All flourishing plants have a few things in common. They all have some kind of stable and viable root system, they all are making and storing food well and they are fulfilling the purpose they were designed for. As our tender Gardener, Jesus wishes all the same things for us. He wants our roots to go deep. We should be feeding ourselves from the food He gives us. And we should be striving to be the best-version-of-ourselves each day. Let’s look at each of these in turn.
As Christians, we must be rooted in the Word of God. Both the Old Testament and New Testament are treasures of God’s relationship with the people of God. The lessons and promises are meant for each of us just as much as they were for those who heard them first. When we are steeped in the Word we are not so easily swayed by temptations or passing cultural fads which seek to pull us down.
What better food could Christ give us than Himself? In the Eucharist, we receive the living Christ into our very bodies. The Eucharist, as Lumen Gentium #11 states, “is the source and summit of the Christian life.” There can be no replacement for the Eucharist.
This handy phrase is one of Catholic author Matthew Kelly’s favorites. By it, he means becoming the person God intended you to be. This is a life-long venture that we will be continually striving after. Each choice we make puts us one step closer or farther away from this best-version-of-ourselves. Being the best-version-of-yourself in plant terms would be flourishing. Plants can grow and grow well, but if their leaves wither or flowers fade they are not truly flourishing. We are called to flourish, to bear fruit that brings forth life.
As Advent approaches, let’s step back and seriously consider our overall spiritual health. Are we well rooted, well fed and flourishing? Which of these areas could we focus on?
One excellent resource that can help you deepen your roots are these Free Advent Journals. One journal focuses on the Sunday readings. Each day throughout the week you will have the opportunity to soak in the readings for the upcoming Sunday. There are also reflections based on the readings to help you dig deeper into these rich stories. The other is a Lectio Divina Journal. Lectio Divina, or Divine Reading, is a way to read Scripture in a very intentional way. Each day, I have prayerfully selected one or two verses from the daily readings to be your Scriptural focus for the day. There is space to write down what stands out to you, what you feel God is speaking to you through these words, and how you wish to prayerfully respond to the movements of the Spirit within you.
In doing research for the first Advent Journal, I stumbled upon this quote from St. Clare of Assisi. I think it beautifully sums up what we are seeking this Advent season.
We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become.
Copyright 2019 Kate Taliaferro