NOW the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, that they may not believe and be saved.
And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy; but these have no root, they believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.
And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.
And as for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience.
From today’s Gospel reading, Luke 8:5-15.
ON our spiritual journey, there is something that constitutes a very great hurdle. And it is so very important, because if a man takes care over it, he gains so much.
But if he does not take care over it, a great deal will be lost.
This obstacle is called discouragement, disappointment, and it is to be found within the very fabric of our lives.
As we said on other occasions, the principles and guidelines with which we must begin are right faith and good intent.
The practical side, however, what is a matter of action, the active side of man, is that which proves him faithful, that is to say, sets the seal upon his confession.
On this practical side, a man either makes upward progress and is successful, or he drops down and loses his way.
The point that is so profitable for us lies in this: that we should not lose our courage, but carry on despite all the difficulties and complications that crop up when putting it into practice. […]
AS the Fathers have handed on to us, many times even Grace itself departs from a man – wanting to teach him and to lift him up to a higher level of practical experience – it leaves him deliberately at risk of sin – in order to stir up all the more his desire for its opposite.
And in receiving wounds, a man learns the way by which these things come, and then he loves God more sincerely, because he sees his affection; but he also abhors the devil to greater effect, seeing his evil and cunning and ruthlessness in his quest to bring us down.
What we hold on to, and what is for us an anchor of every hope, indisputable and tangible, is that divine Grace remains with us.
BEFORE I was afflicted, I transgressed; therefore have I kept thy word. Good art thou, O Lord; therefore in thy goodness teach me thine ordinances.
The injustice of the proud has been multiplied against me: but I will search out thy commandments with all my heart. Their heart has been curdled like milk; but I have meditated on thy law.
It is good for me that thou hast afflicted me; that I might learn thine ordinances.
Psalm 118:67-71 (LXX)