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Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Divine Mustard Seed

The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard-seed,
which a man took and sowed in his field.
(Gospel of VI after Epiphany.)

I believe that this man
who took the grain of mustard
and who planted it in the earth of his garden
is no other than Joseph of Arimathea,
who took the Body of Jesus and who buried It in his garden,
and who,
in burying It in his garden,
buried It more intimately in his heart.
(St. Ambrose).

The Noble Joseph,
When he had taken down
Thy most pure Body from the tree,
Wrapped it in fine linen,
And anointed it with spices,
And placed it in a new tomb.

This mustard seed comes out of the ground
and raises itself above the other plants;
Jesus Christ rises from the tomb and by His Almighty power
ascends far above the false reasoning of the philosophers
and the glory of the prophets.

The great branches and extended shoots of this high tree
are the Apostles come out from Jesus Christ,
whose preaching has been heard in all the earth.

The birds of the air that find shelter in the branches of this tree
and who nourish themselves on the fruit of this tree
are redeemed souls;
souls detached and elevated
who, supported on the doctrine of the Apostles
nourish themselves with their heavenly doctrine,
where they find life,
and in these branches they find themselves sheltered
from the whirlwinds of temptations.

The Three dispositions to perfection:

The first disposition to perfection is humility.

The first disposition to perfection is humility,
described as the mustard-seed "the least indeed of all seeds"
which keeps its power within itself
while externally showing nothing to make itself attractive:
having externally no smell, taste or perfum that flatters the senses.

The second disposition to perfection is fervour of spirit.

The Divine Fire
The second disposition to perfection is fervour of spirit
which is demonstrated by the mustard seed
that becomes fiery when it is crushed.

Thus the Faith appears to be of little importance to the eyes of the body:
the seed is small, without attractive appearance:
a Man-God humiliated, flagellated, crowned with thorns,
crucified, dead and buried;
as it were crushed;
Whose power and strength was never better demonstrated
than when He was placed under the pressure of persecution and tribulation
to crush and break Him.

It was then that he demonstrated the vigour of His Divine Fire:
when He rose triumphant from the dead
treading beneath His Feet the devils
and by His Death destroying death.

The Third disposition to perfection
is the desire of spiritual fruitfulness.

The branches of the mustard tree which come forth from it,
according to St Ambrose,
signify the Apostles and apostolic men
who have come forth from and who are sent by Jesus Christ,
to draw souls to Himself.

How many great patriarchs, bishops, religious orders and lay faithful,
in the East and in the West,
from the first centuries of the Church until our own time,
have attracted souls to Jesus Christ
and established holy communities
to serve as their refuge, their place of rest
where they are nourished by the savoury doctrine of the Gospel.

Fit arbor, facit ramos magnos,
ita ut volueres coeli veniant, et habitent in ramis ejus,
requiescant, et nidulentur.
-St. Ambrose

1 comment:

Anne B said...

Very beautiful ponderings and backed up perfectly adequately. The parable has become a living reality of which, by the Grace of God, man can be a part.

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