St. Ignatius reminds us to never make decisions when we are in desolation. Today’s Gospel reminds us of that in the parable of the sower and the seeds. Because you just have to feel for the sower, huh? He scatters all these seeds and only the ones who fall on rich soil–the soil that has been readied for the seed’s planting are the ones that take root and grow.
Isn’t it the same for us? Some of us wish to make a change in life but the world talks us out of it. Some even think about doing something creative and maybe even have resolved to do it but then someone places some doubt in our mind or naysays our ideas. Some of us are too overwhelmed to grow up our faith and instead choose to ignore developing an adult relationship with the Lord.
And some of us are like the seed that has no root. It is all new to us and nobody bothered or cared to give us any kind of fertile spiritual soil, but we long for it anyway. I notice that some of our atheist students on campus gently come to me to discuss things when they are in this period of desolation and it’s hard for me to discuss things with them because we come from two different perspectives. Some even show jealousy towards those of us with a faith-base. One student quipped years ago, “I’d really like to believe and see how others would find much rest and relief in believing, but I just don’t believe.”
Faith arrives for many when they are indeed ready for it. A crisis might necessitate thinking more deeply about one’s life, but we all long deeply for an integrated spiritual life—something beyond yourselves, that takes us past our experiences and into deep thinking about where we truly belong and to whom we belong and therefore who is also judge of our lives, the lives he has given us.
If judge is too strong… Friends who are judges always complain that the image of God as judge has unjustly been demonized–after all some, if not most, judges are good–they uphold the law. They have no control over what the criminal did, their actions violate the law and the law tells us what should happen next. Of course they don’t like it when I tell them some laws are unjust. =)
But if judge is too strong how about compass? When you are walking in a direction the compass moves and tells where you are walking. It doesn’t make suggestions, it just indicates the direction. Where you choose to walk is all your idea.
And so when we are walking in the shadow of darkness, it’s probably not a good idea to make rash judgements ourselves. It’s there that we need more appropriately for God in our lives. We see God lurking and we often push God away or ignore God. Until we can again see God guiding us, consoling us, leading us out of this darkness, we should simply wait out these storms in our lives until we can see the sun more clearly.
We need to be on rich soil to make solid decisions of growth. We leave no stone unturned to belabor a gardening metaphor in getting our soil ready for God to grow something wonderful in us.
So today let’s pray for that grace to be led out of desolation–to see God’s love lurking for us, finding us in the doldrums and having the faith that consolation is sure to always follow when we are unconsolable.
If we do that…we will be able to grow immensely with God’s guidance.
Without it…we choose faithlessly. Thinking that God offers no hope. Leaving us for dead. Unwanted and unloved.
The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock. (Jeremiah 31:10) The words of today’s psalm give us the hope that God will indeed give us everything that we need. We might find hardship along the way but that love that God offers us to too immense for us to be overwhelmed.
May we always feel that love of the shepherd…and may we wait for him to come again and tell us more when we feel like we are all alone…
In the darkness.