As I grow in faith, as we each grow in faith, I realize how closely Jesusâ€™ life and our lives with Him follow the natural growth cycle. Jesusâ€™ life cycle follows an ageless growing cycle: the preparation for His birth, the planting of the Nativity, the nurturing cultivation of His life and teachings, and the abundance of the harvest in His dying and Resurrection.
With the Ascension last week the Apostles briefly felt empty as Jesus left them alone and went to be with His father in heaven (seeÂ Acts 1:7-11).
This is the same emptiness we feel when we are hungry or have not eaten properly, when we choose a starvation diet or to be nourished by food which is either sweet or “rotten.” Yet we know God never leaves us empty, alone, or unfed if we live for and through Him.
Do we believe Jesus when He said â€œeat my flesh,â€ or are we the Jews who quarreled among themselves and then left Jesus (see John 6:66)?
In receiving the Eucharist, our growing cycle is always fulfilled. He promised the Apostles the guidance to new life in the abundant gift of the Spirit of Pentecost. And in his flesh and blood given us in the Eucharist at the Last Supper when He said, â€œDo this in memory of me.â€ (In old Greek, memory means â€œmake present today.â€)
We may each be in a different place in different parts of the life cycle. However, just as the growth of a plant must be nurtured by God thru Mother Nature, so must our own lives be nurtured by receiving the Eucharist regularly and following Godâ€™s plan in Holy Scripture. If we are to live spiritually our life cycle must follow Jesusâ€™ life so that we will wisely â€œprocessâ€ the food that He has prepared, planted, cultivated, and harvested. We will then be sustained by the harvest and enriched with a new and more abundant life – the richness of heaven.
So where am I in the growing cycle? Am I in preparation, seeking what is right? Am I planted firmly in my faith, following the truth? Am I being cultivated properly, growing in faith by adding spiritual food (regular church attendance, daily prayer, friends, books, music, etc.) which will lead to an abundant harvest? Am I harvesting, spreading the good news, gathering, and mentoring those who are seeking a role model in Christ and spreading new seed to continue the growth cycle?
And regardless of which part of the cycle, am I always feeding myself with His abundant Spirit and the Eucharist â€”leaving aside the â€œsweetnessâ€ that society tempts us with (materialism) or setting aside the â€œrottenâ€ untruths of the culture (sexual impurities, gossip, etc)?
Heavenly Father, Praise be your nurturing fulfillment in Your Spirit. Help me to always seek the fulfillment of Your true food (the Eucharist) and to avoid the temptations of the sweet and rotten. Thank you for enriching me with great friends and role models. Thank you for the many blessings You give me and for the richness of faith You have implanted in me. Amen.
Prepare, plant, grow, harvest, and be fed abundantly!
Â© 2011 Charlotte Upah, Monday Morning Reflection