Dom Gregory Polan, OSB
Greetings of peace from Sant’Anselmo in Rome. During these recent days, we have been hearing in the liturgy of Holy Mass the Gospel readings from the 13th chapter of the Gospel according to Saint Matthew. This is often called the Great Parables Chapter. One of the thoughts that I would like to share with you is the importance of seeing the image of ‘the seed’\ as a symbol for the Word of God. With almost any seed, we know that it is small, fragile, and in need of care. This is also true of the Word of God that comes to us. So, what is important for us to do in receiving this seed of God’s Word?
The first important thing we must do is to prepare the soil of our heart to receive the gift of God’s Word. In the soil of our hearts, as in the soil of the earth, there are many elements. In the soil of the earth, there are vitamins, nutrients, and organic matter that all work together to create ‘the community of the soil’ which helps the seed to be nourished and to grow. Likewise, in the ‘soil of our hearts’ there is faith, hope, love, mercy, compassion, and the many experiences of our life. When the Word of God combines with all of those experiences of our hearts, God’s Word becomes very personal, a word to us, to me, to you.
And if that is true, which we believe it is, then God always has something important to say to us in His Word. For that reason, it is so important for us to come with hearts ready to listen to what it is that God wishes to speak to us. At times, it may be a word of challenge, and at other times a word of encouragement. God’s Word can call us to new experiences and lead us away from sinful ways. God’s Word can enlighten us to live our lives more faithfully with the grace of the Holy Spirit at work in us. Remember this: God is always speaking to us in his Word, always.
All of this touches on the monastic spiritual practice of lectio divina, the slow and prayerful reading of God’s Word. If we practice lectio divina each day, allowing the rich Word of God to fall into our hearts, the seed of God’s Word into the rich soil of our hearts, we can expect to bear much fruit, the fruit of God’s Kingdom, and grow ever deeper into communion with God’s ever-present love for us. May his Word be life-giving for us, as we have prepared the soil of our hearts to receive the rich gift of God’s Word.
Sincerely in Christ.