all the clergy– that they will love our Church and stand as tall warriors for truth and love. 

    Respectfully,

    Kim Sevier 

    Germantown, TN

    Liked by 6 people

  8. It’s a little pond. Yes, often the water churns here, but that aeration is necessary to keep the water healthy… so it doesn’t degenerating into stagnate, gaseous, vermin-infested swamp. When the waters are sometimes roiled, keep in mind that it takes even more time after for the silt to settle to the bottom, for the clarity and purity of the water to return. I know that it’s sometimes intoxicating –– and wildly popular –– to kick up the mud, but I don’t think that’s a mature Catholic/Christian response, much less a useful one.

    Jesus knew full well who the wicked men of His day were and could have purged them with a mere glance. This same Jesus today. Immerse in the Gospel and prayer. Look up… up above all the worldly concerns –– the mud –– so you can better see and understand the path to Holiness and what it is God is asking of each of us.

    Joe, yes, the suffering for Christ’s sake is clarity. I’ve often thought that Catholics were vigilant keepers of the truth about suffering, but seems we’ve been waffling on this too… more and more. Praying for you friend.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. The Covington Incident not going away. That’s a good thing for no other reason than The Usual Suspects demonstrating their radicalism for all to see …. including Catholic Clergy. ;-(

    MILINET: Articles for Christians – 26 January
    ========================
    New York Times reporter slammed for seeking ‘opposition research’ on Christian schools
    https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/new-york-times-reporter-slammed-for-seeking-opposition-research-on-christian-schools

    Bishop Stowe Errs on Covington Catholic–RAMESH PONNURU
    https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/01/covington-catholic-kids-bishop-john-stowe-unjustly-condemns/

    JUST IN: Bishop Roger Foys Apologizes to Nick Sandmann, Covington Catholic Families – Letter Included
    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2019/01/just-in-diocese-of-covington-apologizes-to-nick-sandmann-covington-catholic-families/

    Pope seeks to inspire Panama’s priests, sisters at Youth Day
    https://www.apnews.com/d4282e50b1c645fc951cebda3472a92b

    &

    The Covington Fiasco Is a Perfect Example of Why the Founders Distrusted Democracy
    https://www.dailysignal.com/2019/01/22/the-covington-fiasco-is-a-perfect-example-of-why-the-founders-distrusted-democracy

    I Went to the Women’s March. Here Are 6 Things I Saw.
    https://www.dailysignal.com/2019/01/19/i-went-to-the-womens-march-here-are-6-things-i-saw/

    Catholic bishop doubles down on attacks — targets Covington students and ‘MAGA’ hats
    https://www.theblaze.com/news/catholic-bishop-attacks-covington-students-maga

    GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Beckita, Steve, or whoever, this morning about 9 I submitted what I thought was one of my best insights. It started out referencing the opening article on spiritdaily.com about Pope Francis and his commitment to patience and went on to say that that this may be his prime motivation in explaining and understanding some of his inexplainable actions. I cannot find it anywhere and can only conclude that it was rejected for some unknown to me reason. To my knowledge, I did not violate any restrictions such as bad language, etc. Please enlighten me. If it got lost, I could probably reproduce an even better version now that I have had more time to ponder the topic. Thank you, Sojourner

    Like

  11. Dear Beckita and Charlie.
    Looking at the comments above, it seems that we have gotten off the track of the original article (the parable of the garden hose). Having just returned home to Australia from a quick trip to CA, there are a number of observations that I could make as an outsider which concerned me – Covington kids being maligned, discussions with locals close to the border, Roger Stone’s arrest, etc. I will leave that at another time, because the politics is getting in the way from what we were originally called to do (TNRS, etc).

    For Roman,
    Thank you for sharing your experiences as a Lector and the powerful analogies you presented.
    I am a Lector in my parish- in fact I read at the Masses I attended before and after my trip to the US; both of which were unscheduled/unrostered.

    Like you, Roman, I take my responsibility to delivering God’s word very seriously. I see the parishioners and wonder if the Word will be delivered as God had originally intended (through history, or even as a “now” word). Just before I deliver the reading, I look to Jesus in the tabernacle, Mary at the altar, and ask them and the Holy Spirit to deliver the message through me as intended. I too recognize that I am merely the vessel. Often I read St Paul’s various readings and I ask him to bring all the passion and zealousness in which he wrote his various letters. He never lets me down. I hope that my hose is watering the souls in my parish as needed.

    I pray that all readers and others who serve in the Church recognize what sort of hose that they are and deliver the life-giving water to those around us.

    Thanks again Charlie and Beckita for your continuing work in encouraging us to continue in our lives doing the very little can (through our human frailty) to those we live and work with.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. LILIBETH I especially liked your comments. I too take lecturing very seriously and always say this prayer as I go up to the podium for myself and also say it for the other lectors as they go up toward the podium: “Oh Lord grant that I ( or he, she, as appropriate) may read with edification, inspiration, clarity and interpretation with good cadence, tempo and volume.” I also pray for Father as he finishes reading the gospel and begins his homily, a different prayer. I like to think that I am an inspiration to the other lectors and have even detected Father’s lifted spirit in his reading on occasion as well as other lectors. I state this as simple fact with no intent of self-aggrandizement. I try to serve and look for opportunities as they occur in my life as servant to the parish. I appreciate yours and others efforts as well. May God continue to bless us all as we each try to serve.

    Liked by 1 person

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