Prepare for Lent ~ Make Yourself Good Soil

SEXAGESIMA SUNDAY The seed is the word of God.

Sexagesima (seks'uh-jeh'sih-mah) Sunday


Feb. 3, 2012

This Sunday moves deeper into immediate preparation for Lent. It is a day of testing the soil of human hearts, to find out how ready everyone is for the good seed of grace that God is sure to offer. Has our vision enlarged to see all men as our brothers? Has our love reached out to all the world's sufferers, at least by sympathy and prayer? Is our hand open to the needy of our local community?

The Prayer recalls that in old Rome this Mass was always said at the "stational" church of St. Paul-outside-the-Walls.


Sexagesima Sunday GOSPEL ~ Luke 8. 4-15
† Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke.

   At that time, when a very great multitude was gathered together and hastened out of the cities unto Jesus, He spoke by a similitude: The sower weSower of Seed Holy Cardnt out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the wayside, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And other some fell upon a rock: and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And other some fell among thorns, and the thorns growing up with it choked it. And other some fell upon good ground: and being sprung up yielded fruit a hundredfold. Saying these things, He cried out: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And His disciples asked Him what this parable might be. To whom He said: To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, but to the rest in parables: that seeing they may not see, and hearing may not understand. Now the parable is this. The seed is the word of God. And they by the wayside are they that hear: then the devil cometh and taketh the word out of their heart, lest believing they should be saved. Now they upon the rock are they who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no roots: for they believe for a while, and in time of temptation they fall away. And that which fell away among thorns are they who have heard and, going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and yield no fruit. But on the good ground are they who in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit in patience.


Sexagesima Sunday
From Divine Intimacy by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

Presence of God - O Lord, I am here before you. Grant that my heart may
be the good ground, ready to receive Your divine word.

1. Today Jesus, the divine Sower, comes to scatter the good seed in His vineyard the Church. He wishes to prepare our souls for a new blossoming of grace and virtue.

"The seed is the word of God." Jesus Christ, the Word Incarnate, eternal Utterance of the Father, came to sow this word in the Sexagesimahearts of men; it is, as it were, a reflection of Himself. The divine word is not a sound which strikes the air and disappears rapidly like the word of men; it is a supernatural light which reveals the true value of things; it is grace, the source of power and strength to help us live according to the light of God. Thus it is a seed of supernatural life, of sanctity, of eternal life. This seed is never sterile in itself; it always has a vital, powerful strength, capable of producing not only some fruits of Christian life, but abundant fruits of sanctity. This seed is not entrusted to an inexperienced husbandman who, because of his ignorance might ruin the finest sowing. It is Jesus Himself, the Son of God, who is the Sower.

Then why does the seed not always bring forth the desired fruit? Because very often the ground which receives it does not have the requisite qualities. God never stops sowing the seed in the hearts of men; He invites them, He calls them continually by His light and His appeals; He never ceases giving His grace by means of the Sacraments; but all this is vain and fruitless unless man offers God a good ground, that is, a heart, well prepared and disposed. God wills our salvation and sanctification, but He never forces us; He respects our liberty.

2. Today's Gospel mentions four categories of people who receive the seed of the divine word in different ways.

THE HARD GROUND: souls that are frivolous, dissipated, open to all
distractions, rumors and curiosity; admitting all kinds of creatures and
earthly affections. The word of God hardly reaches their heart when the
enemy, having free access, carries it off, thus preventing it from taking

THE STONY GROUND: superficial souls with only a shallow layer of good
earth, which will be rapidly blown away, along with the good seed, by the
winds of passion. These souls easily grow enthusiastic, but do not
persevere and "in time of temptation fall away." They are unstable, because
they have not the courage to embrace renunciation and to make the sacrifices
which are necessary if one wishes to remain faithful to the word of God and
to put it into practice in all circumstances. Their fervor is a straw fire
which dies down and goes out in the face of the slightest difficulty.

THE GROUND COVERED WITH THORNS: souls that are preoccupied with
worldly things, pleasures, material interests and affairs. The seed takes
root, but the thorns soon choke it by depriving it of air and light.
Excessive solicitude for temporal things eventually stifles the rights of
the spirit.

Lastly, THE GOOD GROUND is compared by Jesus to those "who, with a good
and upright heart, hearing the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit in
patience." The good and upright heart is the one which always gives first
place to God, and His justice. The seed of the divine word will bear
abundant fruit in proportion to the good dispositions it finds in us:
recollection, a serious and profound interior life, detachment, sincere
seeking for the things of God above and beyond all earthly things, and
finally, perseverance, without which the word of God cannot bear its fruit
in us.

O Jesus, divine Sower, rightly do You complain of the arid, sterile
ground of my poor heart! What an abundant sowing of holy inspirations,
interior lights, and grace You have cast into my heart! How many times You
have invited me to come to You by special appeals, and how many times have I
stopped, after following You for a short time! O Lord, if only I could
understand the fundamental reason for my spiritual sterility, my instability
and inconstancy in good! Will Your light fail me? No, for You are
continually instructing and admonishing my soul in a thousand ways. Oh! if
so many souls living in error and not knowing You had received but a
hundredth part of the light which You have given me so profusely, how much
fruit would they not have drawn from it!

Will Your grace fail me? Is not Your grace my strength? O Lord, I see
that neither Your light nor Your strength will fail me; What I lack is the
perseverance which can faithfully withstand temptations, difficulties, and
darkness; which can face courageously the sacrifices and austerity of the
Christian life. It is easy to make sacrifices and to renounce oneself for a
day, but it is hard to keep on doing it always, every day of our life. Is
this not the reason that You said, O Lord, that the good heart brings forth
fruit "in patience"?

O Jesus, who endured with invincible patience your most sorrowful
Passion and death, give me the patience I need to keep up the struggle
against my passions and my self-love, patience to embrace with perseverance
all the sacrifices required by total detachment, to be able to live without
personal satisfactions and pleasures, to do everything that is repugnant to
me, that hurts me, that crosses me and is displeasing to my self-love.
O Lord, You know that I desire total purification because I long for
union with You; but You cannot purify me entirely if I cannot accept
patiently Your work: the trials, humiliations and detachments that You
prepare for me. O Jesus, divine Sufferer, give me Your patience; make me,
like Yourself, humble and patient.



*non-Catholic source


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