Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
When I was younger, my father and I always did work around the yard. We had multiple gardens, two ponds, a patio, and a nice lawn that always needed tending, so the work was always plentiful. This might be cutting the grass, spreading mulch, moving wheelbarrows, and the like. At the end of a long day working, it was always good to look over what we had done and be proud of our work.
One job that I was not particularly fond of, however, was pulling weeds. In the many gardens that we had, and even in the lawn itself, weeds would periodically sprout forth among the flowers or the grass. The reason I didn’t care for this job was that it always seemed to be a fruitless venture: the weeds would always return no matter the effort that we put in! My dad explained that in order to remove the weed, I needed to pull so that the very root of the weed would come up. It was not enough to just break the weed so it was not visible while the root remained. It would simply grow back.
Our Lord explains that the field is the world, with both good and bad crops sprouting together. It can also refer to our own souls, in which good and bad things can be planted and grow. These bad fruits are vices, or bad habits, that we acquire over time. In removing these vices, we do not, as I had thought with the weeds in the gardens, just cut off appearance of vice without affecting the very root of the vice.
Take for example purity or chastity. If we struggle with the vice of lust or impurity, we cannot just put on the appearance of purity; we need to uproot the impurity first before purity can take its place. You would not plant a good seed near where you knew the root of a weed to be, for the weed would simply sprout and choke out the life of the good plant.
Through the ministry of His Body, the Church, Christ has sown the seed of Faith into our souls at Baptism and nurtures us, like water to a plant, with His grace in the sacraments. Christ explained this parable to His disciples, those closest to Him, that they might understand it. He offers the same to us in the Church. When we are close to the One who sowed the good seed, He will help us to uproot vice and sin so that the harvest of virtue and holiness will be bountiful.
We may not be able to uproot all the evil in our world, but with the grace that God gives us, we can begin to uproot our own vices and sin and replace them with new virtues and holiness. It is by becoming saints, in whatever our state in life, that we make ourselves, and therefore our world, a beautiful garden to glorify God in His work of creation and redemption.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
Where in your life are the weeds choking the wheat? How are bad habits and vices keeping you from growing in holiness?
In what ways have you uprooted certain struggles, all the way to the root? How did you rely on the Lord to do this?
Where is God calling you to help uproot the weeds from the world around you? How can your witness help God shine forth in the world?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"Help me be holy."
"Thank you for loving me."
"Uproot the weeds that are choking me."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Think about all of the "wheat" in your life that God has raised up: friendships, family, relationships, good habits, etc. For each of these, the Enemy is seeking to distract you and wrap "weeds" around the good fruit. Think of potential ways that weeds could spring up around the wheat in your life and write them down- being aware of the ways we can be turned from the Lord helps us to be prepared for when the weeds show up.
Today's prayer was prepared by Kevin Poynton, who works for the Augustine Institute.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.