Her Doctrine and Morals

Sexagesima Sunday

16 February 2020


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Dear Friend,

The parable in today's Gospel shows us a man sowing seed in his field. Some fell upon inhospitable ground and were not permitted to germinate or grow. Some did grow but was choked out by weeds. Some fell upon good ground and produced fruit. Jesus, Himself, explained this parable to us. The seed is the Word of God. The various types of ground represent the various souls that receive His graces.

We should, therefore, seek to make our souls good ground so that we may receive the graces of God and develop them to maturity and bear fruit. The preparation of the ground of our souls must begin immediately. This needs to happen before the sower goes out to sow His seed. It is impractical to clear and till the soil after the seed is sown because all will be destroyed or lost.

We need to prepare our souls to worthily receive the graces of God. The hard and packed highways that the world has used to march through our souls need to be broken up. To do this, we must first put a stop to the worldly traffic in our souls. The hard-heartedness or the rocks must then be gathered up and cast aside. The thorns and weeds of worldly riches and cares need to be pulled up. This leaves our souls feeling very vulnerable and naked. The freshly plowed earth has all of its protection taken away and now feels the wind, rain, and sun very intensely. The same is true in our souls. Rooting out the world and clearing all the obstacles leaves us humble as we see our own nothingness. It is precisely this emptiness of ourselves, this profound humility, that allows God's grace to enter, develop, and produce abundant fruit.

We look to the world for security and stability, we crave the social relationships with the world, but it is precisely these things that hinder the grace of God in our souls. When we invite the worldly society into our hearts, our souls become like a hard paved highway. We need to turn the world away if we are to be made worthy. We hold onto rocks in our hearts thinking these are treasures to be preserved. They give us a sense of security in this world. These, too, need to be thrown out. They are only in the way. They are weighing us down and keeping us from making any progress toward God. The devils are always flying around us seeking to pluck out every grace that comes anywhere near us, so we must be constantly chasing them away. Jesus tells us that the thorns represent the riches and cares of this world. Woe to the rich. We cannot buy our way into Heaven with worldly wealth. Worldly wealth cuts and pierces our soul, not killing us outright, but slowly starving our souls so that whatever is good is never permitted to fully develop and mature, much less produce fruit.

The preparation of a field for planting is hard work, so it is with our souls. There is a lot that must be sacrificed — the paving, stones, thorns, and weeds. Then the plow must dig deep into our souls and loosen up the soil so that air and water can penetrate deeply. The trees of sin that were cut down now must have their roots pulled out. These stumps prove very difficult to eradicate, but they must go too. The transformation of a field for planting is radical. The before and after pictures of a plowed field are amazingly drastic. This drastic transformation must take place in our hearts and souls if we are to receive God's grace and bear fruit worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven.

We must be reduced in all humility to expose our weakness and emptiness. When we empty our souls of the world, and ourselves, and constantly chase away the devils, then we are ready to be filled with God. He comes to us in His graces like tiny (apparently insignificant) seeds. If we receive Him well, the Life of God in our hearts and souls will soon germinate, grow, and bear much fruit.

At the end of the season, the farmer's work is seen and appreciated in a field filled with grain bending under the weight of the abundant fruit it has produced. It is a beautiful thing to behold. Likewise, at the end of a virtuous life, we see a soul that has produced many graces — having multiplied what he had been given. He has produced an abundance to feed the souls of others, giving them seeds of grace for the fields of their own souls. The saint has allowed Jesus to live in him and to sow the seeds of His grace everywhere.

The worst unplowed fields are often transformed into the best fields through hard work and determination. From the greatest of sinners can come forth the greatest of saints. We must not fear or give up. We should put our hands to the plow and not look back. Let us rid our souls of sin and open and bear our hearts to God. He will repair and fill everything. If our sins are as black as coal He will make them as white as snow.

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