The rocky soil is emblematic of our modern collapse of Christendom. Only God can enrich the soil of our hearts.
By Kaitlyn Curtin
22 October 2021
The Sower, the Seed, and the Soil
This piece of the Parable of the Sower seems to describe the original apostles: When Jesus called them, they followed Him at once; when Jesus was arrested and killed, their faith was scorched by the blistering heat of the Passion. The seed of faith could not grow deep roots in the soil of those who still depended on themselves.
We who read parables today abide in a sacramental realm, where we are sustained by the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. We may mistake this level of support for our own perseverance. We may think the roots of our faith run deep and so we will not wither. We may assume that we will outlast the scorching of scandal, sin, and suffering.
I suspect, however, that the ground of our modern souls is at least as rocky as the apostles’. The collapse of Christendom and the rise of the nones in the West tell the tale of a civilization itself made of rocky ground.
Luckily, the Parable of the Sower tells but the first part of the story – there is a sequel, for the one who sows also tends, weeds, and feeds His garden.
Neophytes and the Good Gardener
After the apostles faltered, the Sower returned, not content to let His flimsy seedlings die.
Like the gardener Mary Magdalene mistook Him for, He transplanted each neophyte to the garden bed of His church, where He watered them with His presence. Later, when they faltered yet again, He revived and strengthened them with the Holy Spirit.
Like a good gardener, he also improved the soil. He changes us truly with sacramental grace – Baptism brings the indwelling of God and endows us with supernatural virtues; the Eucharist makes us one with Him in body and spirit; Confirmation leaves an indelible mark! Through actual grace, he daily reforms our appetites so that we will not only understand but crave the good.
The Wisdom of Established Plants
How can faith contend with death? How can love cast out fear? With man, these things are impossible. With God, however, all things are possible. He knows our roots are shallow. He knows that we will never flourish without His constant care.
We plants are weak, but He is strong. He tends us for He loves us.
Rely not on the soil of yourself, but put all your confidence in the Sower.
Here are some quotes to aid in reflection on dependence on God:
Throw your weakness before God, and the Lord will become your strength.St. Moses the Strong
Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.C.S. Lewis
Just as the sun shines on all the trees and flowers as if each were the only one on earth, so does God care for all souls in a special manner.St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face
We must not simply desire God; we must live in total dependence.Dillon Burroughs
Let us trust in him who has placed this burden upon us. What we ourselves cannot bear let us bear with the help of Christ. For he is all-powerful, and he tells us, ‘My yoke is easy and my burden light.’St. Boniface
Yet just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but shall do what pleases me, achieving the end for which I sent it.Isaiah 55:10-11
Kaitlyn holds graduate degrees in Theology and in Education. She spends her time mothering 5 children, ages 1-10, who have provided her a good deal more education than all her degrees put together. She used to spend her time teaching junior high, high school, undergrad, graduate, homeschool, co-op, and distance learning classes. You can read a chapter she contributed to Teresa Tomeo’s book Listening for God and you can connect with her at her website: http://kaitlyndudleycurtin.com/