Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mt 13:31-35 Seeds and Costa Rica

Monday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)


Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed
that a person took and sowed in a field.
It is the smallest of all the seeds,
yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.
It becomes a large bush,
and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.”

As perhaps some readers may have noticed, I have not written a post for Father’s blog in three weeks. This is because I just returned back from a two-week study abroad in Costa Rica. My time in Costa Rica was more incredible than anything I could have ever imagined. Sure, I knew that I was going to get better at Spanish, and that I would probably get a nice tan, and that I would see a beautiful part of the world. But I think my greatest takeaway from my time in Costa Rica is this; Costa Rica doesn’t mess around. Costa Rica really teaches you how weak you are.
One afternoon, we went out to a mountain in a region of Monserrat de Coronado called “Las Nubes,” or “the clouds” in English. As one could assume, the region got its name for its average altitude, which puts it smack-dab in the middle of some of the lower stratus clouds. We were planning to go on a fifteen-kilometer hike up and down the mountain on an intermediate trail, covering a total altitude change of about 200 meters. Some students at my school had done the same hike the week prior, and they had vehemently warned me not to participate. “Don’t do it,” they told me, “every single one of us was on the ground after that thing.” But of course, I didn’t listen. I was about ten years younger than most of them. I was in Costa Rica, the land of adventure!!! Plus, I run cross country, and I had been training for months at that point for the fitness test for the military academies. How bad could it have been?
I quickly answered that question—VERY BAD. The second the incline broke twenty degrees or so, I found myself out of breath. At that altitude, there was not nearly as much oxygen in the air as I was accustomed to in Dallas. Then came the countless flights of crazy-steep stairs (if you could even call them stairs) that I could barely clear in a single step. Cue the rain. Cue three separate stings from a particularly vicious species of Costa Rican horsefly that was attracted to the smell of my soap, and the resulting paranoia from hearing them buzz around my head. And did I mention that we were in a federally-protected tropical rainforest? This was the real deal—our guide cleared the path with a machete. Needless to say, it was an adventure I will never forget. And I did fall on the ground afterwards from pure exhaustion—I have pictures to prove it.
What does this have to do with today’s Gospel reading, you may ask? Well, when I got to the top of that mountain, I had experienced a whole new variety of humility.  I had only covered fifteen kilometers of a preserve that composed a whole county of Costa Rica. I had only scaled one tiny mountain, and I was beat. I compare my feelings that day to that cliché experience of awe and powerlessness that some people have described upon viewing the Grand Canyon. You suddenly realize how weak you are in comparison with nature, and thus with God. But if any of you have ever experienced a similar sentiment, you know that it’s not a negative or discouraging feeling of weakness. Instead, you know in those moments that your weakness is just reality.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds…” In a way, we are the mustard seeds. Alone, we can do very little. We’re weak, small, and frankly, even the brightest among us have moments where we are not all that bright. Weakness is in our human nature. It is only when we accept our smallness and weakness that we can entrust ourselves to God, who knows where we should be scattered to grow into the fullest version of ourselves. If we are mustard seeds, unless we are planted, we are basically worthless. But if we allow ourselves to be planted, we, though weak, can live in a way that we could never have imagined.
“…yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.” Hopefully most people reading this have had their lives enriched and deepened by their faith in some aspect. With faith and with trust in God, our understanding of the world around us becomes so much broader and richer—in other words, it grows into the largest of plants. While others may say that Christianity creates narrow-minded thinkers, Christians know that the exact opposite is true. Just think of the low level of dignity that my generation attributes to marriage, the family, and the unborn. To far too many members of my generation, marriage is a contract between any two people about what property belongs to whom, founded on a sentiment that might be here today and easily erased tomorrow. The unborn are “choices,” mere consequences—although the word consequence implies responsibility, which many would like to believe no longer exists. These definitions are the mustard seeds not yet entrusted to the right grower. But to Catholics, who have placed their mustard seeds in the hands of God, the family is an icon of the Trinity. To Catholics, the unborn are reflections of the vulnerability of the Son of God himself. To Catholics, love is a choice that endures hardship and comes out stronger after having been tested in fire.
When we allow God to plant us, our understanding of the world around us only becomes deeper and richer. True-- alone, we can do very little. But with the help of God to sow us in the right ground, we can open our eyes to see things that are otherwise hidden.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Updated: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. Comments must be concise and to the point.Comments are no longer accepted for posts older than 7 days.