Sunday, July 10, 2011

God is the Gardener and You are His Garden - Ask Mary for an Immaculate Soil Transplant

In the Mass Readings for Today, Jesus tells us that we must cultivate our souls like a garden for the seed of the Word of God.

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There was an old German farmer who lived down the road from us. I used to go and listen to him tell stories. One time we were talking by his garden and he stopped in the middle of a sentence with a look of vengeance he walked far into the garden and picked up a very tiny weed that the average eye would have missed. He was constantly doting on his garden, working fresh manure into the soil. He had little tolerance for weeds and didn't allow even the tiniest to grow. For this reason, he had very few weeds growing and some of the richest and blackest soil I have ever seen.

Our souls ought to be like his garden. Yet some of us are thorny, our hearts hardened, or simply we bear little fruit. It is necessary for certain trials to burn away the thorns, to soften the rigid hardness and ingratitude of our hearts, and to mulch in the difficult, smelly, and messy gift of humiliations to make our souls fertile for God.

We must remember that God is the gardener and when we permit him to act in us through the sacraments and the life of prayer, our souls slowly become more pleasing to him and more fruitful. The Most Holy Eucharist is the imperishable and eternal seed of He who is himself the Word of God. Frequent and devout reception of holy communion is the greatest and best way to be transformed in spiritual fruitfulness. Also, the sacrament of Confession is a way of weeding the garden of our lives in a very thorough way. When we confess each sin in kind and number it is as if we grab the sin by the root and remove it from our soul. When I wanted to go hastily through the garden, I used to grabe the tops of the weeds, but this would just remove their appearance, while the roots would still be present deep in the soil. In confession it is not enough to make a general reference to a sin, without mentioning the kind and number. Why? Because the proximate matter, or stuff, that makes this sacrament is our confession and the thorough honesty of our self-accusation allows the grace of God to work deeper into the roots of sin. Another sacrament that helps weed the garden is holy matrimony. In obedience to Jesus hiding in your spouse and in the sacred bond contracted therein you crush selfish and willful vices, especially pride, while growing in real charity.

The most pleasing fruit a soul can have is Jesus Christ. Mary bore the fruit of Jesus and she continues to do so. It is important for us to ask Mary for a "soil transplant" from the Immaculate garden of her heart. She also makes the process of tilling, weeding, and mulching more pleasant, even enjoyable.

May the fervent celebration of the sacraments of the Church, consistent prayer, and the joyful acceptance of this life's trials help us through Mary's intercession to bear a thousand-fold fruitfulness in Christ.

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