Our Novice Mistress has the novices, and any discerning guests, learning about the spiritual benefits of gardening as well as culinary should the harvest be abundant enough. But on a strictly spiritual level sunflowers are good models for us. Jeremias Drexelius wrote The Heliotropium, or Conformity of the Human Will to the Divine around 1630. The sunflower that follows the sun through the day may be seen as an analogy to aligning our wills (the flower) with the will of God (the Sun).
Our happy group planted what were called dwarf sunflowers, expecting them not to get very large or tall. Someone forgot to tell the flowers. As our photos show, they indeed stretched upwards, taller and larger than expected. The finches and bees were delighted!
If you carefully tend to sunflowers you may notice that early on they do indeed follow the Sun. But once they get heavy and more mature the movement seems to stop and they generally face east until harvest. Is this another spiritual lesson? We are meant to follow God’s will throughout life, not just once in “choosing” a vocation. Our goal is to remain flexible, indeed, fluid to allow God to use us according to his purposes. How can a mature, stiff, top-heavy, sunflower sagging back to the earth provide a lesson for a soul? Observe it carefully. It’s still facing east, the direction of the rising Sun. As our bodies age, sag, and sink we too get a little hunched over and move less. But keep facing east – the direction of the Resurrection!
Are we like sunflowers following the Sun? Do we seek God’s will throughout our lives like they track the Sun?