Reading From St. Mark The Ascetic
“Do not claim to have acquired virtue unless you have suffered affliction,
for without affliction virtue has not been tested”
~ on The Spiritual Law Two Hundred Texts, The Philokalia Vol 1
Reading from The Book of Job
“I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, “Who is this that obscures my plans
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know
~ Chapter 42, Verses 2-5
Reading from the Gospel of Luke
“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.
And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,
And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,
And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.
And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:
A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?
And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
+Praise be to God
~ Chapter 8, Verses 1-15
Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.In the three readings todays we have examples of those who suffered greatly in their lives before finding their love of God. It is in the unlikeliest of places that God’s love can and does manifest. The seed that does germinate in the unlikeliest field, the heart, body, and spirt that has suffered the worst of pain should be the first hand outstretched to relieve it. St. Mark lived with nothing but his love of God, Job was tormented by God himself in everyway to craft his soul into a ready vessel, and Mary Magdalene having known torment of many kinds was freed and became the steadfast companion of Christ here in this and other moments of his ministry, at his mother’s side as he shed his earthly body, and she was the first to witness he was Risen, as she went to anoint and honor him further.
It is in this last lesson that we learn to truly love, serve because we know what it is to be broken, love because we have felt the want of it in our soul. Mary’s love for Christ was shown in action of active compassion and mercy beyond his death. Christ’s mercy to Mary Magdalene is not stationary it is active in freeing her of seven devils he gives her seven graces, seven gifts of the holy spirit. These are gifts that must be given and shared and are as real as his word in this Gospel. It is no accident that She and the 12 are present at this parable, they were to live them, and as if these words were spoken today so are we. Let us be as Mary Magdalene and being free of our devils generous with our Graces.