“There is only one thing that grieves me, and that is that I love Him so little.” (Saint Conrad of Parzhan).
The largest bird egg in the world, was an ostrich egg that weighed over 2.5 kilograms!
Eggs are very interesting things because eggs – like that ostrich egg or even a simple chicken egg – though not a single cell, contain a single cell when they are unfertilised.
In fact, the egg that we eat though not an “egg cell” or “ovum” is an “ovum” with a nutrient sack (the egg yolk), which is suspended in a nutrient protein broth (the egg white). And so really, eggs are very self-sufficient little things!
And I find eggs interesting because there is so much potential to be found inside a single egg.
At certain times and for certain people eggs can have special symbolic significance...
For Catholics (and Christians) at Easter time eggs represent the resurrection and rebirth and new life given to us by Christ… “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in Me will never die. Do you believe this?’” (John 11:25-26).
During Chinese New Year, Chinese Tea Leaf Eggs or Cha Ye Dan is an egg dish that is considered auspicious because the eggs symbolise golden nuggets for wealth and the roundness of the egg represents the togetherness of the family.
In our home too, eggs have a special sort of significance. In our home, eggs remind us that our chickens are a worthwhile investment despite all the hassle that they cause!
When we first brought our chickens home some months ago, they were not quite ready to lay eggs. And so – though they quickly become dearly loved members of our family – they were not contributing to the household and in fact, were a drain on the household resources, because chickens eat non-stop and those fat, lazy non-egg laying biddies were costing a fortune to keep alive!
My husband and I enjoy a good joke and during those months of waiting for the chickens to lay, we used to tell our children that since the chickens would not lay us any eggs and were costing us so much money in food, we were going to start eating them one after the other to recover our costs. Now – before you shudder in horror – I am almost 50 percent sure that our children knew we were joking, and in any case, within a few months those chickens started laying eggs and so the problem was solved…
Thank God, for some time now we have not had to buy eggs from the store and have been able to give freshly laid eggs away to family and friends because we have a regular supply…
You see, for my children too, the eggs bring great hope! Every morning before school they run out to hunt for eggs and every afternoon after school, they run back out to collect some more, and every time they find an egg, they proudly display it for proud examination…
Now I myself have never collected an egg. I tried it once. But seriously – have you ever looked a chicken straight into her beady little eye while she is sitting on her egg while trying to delicately slide your hand underneath her and take away her treasure. I know some people may laugh – but it is not a job for the fainthearted…
And so, I have been reflecting on these eggs over the last few days. For I see in those eggs the culmination of the action of Grace in our lives.
You see, Grace – just like the Will of God – takes time. Saint Monica prayed for her wayward son Saint Augustine for thirty-one years prior to his conversion… That is thirty-one birthdays, Christmases and Easters without hope. That is thirty-one years of longing and desperation. That is thirty-one years of heartbreak and fear. And yet – just as we waited for those chickens to start laying their eggs – so too must we wait for the Will of God.
And even then – when God grants us what we have asked or what we require – sometimes it is frightening to reach out hands out and receive it. Sometimes the very act of receiving Grace is – in a sinful state – as frightening as being denied God’s Grace altogether… In this way, it is much like my inability to stretch my hand out under that chicken and take her egg – which is rightfully mine… I am held back from the goodness owed to me by my own irrational fears.
For the Grace we receive takes root in our souls if only we are ready to receive it. And then, when we are finally consumed by Grace and the total abandoned love of God… Then and only then, can we finally admit what Saint Conrad of Parzhan said, “There is only one thing that grieves me, and that is that I love Him so little.”
For there is such grief in realising that how could one such as I ever love one such as He in the way that He deserves?
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.