When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.”
As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that ‘looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.’ “
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away.
As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
When I was a child, I remember hearing this parable and saying “well, I’ll just be the good soil because that’s the kind Jesus wants.” I thought it was quite simple! But in reality, I move back and forth between the different types of soil on a regular basis. There are days when I find it easy to be open and attentive to the movements of the spirit. There are other days when I get so wrapped up in my head that very little of God’s message gets through to me.
One gift of the Ignatian Examen can be to begin to recognize the times in our day, or the people who we encounter, who make it more difficult for us to be that fertile soil that is ready to receive God’s word in its entirety. That awareness offers an opportunity to pray for the grace of openness when we find ourselves in certain situations.
Just like a gardener works to amend the soil and create the best possible environment for a plant to thrive, we need to continually check in with ourselves to make our hearts receptive to the word of God.
—The Jesuit Prayer team
Gracious and holy Father,
grant us the intellect to understand you,
reason to discern you, diligence to seek you,
wisdom to find you, a spirit to know you,
a heart to meditate upon you.
May our ears hear you, may our eyes behold you,
and may our tongues proclaim you.
Give us grace that our way of life may be pleasing to you,
that we may have the patience to wait for you
and the perseverance to look for you.
Grant us a perfect end–your holy presence,
a blessed resurrection and life everlasting.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
—Prayer of St. Benedict
Please share the Good Word with your friends!