A couple times a year, my “lights” newsletter is primarily sharing resources that might help you grow spiritually, navigate relationships, and discern events. In case any of this is helpful to ponder, enjoy. Be sure to check out a final thought on summer weeds and wheat at the end.
Grow Spiritually. Monsignor Rosetti at SpiritualDirection.com writes about 3Rs, that is rejecting, renouncing, and rebuking in the name of Jesus. While formal exorcism is for exorcists, all baptized Christians carry authority in the name of Jesus for basic deliverance (freedom in Christ). Additionally, this is a great article by Marcel LeJeune at Our Sunday Visitor on being totally Catholic and having a relationship with the Lord. Truth be told, that’s exactly what it means to be a-saint-in-the-making.
Navigate Relationships. While not always possible, it’s critical to remember the formational and relational aspect of regular family dinners. These are a unique opportunity to regroup and relate. John Cuddeback at LifeCraft offers a short article and video on family dinners. For more difficult situations, you might like this article by the Popcaks’ at Catholic Counsellors on dealing with disrespect. What does Christianity look like in the face of stressful relationships? Pause, communicate, and offer consequences.
Discern Events. In Canada, Pope Francis offered a reflection on the danger of secularization. The Catholic is not to hunker down in fear but witness to the living and triune God. See his three challenges of evangelization, witness and fraternity in this article posted by the National Catholic Register. Finally, you might like this video by Damien Stayne on the deepest vocation in the Church. It might surprise you – or not! Watch up to minute 19.
With summer nearly over, I’ve been praying with the parable of weeds among wheat (Matthew 13: 24-30). Where do you find yourself in this parable - are you wheat, weed, servant, or Master in your life right now? Or…what or who…is the wheat, weed, servant, or Master? In this parable, the Master plants good seed, but the enemy comes at night while the servants are asleep to plant weeds. Over time, the plants come up and can be differentiated. “What do we do?” the servants ask the Lord when they finally see this. The Lords states, “an enemy has done this…Let them both grow together until the harvest,” and then sort them out. This year in rural Idaho, we went through an extremely cold and wet spring. Farmers and gardeners couldn’t plant for fear of frost or couldn’t spray crops for weeds because it was too wet or too expensive because of gas prices. Lots of weeds in the wheat, hay, canola, etc.
While it’s important not to over spiritualize, it’s also important not to under spiritualize. There is an enemy and he is hell-bent on sowing weeds in our lives, our families, our Church, and our world. How quickly and how well do you identify the enemy by his works? Can you differentiate wheat from weeds in your life and do you respond like the Master does? By the time the servants noticed the weeds, roguing (pulling weeds out of a field by hand without harming the crop) was no longer possible. The Master discerned a time and had a plan. In this case, the harvest plan was to reap, bundle, and burn the weeds, and then, to gather the wheat into the barn. What do you do with your weeds at harvest time? What about the wheat?
Notice how the Master responds with perfect timing, divine wisdom, and ultimate authority in this parable. May you have the Lord’s gift of accurate discernment and confidence in the Lord’s victory for whatever you are dealing with in your life this summer. God bless.