Good Soil

One of the great privileges of my work is that so many of you generously share your lives and your stories with me. I also hear from you when you are hurting, when you are joyful, when you have concerns for our Church and its people, and, thankfully, when you have wisdom to bestow light on troubling questions of our day.

One of the most common things I have heard in recent weeks is that many don’t know what to think, or say, or DO about some of the challenges that we face today as a Church, as a nation, or global society and in our own homes. Despite the fact that the opinions and desires of each of us varies vastly, we all have in common our designation as beloved daughters and sons of the Lord.

I know this is something you’ve likely heard, and although you know it’s true, you probably feel that it’s just no longer enough. We cry, “What can we do?” Simply saying that we are sending “thoughts and prayers” isn’t enough anymore. Why is that?

Well, I believe that it may be that, in many cases, we need to be more specific about what, exactly, we pray for and why it matters. Jesus gets right to the heart of this in the parable in this weekend’s Gospel. How are we to ensure that our hearts are composed of good and fertile soil, so that we may “bear fruit with patient endurance” (Lk 8:15)?

How do we find this support? Jesus makes it clear that the Word of God is where we will find the very keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. While it’s true that many wonderful things came out of Vatican II, one of the greatest gifts is a renewed thirst for the Word of God. The Council fathers themselves had this to say, “The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures, as she has venerated the Body of the Lord, insofar as she never ceases, particularly in the sacred liturgy, to partake of the bread of life and to offer it to the faithful from the one table of the Word of God and the Body of Christ. She has always regarded, and continues to regard the Scriptures, taken together with Sacred Tradition, as the supreme rule of her faith…” (Dei Verbum, in Documents of Vatican II, 1975, no. 21)

Peter, in his First Letter, encourages us to meditate on God’s Word.

You have been born anew, not of the perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding Word of God; for; “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord abides forever.” That word is the Good News, which was preached to you. Put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander. Like newborn babes, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation; for you have tasted the kindness of the Lord (1 Peter 1:22-2:3).

In “Called to Life”, Jacque Philippe explores the Divine Word of God as it “mysteriously communicates God’s very presence.” He compares those of us consecrated to the Lord as the “spouse of the Word”, and defines “meditation on Scripture” [as] the foundation of any authentic Christian prayer life. He goes on to quote Psalm 118, “The Lord is the lamp to my feet,” and suggests that “God’s Word introduces the most profound light of truth into our lives”.

As we meditate more fully on Scripture, we begin to understand that it, along with the Body and Blood of Christ, is the answer we are all seeking in a world and Church starving for Grace. In the parable of the seed, we are instructed to cultivate our soil. Meditate on the Word, call upon the Holy Spirit to breath in you, that we may be more fully open to all that Sacred Scripture has to offer.

What can we DO? We become stewards of the field of our lives in Christ. We plow the soil until it is soft enough to receive the nourishment it needs to thrive. We pray that God will plant seeds of holiness in our hearts, and that the seedlings of our faith will grow so straight, so green and so fruitful in the love of Christ, that lives of Christian faith become irresistible to those we encounter. There is no doubt that the Evil One is as hard at work today as ever, sowing the weeds of doubt and fear, distrust and suspicion, because he delights in dividing us from one another and separating us from Our Father. We must pray as if our lives depend upon it, because they do.

Paul encourages us in Ephesians that Scripture is a mighty weapon. This we can enlist against the weeds of sin, which threaten to choke out the harvest of hope. “In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph 6:16-17). No longer does “you have my thoughts and prayers” have to be enough. Now we can say, “May the Word of God fill your hearts and strengthen your conviction. May the Body of Christ strengthen you and the Holy Spirit move in your heart. May you feel the embrace of His Mother in your moments of despair, and the might of St. Michael and his angels at your back.”

I remind you that our doors are always open to you in these challenging days.

Lisa Amos
Director of Mission and Ministry

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