Hard Parable (of the Sower)

Is the Lord a poor famer? He scatters the seed of His truth all over the place. If we have ears to hear it, His Word declares to us that we have been made children of the Most High God, that we can have eternal life, that we can attain holiness. God is real, and He loves us.

The reality of God, the love of God—this truth comes to us by the faithful apostolic witness of the Church. The truth refreshes our souls. It gives our lives direction. And then it proceeds to make demands on us throughout the rest of our earthly lives.

Representation_of_the_Sower's_parableHolding fast to the Gospel, as exhilarating as it can be, can grow difficult. Not because it changes. But because, with time, we grow to understand it better. We find ways to grasp it more fully. And that can cost us.

The fact is that divine love has enemies. The parable highlights three. First, temptations by demons. The closer we get to purity of faith, the more ardently they besiege us with the knottiest challenges.

Second, fear. Let’s not beat around the bush: Believing the Gospel involves facing death squarely in the face, without fear. To believe in Christ and His victory means that if today is my day to die, then I am just as glad as I would be if it were in a hundred years.

And the third enemy of divine love that the Lord refers to in the parable: worldliness.

But, Father! We live in the world! How can we avoid being worldly? We have to eat and pay the bills. We have to have the internet and at least basic cable.

Let us be wholesome inhabitants of this beautiful earth. But God forbid that we let the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. “I have overcome the world,” He said. Did He come to the earth to overcome good things? No He came to overcome the enemies of our eternal happiness.

The world, the Super Bowl, the Beyonce lip-synching controversy, the hegemony of the United States, Google, Inc.—it will all pass away. Even Shakespeare and the fleeting beauty of the Grand Canyon will pass away.

This world is not our home; it is the place through which we pass on a journey; it is, at times, the arena of our pitched spiritual battles. It is, fundamentally, temporary.

For the seed to take root, we must see the unseeable truth and grasp the ungraspable fact: We have only one real home. And it is God. Only God.

(Published from my slick new Microsoft Surface. Please forgive typos.)

Through the Dark Threshold

Anybody see a movie back in the late 90’s called “The Truman Show?” The true man of the movie had been the unwitting star of a reality show for his entire life. He had lived in a dome the size of a small city, which served as the set of the show. He was surrounded by hidden cameras all the time. His entire life was manipulated by the show’s producer. Everyone Truman knew was really an actor. The world loved Truman; his show was the most popular on television. The only person who didn’t know that Truman was a reality-t.v. star was…Truman himself.

In order to keep Truman from wanting to travel beyond the confines of the dome, the producer had managed to train him to fear the unknown and prefer the comforts of his day-to-day life.

But as Truman grew older, his desire to know more about the world became increasingly intense. He commandeered a boat on the shore of the staged ocean, and he sailed into the unknown. Truman managed to reach the outer wall of the concrete dome in which he had lived his whole life. The prow of the boat crashed into the cinder blocks that were painted to look like the horizon. Then Truman found a hidden emergency exit door in the wall that he had always thought was the sky. The producer got on a microphone, trying to convince Truman not to walk out the door. But Truman would not be stopped. He stepped through the dark threshold into the outside world that he had never known.

Continue reading “Through the Dark Threshold”