Recent readings from a morning Mass are good reading and for me show interesting aspects of Spiritual growth. Spirituality can mean different things to different people. For myself, this is my relationship with our Triune God.
The three readings are helpful for me show interesting aspects of Spiritual growth. Spirituality can mean different things to different people. For myself, this is my relationship with God, Jesus & the Holy Spirit.
The first reading this morning was from the book of Jeremiah which I am not going to quote in the entirety, realizing this was written at a time when the nations were at war. Here we have another reminder in the Bible that God created each and every one of us and he did so with a purpose in mind Jeremiah is told his purpose is to be a prophet to the nations, to tear down – and build up. This I am going to look at in the spiritual sense.
As we go through life in order to grow spiritually strong, we will go through many challenges. If we look at events as challenges – not obstacles in our growth, they become more of an ally – a friend, than a fear or foe. Yes, it’s putting the positive spin on situations, finding whatever good we can in them in order to push through and out the other side to be able to grow in our spiritual strength. When we are spiritually strong, we are better able to serve God and others. Far easier to type or read than it is to go through, it is hard work at times. As we grow through life experiences there is a tearing away of who we were and a then the building or planting of the new, wiser, stronger self – who is able to offer more to others, which is pleasing to God.
The next reading at Mass are excerpts from Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15 and 17
Here praise is given to our Lord for all that He is and has done for us, from the moment of conception.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
incline your ear to me, and save me.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.
For you are my hope, O Lord;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength.
My mouth shall declare your justice,
day by day your salvation.
O God, you have taught me from my youth, and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
I will sing of your salvation.
A very important aspect of a prayerful life is to remember to honor and share our gratitude with God for all He is and all He has given. This too is a way of growing spiritually, as we sit before our Lord – to put Him first, before our cares and worries (which He already knows about). Just like seeing a friend “Hello, how are you? So good to spend time with you, thank you dear God, thank you for . . .” God before self. ♥
Lastly, the third reading, the Gospel of St. Mathew 13:1-9
In this story Jesus explains very clearly how we may begin our faith journey with the intention of following Him to God. Some start off on a path, trampled into hard ground by those walking to and for. The ground has not been worked or fertilized, the seeds fall and roll – a bird comes by and finds some dinner. The seed never taking hold.
Next, we have some seeds that fall on rocky soil. They take root but there are not many plants hardy enough to survive in the shallow soil, where rocks block the ability for roots to take a deep hold. With strong sunlight, the leaves burn and the plants die – having no roots deep in the soil to provide moisture for sustenance and growth.
Walking off the beaten path, we lose some seeds from our pocket – they fall among weeds and having so many so close together they choke out the little seedlings trying to grow, offering little crop.
Lastly, we plant our seeds in loose, fertile soil – full of nutrients, few stones or pebbles to block the way of the roots ability to grow deep allowing the plants themselves to flourish and produce a large number of strong plants.
In our humanness, there will be those that start off in their faith journey like our first seeds, snatched away by the birds. We have people that struggle to grow among the rocks in their surroundings, not able or ready to move on to more fertile land, some survive their journey but are not able to grow strong roots.
Those folks who are surrounded by the weeds, or perhaps more easily explained as others who do not believe, will may be smothered by the sinfulness around them and here we will find few able to flourish and grow to a great depth.
The final planting is in fertile ground, people who are nurtured and cared for who will be able to grow and continue to grow their roots of faith and spirituality deep in the love of God.
I heard an interesting scenario, which can serve as a good reminder. If care isn’t taken the good soil may wash away to less fertile ground, or a rocky path. I found this interesting for a couple of reasons. First – it is a great reminder to stay focused on God in our faith journey. The example given interested me because it mentioned change in person’s demeanor that could lead: sic: to less fertile ground. This is true, however one must also carefully consider the full context of a given scenario. What is really a danger to the soil or – a new fertilizer that will enable the plants to grow and flourish, care must be given in that consideration. Also, those birds may have dropped some of those seeds from that first part of our story, on fertile ground where in time they took root and grew to be strong and solid. This too happens with humans.
Serious care must be given to all of God’s children – embrace the final words of Jesus in this story “Whoever has ears ought to hear”. Just as we must take care to remain in fertile ground, stay close to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit – any one of us, may begin our lives in a thorny patch of weeds – and find ourselves transplanted with life changes to strong and fertile soil with our roots growing to a great depth with God, Jesus & the Holy Spirit.