Jul 23 – Memorial for St. Bridget of Sweden, Religious
Coming from a noble yet religious background, St. Bridget (1302-1373) was friend and counsellor to many priests and theologians of her day. As chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Blanche of Namur, she counselled and guided the Queen and King Magnus II. She was harassed by others at the court for pursuing a religious life.
She eventually renounced her title of princess and became the foundress of the Order of the Most Holy Savior (Bridgettines), chastening and counselling kings and Popes Clement VI, Urban VI, and Gregory XI. St. Bridget encouraged all who would listen to meditate on the Passion, and of Jesus Crucified.
- Patron Saint Index
The one who received the seed in thorns is the one who hears the word, but the worries of this world and the lure of riches choke the word and so he produces nothing.
I love trees and greenery. I never really appreciated how green Singapore is until I moved to live in the U.A.E. Each time I landed at Changi, I would marvel at the trees and plants that line the road to and from the airport. The beauty of God’s amazing creation. Recently, I have a renewed interest in plants. Growing my collection gives me immense joy, watching them grow and thrive. I have to select the right plant suited for our climate and area. Each plant would survive and bloom only if I placed it in the right spot with enough sunlight and wind. It must have space for the plant to spread outwards and upwards. It needs nourishment in water and fertilizer; tilling the soil, and pruning. In addition to the usual fertilizers, I bought a super duper Japanese plant vitalizer for them too. Quite a bit of work for the ‘sower’ or gardener. Each time a plant doesn’t survive, I question what I did wrong.
The parable of the sower in today’s gospel ‘tickles the cockles of my heart’. Lately, I have been touched by readings that speak of trees, vines, and pruning. In today’s gospel reading (for those celebrating the Feast of St Bridget of Sweden), Jesus tells us “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.” I have been pondering about ‘pruning’ for a while. That seems to be my ‘anthem’ these days. What pruning work God has been making in my life these past few years, which he continues to do today. While I may not fully comprehend why He does what He does, I think it’s because some branches no longer bear fruit, and therefore need to be pruned, so that new shoots can grow. Today, I wonder if some parts of my life or friendships have ended or are coming to an end. There seems to be so much shedding that’s happened, in the process of happening, or am thinking of shedding, that I sometimes wonder if it is God’s doing or my own doing. There are too many questions bouncing about in my head. The bit that bothers me most, is that I think too much about these things, the actions I need to take, rather than let God fertilize the soil of my heart. I administer my own ‘vitalizer’ shot, rather than let go and allow God do His mighty work.
Am I the plant whose seeds were sown among thorns? Did I let my own thoughts, expectations and worldly worries choke me, only to try and resuscitate myself? Has the noise of the secular world muffled God’s words and promises to me?
Jesus, in these farming parables, shows us what happens in each case.
- Seed sown on the path: Exposed — the evil one snatches what has been sown in heart.
• Seed sown on rocky ground: Vulnerable — hears the word, receives with joy, but has no root, faith lasts but only for a while.
• Seed sown among thorns: Stifled — hears the word but worry and riches choke the word.
• Seed sown in good soil: Nourished — hears the word, understands it; and bears fruit in many folds.
Brothers and sisters, Jesus wanted to warn the church of these circumstances, but there is good news! He wants us to know that if we ever find ourselves in a bind, strewn off the path, that we can always reach out to Him, change direction and be reinvigorated. Our Lord is the Sower. When the Word of God is planted in our hearts, He wants his garden to grow and flourish. This is the goal, the purpose and the hope that God has for His seed of truth.
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. Revelation 2:7
(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)
Prayer: Lord, I pray for my heart to be full of good soil so that your word can take root, grow and bear fruit.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for the gift of your Word. May our ears and hearts be open to receive the wisdom the words impart.