Cultivating the Soil of Your Heart

October 23, 2021
Saturday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today

 Saint John of Capistrano, Priest—Optional Memorial

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“‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’”  Luke 13:7–9

How much good fruit is born from your life? This is an important question to answer honestly. One of the best ways to discern whether or not we are serving the will of God is to look at the fruit being born from our lives.

Good fruit is born in various ways and manifests itself in various forms. However, the fruit you must look for is twofold. First, it is the fruit found within your own soul resulting from a life of true prayer and union with God. Second, we must look for the fruit that is born of charity in our actions toward others.

When you look honestly at your own soul, what do you see? Often, you may see a sort of war within you in which your disordered passions and appetites fight against the Spirit of God. Good spiritual fruit will require interior purification. Through prayer, fasting, spiritual reading and the like, you must look for ways in which God’s Spirit takes control of your disordered human nature and reorders it in accord with His holy will. Though we are all sinners and will all fall at times, we must work diligently to overcome every action, desire and temptation that we can objectively discern to be contrary to the will of God. At times, your fallen human nature can so forcefully draw you into sin that it can confuse your intellect and lead you to rationalization of your sins. But if you want the fruit of God’s presence in your life, then you must continually choose to make your interior life a fruitful garden in which the virtues of God grow and are nourished in abundance. So, again, what do you honestly see as you look into your own soul?

As God nourishes the virtues within us, and our disordered passions and appetites fall under the control of the Spirit of God, then we will also discover a need to allow the interior fruits of God’s love to flow forth from our lives into the lives of others. We will begin to desire selfless and sacrificial living. We will begin to desire to put others first. We will consider others’ lives as precious and filled with dignity. And we will overcome judgment, harshness, anger, and the like. We will find ourselves desiring the good of others and will supernaturally be drawn to do many small acts of kindness toward all. But it all starts with one’s interior life which our Lord desires to cultivate and fertilize with His grace so that the interior fruits of His love will grow within and ultimately become very manifest in one’s daily exterior actions toward all.

Reflect, today, upon your soul being like this fig tree that has not been bearing fruit. See our Lord coming to you and asking you to allow Him to cultivate the ground and fertilize it. Know that this requires change on your part. If you are to bear good fruit, then you need this intervention by our Lord. Work with Him, be diligent, and do all you can to begin to bear an abundance of good fruit so that you are not among those who are ultimately cut down by God’s justice.

My laboring Lord, You never cease to work diligently to cultivate the soil of my soul so that the seeds of Your mercy will grow and produce the good fruit You desire to come forth from my life. Please give me the grace I need to be faithful to a daily life of prayer, a practice of penance and a search for Your holy Word. Transform me, dear Lord, and bring forth the good fruit of Your holy Kingdom in my life. Jesus, I trust in You.

Novena to Saint Jude
For Desperate Situations and Desperate Cases
Prayed anytime of year, especially October 19–27

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Saint of the Day –  Saint John of Capistrano, Priest

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Featured image above: The parable of the barren fig tree by Carl Rahl, via Wikimedia Commons