Last night after my recent post talking about Jesus message of loyalty both my son and I try to do a nightly prayer where scripture reading becomes part of that routine.
We read about the parable of the sower. I read my son the adult scriptures in addition to the children one because I find the Childrens Catholic Bible to be very watered down and does not include these parables of the sower. By watered down I don’t mean its intentionally bad, it just does not seem to give enough in my opinion.
I’m gonna get you into a good habit here and force you take out that dusty old bible and read ”Luke:8:11-15” where Jesus explains the Parable. The translation I am using is the Jerusalem bible 1966 so some words may differ in my post.
These whole verses describe us and our approach to God. Sometimes we are a combination of all of these things throughout our life.
I know that in my life I’ve been every one of these at some point but I want to focus for now on the one who falls among the thorns and the former who give up in time of trial because the two are often intertwined.
”Those on the rock are people who, when they first hear it, welcome the word with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of trial they give up. -As for the part that fell into thorns, this is people who have heard, but as they go on their way they are choked by the worries and riches and pleasures of life and do not reach maturity.”
I witness many including myself who parade around the Church their whole lives. They’re good Catholics who work in the local community, go to Church every Sunday, meet with the priest afterwards for a coffee, attend confession and pray their rosary every day. Like me they have elaborate libraries and icons plastered all over their walls, go to pilgrimages every year to distant lands where the Blessed Virgin Mary appears.
This isn’t just in referral to the laity but the clergy as well ok? The priest preaches great and wonderful orthodox homilies. His parish will not have rock music or anything of the sort. He is a spiritual director of a well-known mystic or something like that.
But watch what happens when you go up to him and tell him he’s a big fat, smelly, overweight piece of slime and watch his reaction. If his reaction isn’t external it will be internal and it will fester in him for days and his hatred towards you increases all the more.
These are the people who live in the thorns and have not gone beyond saying a few rosaries and learned the ways of the Holy Spirit of pure love. The actual point of our faith is to actually live it out.
They can be found in Bible groups talking about ”Oh how hard it is to be a good Christian and put all this into practice, it’s so hard. ”
Actually nothing is as so easy but we are so happy to live in our thorny bushes aren’t we? Believe it or not the first step into Spiritual liberation is to admit you don’t want spiritual liberation.
Like Keanu Reeves in the movie the matrix, life in the matrix although it isn’t real is so much more comfortable isn’t it? mmmmm. I love my job, my ferrari, I love getting angry and upset. I love getting drunk on the Saturday night and having all the approval of my friends and entertaining them so that they will continue to like me.
All the riches ( the approval of others and holding onto our concepts) and the worries of life we couldn’t live without.
In fact I bet you’re reading this now and thinking ”Ah but you wouldn’t be NORMALLLL if you gave up all these things. ”
hahahahahaha. But the thing is when you behave like this you’re not normal. In the eyes of the Kingdom of God you’re behaving like an abnormal son of God. We are born of nobility and yet when God sees us behave in such a manner it’s equivalent to the Queen of England finding out Prince Harry was drunk last night and beat up half of London. Could it be said he was acting noble? Of course not. .
A call back to normality is to throw away our childish toys and become detached from the emotions that we are enslaved to. The emotions that satisfy our gluttony and need to engage in anger and lust must be understood for what they are and dealt with.
If we don’t then although we are not deprived of the Kingdom in this state, we will never truly be able to navigate this life and experience the Kingdom here and now.
Watch what happens when someone approaches YOU and calls you a smelly ass. Oh you blush, and suddenly a wave of anger begins to gently rise in you like a volcano bubbling. If this happens you then HAHAHAHA, you’re just like me, a big slave to the world. How do you like your ball and chain . . . . heavy isn’t it? How does the world look from your invisible cage? It’s so beautiful but you can’t touch it. You think you’re in touch with it but you’re not, you’re in touch with an illusion.
You think you know what joy and love is. You’re the master of your own destiny riding on your horse. The star of your own show hahahhaa ya big idiot.
You’ve no root in you, you live among thorns, many times the devil has come and gobbled up the advice that has been given to you by convincing you that YOU know best. haha ya big buffoon. And with all your attending of confession, bible groups, theological university and Church every Sunday, when someone comes along and calls you a smelly ass, you go into a fit of rage and show just how immature you really are.
Hey, we are all in the same boat and the first step is to realize there is a boat and you’re in it. The next Step is to admit you like the comfort of the boat, don’t want to leave it and the third step to liberation is having the balls to jump out of that boat and meet Jesus half way.
Jumping out of the boat can only be done with prayer and understanding. the two go hand in hand. You definitely need the grace because you can’t do it by your own power.
I’ve two stories that have come to mind I want to leave you with. One is true and the other is fictional.
The first one is a story in Medjugorje of a woman who became possessed. All the priests rushed to her aid and nearly all of them fled when the demon started shouting at them their personal sins. He began revealing all their sins and what they did.
This frightened them and they run for the hills. This is because they have not yet reached the level of maturity and the devil knows they’re still living among the thorns and have not yet reached the spiritual heights to deal with such public exposition of their personal sins.
But if the Devil were to meet a true mystic and someone who is a great spiritual giant who knows how to go to war with him (such as St.Anthony the great) then things change.
Here’s the story of a monk who had a novice come to him for spiritual direction. He threw rocks at him and cursed at him and told him to get out of his sight. The novice thought to himself what kind of holy monk is this? and he left and never came back.
The next novice came and pretty much the same thing happened to him. He ran away and never came back.
Third novice did come back. He was met again with lots of stones and insults. He came back again this time all bruised and bloodied and he said ”Please, I am ready to move on.”
So the spiritual master recognizing the man had roots in him and did not give up in time of trial, welcomed him as a student of prayer.
Pray for faith, pray for the roots necessary to grow. It’s what I pray for every day. Like you I am also rotting away in this prison I built for myself.