Gardening has always been my thing. It was something my husband and I loved to do together; planning, tilling, planting, hoeing, weeding, harvesting, storing and eating! The kids wanted to be out there with us and loved finding the treasured food that was growing. Both of our mom’s had garden’s, but nothing compared to the one we had together.
The joy of feeling moist soil after tilling, so soft and rich, gave rise to satisfaction that it was healthy and would produce. But it wouldn’t take long and the weeds came in – often bigger than the plants – and when we needed to begin pulling them the beautiful soil was deadpan hard. What happened? It needed help and often was ignored until the fruit and/or weeds began to show up.
For some reason, I’ve often thought of this parable of the Sower as being about the seed and sower.
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 Let anyone with ears[a] listen!” Matthew 13:1-9
Why wasn’t he more careful about dropping it on a path, on rocky ground or among the thorns? The rich soil had to be close and his harvest would be so much greater. This time in reading/praying with it, I’ve come away with a wonderful new outlook. You are scattering the seed of your word Lord. Like when you throw grass seed, and it flies everywhere; this is what you are doing with your word. Continually as you teach you give us your word – words for generations to come. This word doesn’t change – but we do. Given sacramental grace in baptism – or desiring this grace and awaiting it – the soil of our hearts could be very fertile and ready to receive the seed of life in you and produce great fruit.
Is my heart – this soil – hard like a worn path, and your words Lord, words that are the seeds of love – just die off, having a difficult time to break through the barriers? Are the sinful things I do like criticize, judge or being prideful provide food for the birds instead of germinating virtue like faith, hope and charity in my heart?
Perhaps my heart is like rocky ground. It’s possible to grow things here – but what? You don’t see much growing in the rocks except weeds. I’ve seen my faith here before, shallow, selfish, picky as to what is convenient. This was the ground of little issues that deterred my attention from prayer and sacrifice to laziness and greed.
If my heart is found to be full of thorns, I will have a difficult time helping it to overcome and grow through the trials that are yet to happen. How will I nurture this soil so I grow closer to you Lord? How many things or people will I be drawn to instead of you? What if I could attract them to a rose garden of love, trust and faithfulness planted by you in the rich soil of my heart?
Yes, I am working every day to keep my heart healthy, like rich soil that produces 30, 60 and 100 fold. I want to give you 100 fold Lord. As much as is possible, that’s how I want you to grow in me. I want others to say they see this beacon of light, faith and hope that is you Lord, shining through me. But I am not able to do anything without you. Keep me humble to recognize everything come from you. Do not let me become proud or the weeds will set in. If I am impatient, the rocks will fall upon me; if I am critical the thorns will choke.
There is hope for an abundance of soybeans this fall in the fields. So far, the soil is rich and fertile, producing lush vegetation. Soon we should see the beans come forth because you have sent water, warmth and light. Send your grace into the soil of my heart Lord. Shine your light into my soul, flood me with life giving water and keep me warm by the fire of your holy spirit.