Rich Soil, Solid Foundation

I admire the true gardeners, those who can make the beautiful and the useful grow. I am in awe of these people. If you are one of them, I thank God for you. I have the well-deserved reputation among my family and friends, including here in the office, of being a plant-killer. Sad but unfortunately true.

I was determined that this summer would be different. I hit the local greenhouse and bought up the basics for a small container garden; some herbs, a few flowers to fill the boxes, a tomato and a jalapeño plant. Sure, I bought starter plants – not seeds – but one must be realistic. While there, the very helpful gentleman answered my countless questions regarding the best size for the pots, the best soil, whether I should fertilize, how often to water and so on. In other words, I wanted to know how to give those young plants the best chance to thrive.

Our life in Christ is no less important and no less dependent upon our desire to nurture it. God, in His infinite love for us and as the One who knows what we need even before we need it, has already prepared the soil of our souls, desiring that “the seed [would fall] on good ground [and] yield a fruitful harvest” (Luke 8:8). As we hear today in Psalm 65, “Thus you have prepared the land: drenching its furrows, breaking up its clods, softening it with showers, blessing its yield.”

We are like those starter plants in many ways. Our lives, and especially our relationships, thrive and bear fruit when sown into good and healthy ground. As we’ve been hearing for the last few weeks in Scripture and at Mass, God wants to be first in our hearts. It goes even beyond that, however. We all want the most solid foundation possible for our families and our relationships. That is what we create when we make our love for God and God’s love for us the base of all that we do.

When God is our reason for everything, our reasons are sound. When we consider what God wants for us (because we know God always wants the best for us) before we make any decisions, we will do the right thing, whether these decisions involve our career, marriage, children or any other area of our lives. God provides a solid foundation, but only if we allow it. It’s simply not enough to spend our days doing what we want and then asking for help when things don’t turn out the way we had hoped.

God gave us an example of what the life of someone looks like when built on this foundation. Jesus Christ is both the sower of these seeds and the living fruit of those seeds, as they are meant to be. It follows then, that the closer we grow to Christ, the richer our soil will be and the deeper our roots will stretch. No matter how shaky and loose our own foundation is at this moment in our lives, Christ is forever and always there to show us how to shore it up.

As a parish, we are united in deepening our relationship with Christ. We are exploring what it means to be disciples of Christ. We are becoming intentional about reordering our own lives and that of our community, so that Christ is at the center. From the music we sing at Mass, to the books we choose to read, to the upcoming opening of our Perpetual Adoration Chapel, we are committing ourselves in new ways, and recommitting to more traditional ways, of nurturing our spiritual soil, so that we, too, may be ready for the seeds of God’s great love for us.

Beautifully, when we focus on God as the foundation for all that we are and do, we make even more fertile our own hearts for the greatest gifts we have been given – the Sacraments. This weekend at all Masses, the priest prays these words at the Prayer After Communion, “Having consumed these gifts, we pray, O Lord, that, by the participation in this mystery, its saving effects upon us may grow.” We prepare the soil, the foundation of our lives, and through Jesus Christ, God’s seeds are sown. The richer we’ve made the garden of our soul, the greater the yield in our lives, in our relationships and in the world. “Some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

May you seek and find in your life in Christ that which nourishes your soil and makes strong your foundation, so that God’s seeds of love and life, once planted, thrive and grow – and be much more fruitful than my tomato plant.

Lisa Amos

Pastoral Associate

 

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