What Takes Root in the Heart

What takes root in your heart?

What do you feed?

What grows like a weed and festers in your soul?

What do you give your attention to? And what nourishes you?

What arises magnificently within, and touches and even profoundly transforms others?

This morning, I took my mother to church. She is visiting me, and will be a great help during my surgery and subsequent convalescence later this week. It was a long mass at St. John Neumann, in Reston, VA, which included the baptism of three children, and the farewell homily of a resident priest.

The homily was based on one of my favorite scripture passages, the parable of the sower and his seeds (Matthew 13: 1-23). For those who are unfamiliar with this reading, the passage recounts a story of a sower whose seeds fell on a ground where they were eaten by birds, on a shallow surface, where the nascent shoots became scorched because they had no roots, among the thorns, where the sprouts were strangled, and upon good soil, where the seeds laid down deep roots and flourished.

This reading is a metaphor for what takes root in our hearts. It reminds me of the well known Cherokee story, that is often retold. A grandfather tells this story to his grandson:

"My son, the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all. One is Evil; it is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good; It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

The young grandson thought about this for a minute or two and then asked his grandfather. .... "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee replied simply... "The one you feed."

I was profoundly moved by the reading today, and the homily as well, which was one of the best I have heard in years. The homilist was passionate, eloquent, and radiated a deep sense of joy that permeated every word he spoke. He spoke of how we know when the seeds of God's word have taken root in our hearts and how it affects who we become, what we do, and how we impact the lives of others. He also noted, that we never truly know how deeply we might touch others we encounter. Finally, he thanked the community for the lessons they had taught him about what to feed and cultivate in his own heart.

The bulletin offered these words by Rev. Michael S. Murray, OSFS, and also referenced the words of St Francis de Sales as a commentary on the day's Gospel:

"Clearly, while we must take responsibility for our growth in devotion - that is, nourish the seeds of God's love in us and encourage the same in others - we must do it patiently and with a mind to do God's will for us, lest our efforts become an exercise in self-will, self-delusion or self-absorption. Francis de Sales offers this advice: 'Pursue your aims gently and quietly... By what you say and do you must gently sow seeds that will encourage others... In this way, especially if you pray about it, too, you will do more good than you would in any other way...'

The seeds of Gods love that fall on good ground - in us, in others - will in the long run, yield a fruitful harvest. In the short run, we must nurture them slowly, patiently and carefully..."

What have you sown in your own heart?

Have you listened to God's words and promptings, and messages?

Have you tried to live your life as fully and completely as you can?

It is never too late to tend the garden of your soul. Plant the things you want to bear fruit and pull out the weeds, so that only what is worthwhile will take root.

Do not waste a moment! Do it now!


So inspirational!Thank you Olga!
Olga Rasmussen said…
You are most welcome! Blessings to you!

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