A little bit of heaven

Convent of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Toulouse, France
8 May 2010

The cards for the General Promotion of the Rosary have been distributed by tens of thousands. On the front they show a photograph taken by Brother Louis-Marie Ariño-Durand, OP, and can be used as a simple and evocative sermon. Be they large or small, they are all the same overleaf: you will find the site’s slogan in the three official languages of the Dominican Order, “Pray, preach, live… the Rosary!”

This photograph was taken in the cloister of the Toulouse Convent of Saint Thomas Aquinas. The particular architecture of this Dominican convent, built in the late 1950s, demonstrates the triumph of concrete and glass.

The cloister, too, has a well defined style. Stone receptacles stand at the four corners to catch rain water. Objectively, the cloister is unattractive; it is nevertheless a nice space to stroll in. I like to say the rosary there while walking.

One day while praying and looking at the ground I passed by one of these receptacles full of water. And I realised that by looking at my feet…I see heaven!

We’re always looking for heaven elsewhere, far away. And in fact we just have to look at our feet, right by us. So heaven is where we don’t expect it.

How many times have we thought that our religious community or our family are imperfect and that things are better elsewhere? We sometimes say the grass is always greener the other side of the valley. Nothing could be further from the truth.
That brother, sister, neighbour, family member… I already know what they are going to say to me before they open their mouths. In fact I don’t even listen. I won’t even allow myself to be surprised.
And what if that brother, sister, neighbour, family member turns out to be a little bit of heaven right next to me… and I never saw it!

Saying the Rosary, simple and repetitive, allows us to live the events in Christ’s life with Mary. Through the meditation of the mysteries we stand alongside the Mother and the Son. We spend time with them… and we always end up resembling, if only a little, those we spend time with.
Saying the Rosary teaches us to see what is unseen, to perceive those pieces of heaven which surround us and make life so beautiful, even in ordinary daily life.
And saying the Rosary teaches us to become a little bit of heaven for those around us.

What do you see in this reflection?
I saw in it the sky and its clouds.
Others have seen a source which never runs dry
And others again the map of Africa or even angels!

It is a little bit of heaven… whose glory we will fully savour one day!

Fr. Louis-Marie ARIÑO-DURAND, o.p.

General Promoter of the Rosary