I have been praying for several people recently, that they will correctly discern their religious vocations; and my petunias seemed to provoke some thoughts about that subject as well.
Petunias seem to be about the easiest thing to grow around here. These are all "volunteers" from last year. I didn't buy a single new plant, and I did nothing in terms of gathering seeds or planting. I did remove the old, dead plants, and then I just let things happen. When they started to grow, and I could identify them, I transplanted some from the crowded planter so the less crowded planters. I gave them some "Miracle-Gro" and plenty of water. There's a bunch more you can't see, around the corner.
Then there's the outlier: one petunia plant that got absolutely nothing, and is a bit removed from the others. It too is a "volunteer", growing in an unlikely place. This is the seamy underside of our yard - where the dogs play and the lawnmower is parked.
That's just one plant. It was never intentionally watered, never received a single dose of "Miracle-Gro", and had no protection from the dogs. Yet it flourished.
What does all this have to do with vocations? Well, it's kind of twisted logic, I guess. But I thought about it in terms of things like diocesan vocations programs (some seem to have Miracle-Gro, others don't!), and having the right environment in which vocations can flourish (like a devout family, or having family members who have discerned religious vocations), and just in general having people around who encourage those who are doing the discerning.
But sometimes, a vocation just pops up out of nowhere. Maybe the person didn't have any background or training that would have brought them to a religious vocation. But God finds a way. As in the case of my outlier petunia, a seed is planted in an unlikely manner and in an unlikely place, but in bears fruit nonetheless.
Maybe none of the above makes much sense, but if nothing else, I guess I see it as a message of hope to myself. A petunia has sprung to life in a place that is barren and dry, with no help from human hands, and it is thriving. If God can do that with a petunia seed, He can certainly take another environment that seems completely unsuitable (as
some many parishes seem to be), and allow a vocation to take root, and even grow and flourish.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.