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The wheat and the weeds

For us as Marists, July 23rd is an important date. It commemorates the event in 1816 when our founder, Fr Colin, newly ordained and others, including St Marcellin Champagnat, climbed the steep hill rising above the city of Lyon to the chapel of Our Lady of Fourviere. Twelve young men pledged that they would do all in their power to see that the Society of Mary come to fruition. It is referred to as the pledge of Fourviere. It took constant prayer, reflection, hard work, continuous communication, disappointment, and considerable opposition before the priest branch of the Society was approved by Rome in 1836. Some of the original signatories did not persevere.

When it comes to living out our faith and achieving our dreams, our resolve can be tested. Life can wear us down and we can decide to give up because nothing seems to be going according to plan. We are grateful to our founders for persevering despite the challenges they faced.

This life of ours can be incredibly messy. We live with tension within and with tension without. We have to deal with our own contradictions and those of others around us. One of today’s parables from Matthew 13:24-43 can speak to this situation. The kingdom of heaven (God) may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in a field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came and sowed darnel all among the wheat and made off.’ We live with the reality of wheat among weeds in ourselves and in the world around us. We are all made of the same stuff and need to be weary of pointing the finger at others we may think miss the mark or do not make the grade. We are called to persevere despite the contradictions.

Our early Marist founders were born at time of the French Revolution. Society and what was considered the status quo was completely turned upside down. The Church was implicated and caught up in the turmoil and aftermath. One might think what has changed. It is interesting to note that after such upheaval, France experienced a huge outpouring of the Spirit and many religious congregations and lay groups were founded to serve the needs of the poor and people ignorant of the Gospel. Many turned away from following Christ but so many others were inspired to follow Christ because of the pain, disintegration, suffering and ignorance they saw around them. They became what another parable speaks of today, the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.’

Every day we pray in the Our Father that ‘Thy Kingdom Come’. The fullness of the God's Kingdom will never be fully realized in this world but God’s kingdom is here and we are called to encourage its presence and be instruments in bringing it about. Despite the challenges we face and the horrific events that take place even in our own backyard may we faithfully keep to that task.

You may like to listen to 'Salve Regina' track 8 from 'Pilgrims of the Heart.'

Blessings on your week.

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