Bearing fruit in everyday life.

Posted by James Hahn on


Feast of Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr

I wish I had taken a picture of our garden shortly after planting in the spring. It would be a barren picture of brown-grey dirt, empty, and by all appearances lifeless. Yet deep in that soil new life was beginning. Those dying seeds were about to rise to a new and a more fruitful life. The tiny sunflower seed, only a half an inch long, has sprung forth to a flower that towers 14 feet above the garden. The almost invisible lettuce seeds have died and in their death emerged with layer upon layer of lush green life. The fragile corn seed, subject to the unrelenting attack of the birds, has died in the ground and leaped up giving forth fruit 30, 60, 90 fold! All of this abundant life came with a price, the death of those seeds.

Jesus teaches us this in today's Gospel, fittingly chosen for the Feast of Saint Lawrence. He says, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit." Not all of us, in fact, not many of us will have the opportunity to obtain the crown of martyrdom. Yet this is no excuse for not seeking to lose our life for the sake of the Gospel. Christ asks us to die to our sinful, selfish desires so that abundant life may spring forth from our souls.

What does this look like in everyday life?  It can be showing up for work on time with a good attitude even though the commute was a nightmare.  Maybe it's simply putting down your phone for a while and really listening to your children.  It could be secretly fasting for the conversion of a family member.  Perhaps it's washing one more load of laundry without complaint.  A life lived of dying to self, seeking to love and serve others, can only bear great fruit.

St. Lawrence, who was being roasted alive by his executioners, is supposed to have said, "I'm done on this side, turn me over."  Maybe we can say, "I'm done with this load of laundry, bring me another.  I'm done with this diaper, bring me another.  I've endured the ridicule of my faith by this family member, send me another."  Let us die to ourselves today and everyday that we may bear much fruit here and in eternity.

FROM THE SAINTS - "I tell you again and again, my brethren, that in the Lord's garden are to be found not only the roses of his martyrs. In it there are also the lilies of the virgins, the ivy of wedded couples, and the violets of widows. On no account may any class of people despair, thinking that God has not called them. Christ suffered for all. What the Scriptures say of him is true: He desires all men to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth." - Saint Augustine

Another look at today's reading (video).


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