Our souls, the part of us made in His very image are to be tended to with great care. He came to bring wholeness, freedom, and peace. If left to being unattended, our natural desires seem to dull the light of our soul that reflect the glory he can share through our eyes and lives and definitely have an impact on the quality of the fruit of our lives. Tending signifies something done regularly and frequently. For our souls, tending that soil creates a beautiful environment for soul formation and growth in the very center of who we truly are, in our hearts.
There are some tools, otherwise called spiritual disciplines with some having their roots in Judaism. As Christians, those who call his name and have chosen to be “Christ-like,” we are grafted in as God’s chosen people through our faith in His son. Tools are for drawing near to God.
As he resides in us, and as we desire to be like him, how much care is our soul getting, being regularly tended?
That beautiful place where he resides can be a beautiful garden so to speak where we meet with him.
Tending to the garden of our hearts cultivates the roots found there.
From Mark 4:16-18, we can see from Jesus’ teaching how vital are those roots!
“The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.”
How important then is the quality of the soil? For quality, it has to be tended regularly.
Some of those tools, spiritual disciplines, are meditating on His Word, the Prayer of Examen, the discipline of self-restraint, and sitting in His Presence in prayer and contemplation. These gentle keep the soil ready for seed to be able to take root. They also do not necessarily ensure a bountiful crop as there are other conditions needed for spiritual growth and maturity besides “doing” a spiritual discipline. They are never a means to an end. They are the beginning, a tool to help cultivate intimacy with God if the other conditions are in place; quality seeds, water, sunshine, and nutrients for the soul.
The seed only matures when embraced and protected in sweet communion with the master Gardner, God, and allowing Him to water nourishment through all seasons, some which seem barren to the natural eye. We also have to trust Him as He can use the tools to remove any debris, pebbles, or sharp rocks that would hinder growth in the soil as we reflect on Him and keep our eyes on Him, never a tool.
The beauty is when that quality seed takes root and begins to bear fruit leading to the mystery of spiritual formation, maturation, and transformation of the soul. The fruit bore is then to be shared!
His abiding unconditional love is what nurtures the root!
Psalm 139: 23-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Father God, may we actively be tending the garden of our hearts, so that you, our Master Gardener can plant your seeds of grace that produce and bear the fruit of origin. May you find our soil well nourished by allowing you to extricate any pebbles as we willingly self-examine our hearts in your Presence all the while being nurtured in your embrace to become exactly what we were created to be when you formed our very being. In Jesus Name, Amen
“Look after the roots and the fruits will look after themselves.” – Father Walter Adams, C.S. Lewis’ mentor
For Reflection: Slowly meditate on Mark 4:1-20. What are you drawn to in this passage? Why?