All summer long we’ve watched our basil grow in anticipation of harvesting it for today. My youngest child is particularly fond of nature and especially of plants. As he helped me cover the basil seeds with dirt in our garden, we talked about where Saint Helen found this fragrant flower growing on a hill. He then yearned for the seedlings to peak out of the ground and see and smell the herb for himself. Many other gardeners cut fistfuls of basil as well from their yards and brought it to Liturgy this morning as we commemorated the feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross.
Why do we bring an herb to church when we’re commemorating the feast of the Holy Cross? Basil means “the flower of royalty” and under it the true cross of Christ was found by Saint Helen. The basil fills our senses and reminds us of the story of Christ’s crucifixion and Saint Helen seeking the cross.
It has become a tradition in our family to make a pot of pesto pasta after the feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross. We enjoy using the basil we’ve grown in our garden in a meal that highlights this fragrant plant.