Farming for Faith: 3 Steps for Soil/Soul Preparation
by Fr Richard Heilman | May 15, 2020 6:49 am
Farming for Faith: 3 Steps for Soil/Soul Preparation
Springtime is when farmers, after a cold Winter, set out to prepare for another “planting season.” How farmers prepare the soil acts as an excellent analogy for how we must prepare the “soul” to receive the seed of faith – belief in the supernatural power of God – and allow it to break open (germinate) in order to reach its fullest potential … how we become “Supermen/God-men” in the power of grace.
Recall the Parable of the Sower:
Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown (Matthew 13:3-8).
Using the soil preparation analogy of farming, the following are best practices of an authentically strong Catholic. If you obey Christ and His Church 100% (remain loyal), and practice the following, you will be strong in God’s supernatural grace, and you will live in peace.
- Clear the Land. Remove Residue: Remove any wooden residue and weeds that the soil might contain. These can challenge your planting plans, give it a not so pleasant look and even damage or kill the plants. The spiritual equivalent is …
- Go to Confession – Frequently! (at least once a month) What are the sins in our life that can choke off the Divine Life? The seed of faith thrives in the soil made pure by the Sacrament of Confession.
- Fasting – Fasting “detaches” us from things we place ahead of God; it disciplines the soul to choose God over things. Fasting is a way in which the Lord gives the underdog victory. Fasting tells God you are “quite serious” about your relationship with Him.
- Plow, spade or till the area: Hard clay soil does not allow the seed to enter in and break open. The hard heart is the “superficial heart,” settling for the base inferior life. It is the seed that never geminates and breaks open to reach its full potential. It believes it is just a seed and will always be just a seed, as it flounders in an empty darkness, searching for the next “quick fix” of carnal pleasure. The spiritual equivalent to plowing is …
- Adoration – Adoration is the most amazing plow that loosens the hardness of our hearts. It is prayer from the heart that “opens” us to be that meek and humble softened soul that wants nothing more than to please God, whom they love so much. In Adoration, we more easily cry out, “My Lord and my God!” Adoration doesn’t require Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. God dwells in the Tabernacle. Come early and/or stay late for Mass just to “be with Him” in silence.
- Prayer – Yes, to formal prayer, but be in conversation with God all day long. Develop that personal love relationship with God Who is “with you” always.
- Fertilize the Soil: Fertilizing enriches the soil and ensures your plants grow well. We must feed our soul with rich nutrients. These are spiritual nutrients we must add to the soul to enrich it …
- Mary – The first rich nutrient is our devotion to the Mother of God. The Life of Christ flourishes in the soul that loves His mother. Jesus can deny nothing to His mother. Keep Mary close, and Christ will be close to you.
- Truth – Add the rich nutrients of Divine Revelation: Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Also, be an avid reader of the writings from the saints and strong spiritual leaders of our time. Let these be your “influencers.”
- Treasure Chest of Our Catholic Faith – Also, we must feed our soul with all of the beautiful jewels from the treasure chest of our Catholic faith: Daily devotions, sacramentals, etc. The rosary, saints, consecration, scapular, novenas, etc., etc. all enrich the soil of our souls, helping us to reach our highest potential. God has revealed these through Mary and the saints. Please God by loving what He has given to us.
- Strong Relationships – Who are the “influencers” in our lives? The forces of the world are strong. Sometimes, we cannot avoid spending time with those who have allowed themselves to be influenced by these worldly, depraving forces. But, we need to do all we can to spend as much time as possible with others who are STRONG. Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Being with those who love the “higher life” helps you to stay in the “higher life,” and vice versa.
NB: We have been talking about a “higher life” or a “superior life.” Once you see this as a way to, pridefully, count yourself as “better than others,” grace will leave you in that moment. No, we must see it as a way to “inspire others” to want this “higher life” for them too.
The Seed of Faith Germinates
Now we are ready to receive the seed of God’s life found in the Most Holy Eucharist, the greatest gift ever given to man. Now we are ready to say our life is not our own for, like St. Paul, we “become Christ” for others:
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20)
Now that seed is able to germinate; break open and reach for its greatest potential, bearing the Fruit of the Holy Spirit:
“Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Under the power of supernatural grace, be extravagant with this fruit. Let others be shocked by your lavish love, exaggerated joy, deep peace, etc. (See Fruit of the Holy Spirit above). This kind of “flamboyant fruit” is what sets your light on a lamp stand for all to see, and to inspire souls to come out of the cold, dark world into the “higher life.”
- Galatians 2:20: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+2%3A20&version=NIV
- Galatians 5:22-23: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+5%3A22-23&version=NABRE
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