The good old parable of the sower. God is, of course, the sower. And today my pastor emphasized that there’s nothing wrong with the seed. God sows the same seed – His Word, His Truth, the Good News of Salvation in His Son Jesus. The same seed is sown in every heart.
There’s nothing wrong with the seed. The problem is with the ground. The problem is me. I’m the four types of soil. Not just one or two of them. All of them.
Sometimes I’m the good soil. Other times I’m the bad soil. Sometimes I open my heart to receive God’s word fully, embrace it and live it. Other times I’m too shallow to let the Word take root and grow in my life.
Often, I’m the thorny ground. God’s word gets choked out of my life by other concerns. I’m too busy thinking about chores and playdates to bother paying attention at Mass. I’m too busy exercising and doing my hair to say morning prayers. I’m distracted by Facebook and I skip the Rosary. God is still there in my life, but I don’t let Him have first place. I don’t let Him take priority. I crowd the garden with weeds.
I’m also the footpath. The hard packed ground that can’t grow much. I don’t have the depth or the richness of soil to flourish. These are the times when I hear God’s Word but don’t understand. Like today’s second reading. I have no clue what St. Paul was talking about. I don’t have the background or the education to decipher the message. If I want to understand, I need to go deeper. I need to grow richer in wisdom and knowledge of the things of God.
And I’m the rocky soil too. Who doesn’t clear their field of rocks before trying to grow something? Me, that’s who. Because I’m lazy. Undisciplined. Digging rocks and hauling them away is hard work. I’d rather leave them there. I’d rather not do the hard work it takes to remove sin from my life. My soul is so rocky.
Sometimes, by the grace of God, I’m the fertile soil. I’m on fire with zeal. I put my priorities in line. I pray and receive God’s inspiration and act on it. God works in my life in a big way. And there’s peace and joy and right order. The seed grows and blossoms and produces fruit.
I want to be the good soil all the time. So I need to make some changes to the ground that is my soul. I need to get rid of the things holding me back from producing fruit.
I can start by uprooting the weeds and the thorns. I can get rid of distractions and make more room for God. Pinterest can go. Twitter can go. Facebook can be cut way down. I can spend more time doing spiritual reading and less time on frivolous novels. More time in nature and less time in front of screens. More time in chapel and less entertaining myself. By weeding out the things of the world, I’ll make more room for the things of God to grow.
I can till up the footpath. I can dig for Catholic speakers and writers to help grow my spiritual knowledge base. I can shake up the packed down dirt and replace it with fresh new dirt. Open my heart and make room for God’s inspiration. I’ll start with Today’s second reading. If anyone has enlightening posts to share, please do! Otherwise, I’ll be hitting the Google search bar tonight.
And finally, I can muscle down and haul the rocks away. I can roll up my sleeves and do the heavy lifting of removing sin from my life. I’ve been doing this in a big way with the Virtue Challenge Team, and I plan to keep hauling. I might need a wheelbarrow. Or a tractor. Or a backhoe. I might need to ask for help from a trusted friend, or spiritual advisor. I’d be honored if you’d join me! And we can clear our fields together. It’s not easy work, but the fruit it will yield is so worth it.
The path to holiness is not a one-time thing. It’s a lifelong journey. No matter how well I weed the field, something unwelcome is bound to grow back up. I may till the ground and bring in new dirt. But as I keep walking along, the path will get trodden down again. I live in Connecticut, so from experience I know that no matter how many rocks I take away, there’ll be more rocks appearing in no time.
I know I’ll be continually working on the state of my soul. I’ll have some areas of fertile ground and other areas that need work. My prayer today is that God keeps my hand to the plow. That I can remain faithful to the upkeep of the garden of my soul. That I can make sure my soil is as ready as possible to receive God’s Word, let it take root, grow tall and strong.
That my life will produce great fruit.
And that yours will too.
Before we say goodbye: linking up with Rosie for My Sunday Best!