Gospel: Matthew 13:1-23
Arriving home after four days on retreat, my heart was absolutely on fire for all things God. My radio was tuned to a Christian station, I watched the daily Mass on television, and I made time to both read the bible and pray the rosary.
Ah, what a feeling. I thought this was a new me, and that I would never drift away from the things of God again.
I was wrong. Within a month, the pop radio station and Toddlers & Tiaras filled my ears and eyes, and I was using my free time for Facebook games and shopping. What was potentially rich soil was not cultivated, leaving it vulnerable to sun, birds, and drought.
The evil one does not want our hearts turned to heaven; he does not want us to experience the peace and blessing of being connected to God, and is particularly ruthless when someone exhibits habitual practices of faith. Sadly, he does not need to use very elaborate tactics – a busy schedule, worries and concerns, and our own ambitions, work rather nicely for his purposes.
So how do we combat these distractions and destroyers of faith tillers? Persistence and Perseverance - and of course, grace - all courtesy of the Holy Spirit. We seek frequent participation in the Sacraments, especially Reconciliation and the Eucharist (including Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament). We beg for the desire to pray, even when we are tired or have a million other things to do. Most importantly, we connect with the body of Christ in community.
For me, the retreat was fruitful while I was there among the others sharing and struggling to understand and maintain their faith. Once home, separated from this common bond and support, I crumbled and lost my way.
Shortly after I recognized my back-slide, I opened my home to a women’s bible study group. The weekly meetings provided me the support and structure to pick up spiritual reading more often and eventually helped me build that practice into a daily habit. It cultivated rich soil within my soul, into which God could pour all the graces I needed to remain close to him, and to continue to grow even closer each day. In addition, this beautiful group of women has blessed my life in ways I never imagined, so not only am I nourished spiritually but emotionally as well.
How is my spiritual garden? Is the soil parched and in need of watering and tending, or is it rich and ready for planting? Am I connecting with others, so that together we may help each other hear and understand the Word, and bear great spiritual fruit?
May the seed of our faith be always watered, tended and sowed through the Word of God, participation in the Sacraments, and through the Love of God lived and received through the love of others. Amen
Copyright 2014, Allison Gingras. *Gospel Reflection first appeared on Catholicmom.com (7/13/14)