Spirituality


“I Want to See.”
by Blind Beggar Bart

Our Struggles Within

Dear Bart,
It’s been almost month since day I heard during mass the gospel on the parable of the wheat and weeds. While listening to it, the first thing that came to my mind was the book I read “Weeds among the Wheat” by Fr. Thomas Green, SJ. It reminded me of his personal perspective of this parable which, essentially, relates to the “end times”. The author described that within us are both weeds and wheat growing side by side until the Lord’s time comes to uproot the weeds within us and make us become better a Christian. Someone who attended the same mass described a different imagery of it: She felt like a weed given time by the Lord for a chance to grow to change into wheat. I found her imagery less suitable because it did not sound natural – how could weeds turn into wheat? But I did understand what she meant without altering the “end times” essence of the parable. Aren’t weeds always weeds until they are uprooted? Can we still hope that God will turn a weed into wheat? I ask this because, despite my best efforts and earnestly asking for God’s help, I still have my own struggles on being a good Christian. So I look forward to the acceptable time that the Lord would uproot the weeds within me. But how about those who even still don’t have a grasp of what is right and wrong? Despite all my help, often there is nothing I could do but pray to God for their conversion as well. – Struggling Christian, 8/6/2011.

Dear “Struggling Christian,”
Rest assured no one is predestined to go to hell, that is, I believe no one is created a weed. For this to happen, it requires one to willfully turn away from God (a mortal sin) and be persistent in it until the end (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1037). And as mentioned in today's gospel (August 9), "Just so, it is no part of your heavenly Father's plan that a single one of these little ones shall ever come to grief." (Mt 18:14). Therefore for me, the correct image would be that all of us are seeds of wheat from the beginning. What I think was missed out in reflecting on this parable is the beginning of it: “…The reign of God may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep, his enemy came and sowed weeds through his wheat…” (Mt 13:24-25). For sure, God’s enemy cannot be viewed as equal to God Himself who is the sole creator of man, the man who sowed good seed. Hence I don’t think the seeds of weeds in the parable refer to man who is God’s creation, but rather I think to evil thoughts and deeds.

How does this imagery then present the essence of the “end times” where the weeds represent men who willfully turn away from God? These weeds are those who have taken hold of wheat which have allowed weeds to take over their growth as wheat. Hence in my conjured up imagery, some wheat allowed themselves to be overtaken by weeds, and so at harvest time, the harvester only sees the weeds representing the seeds of wheat that never grew to what they were supposed to be.

In the imagery I offer, there is struggle between the wheat and the weeds where one will eventually outgrow the other and show itself to the harvester. This struggle is expounded by St. Paul in his letters, especially the one to the Romans. Are we allowing the weeds to represent us to the harvester, us who are in the first place seeds of wheat? What do we do then? The parables referring to the “end times” call us all to conversion while God in His mercy is still giving us the “acceptable time…the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2). The lady you who described a different imagery is then still correct in her reflection: she is “given time by the Lord for a chance to grow” as she ought to, a wheat. And yet, as in any parable on the “end times,” there is always a sense of urgency because we do not know the time of the harvest.

We must therefore be vigilant in our struggles against the weeds. We are not alone in this; a seed of wheat cannot grow on its own. The Lord, the man who sowed good seed, gives us the needed sun, water, and good soil – graces – to help us in our struggle. And the more we struggle against these weeds, the more we are given the needed graces and the more we grow in strength until the weeds either wither away or easily uprooted by the harvester without affecting our growth as wheat. This is the good that comes from the Lord for allowing the weeds to grow along with the wheat. And this is the same imagery found in Fr. Green’s book “Weeds among the Wheat” (Ad on this book can be found on the right of this page or go to the Café Store via tab on the left). Thus I feel this imagery of one’s internal struggle eventually relates to the theme of the “end times:” Whether we grow to become wheat or get choked up by a weed to be thrown into the fire with it, will depend on our struggles within… like wheat among the weeds.

If you would like to email me and hopefully find my response in this column, please send it to admin@cafepearsall.com (for now) addressed to me, or go to Contact Us of this website. Links to previous articles are found below. –BBB, 8/9/2011.

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