Today’s Gospel: Matthew 7:15-20
I had been driving back roads one summer day when I saw a flowering tree growing near a ditch-line. Its shape was odd and from a distance I mistook it for a very large shrub. As I neared I saw the tree had been broken in two. The sight of a tree split in half is not uncommon, but to see one split like this and flowering profusely was a reason to stop.
The shattered tree had not matured, but still a good size. The trunk was split down the center and half of the tree rested on the ground. What had broken it to its core, leaving it forever contorted?
I walked into the ditch and looked up the incline. I had a clear view of the tree’s trunk. I tried to determine if it had been snow and ice that caused the break, lightning, or a wind sheer. I decided it didn’t matter what had caused the damage; it was a wonder the tree had lived at all. By the looks of it and the ground underneath, the tree still fruited.
Taking a few steps toward the tree I bent down under the flowering limbs and closer to its scarred frame. I was tentative about placing my hand against the smooth bark, but felt lighter after having touched the tree’s disfigured trunk.
The tree’s life had been shortened by the wounding; the damage had caused unexpected stress to its growth. Standing before that tree I was in awe because, though severely damaged, it lived, flowered, and bore good fruit. I wondered if those of us who have been deeply wounded, and who are working with God to manage our pain, are living examples as beautiful and fruitful as this tree.
When have you seen someone who had been bent by life, and though broken in some way, still able to bear good fruit?
Lord, though I have been hurt, help me to gather for You the good fruits in the garden of my soul.
Copyright 2018 Margaret Rose Realy Obl. OSB
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