The Fruit of a Firm Foundation

There is nothing like a piece of ripe fruit. It is beautiful, colorful, juicy, sweet, nutritious, and delicious. In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us that good fruit can only come from a good tree and bad fruit (think rotten, spoiled, foul odor, unsatisfying), can only come from a bad tree. The tree, the fruit’s foundation, as it were, makes all the difference in the quality of what it produces.

So, a natural question here is: What do I produce? Consider: What comes out of my mouth? What thoughts rise up in my mind and heart? What actions flow from my daily efforts? Over the years I have found that the Ignatian practice of Examen prayer has proved so beneficial to ensuring that not only my mind but also my heart is gravitating closer and closer to the heart of Christ. In Examen prayer, I am not just conducting an examination of conscience as I might to prepare for the sacrament of Reconciliation, but rather I am considering the dispositions of my heart and mind throughout the day. If you are unfamiliar with Examen prayer, it would be well worth your time to learn about it. It is a way to discern the movements of God throughout your day so that you can seek to remain rooted in His Divine Love.

Dig Deeply

Jesus explains that the foundation is what makes all the difference in the face of the storms and floods of life. It keeps the house firm and stable upon it. This is something everyone desires – to feel this sense of security when the wind blows and water pelts from all sides.

How can we know we are standing on a firm foundation? Jesus uses some vivid imagery to help us understand. The man building the house “dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock.” He explains that this is the one “who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them.”

What does it mean to dig deeply? Jesus is continuously inviting us into the deep with Him. To go into the deep requires not so much effort of doing as it requires a willing submission, a letting go, allowing Him to sweep us away with Him. Are we willing to step off the shoreline? To let go of the pool’s edge? We do not have to worry that we will sink or lose our breath. Jesus knows how to breathe underwater. He breathes His life into our lungs. With Him, we breathe as if breathing for the first time.

Time to Let Go

So now, all we have left to do is let go of the edge. This is where we let go of our own will and release it to Him. We are perfectly safe in His Hands. Pray this prayer sincerely in your own words, with your whole heart, and your life will be transformed from the inside out. The more we let go of the illusion of control and self-sufficiency, the more we realize the folly of our own will, the firmer the foundation we will forge, because we will be in the very strong and provident Hands of a good, good Father.

[Readings: 1 Tm 1:15-17; Lk 6:43-49]

Celina Manville

I have been in education for 20+ years, mostly working in Catholic schools serving children with special needs. Ed and I have been married over 26 years and have 3 (now) adult children - Eddie, Tony, & Kateri. Since my mom was from Brazil, and I speak fluent Portuguese, I can understand Spanish fairly well. Currently, we live in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and are parishioners at St. Luke, the Evangelist Catholic Church in Raleigh. I am most grateful to my parents for grounding me in the faith, to the Franciscan University of Steubenville for its amazing formation and education, and to Christ and His Blessed Mother for being at my side.

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