I remember in the early 1970's, my Mother would tend to her garden scooting from one plant to the next.
It would begin with using a rototiller and a hoe. We would make the straight lines and plant what ever vegetibles we were placing in the uprooted dirt.
We would make a full fledged garden with the plow. Once the seed was planted, we would fill the holes with dirt.
We would keep all the weeds out of it and keep it cleared so that the plants would take root and grow.
The Sun would come out giving the light and the rain would come down and water the plants.
It would always be a lot of work and my Mother was totally dedicated in maintaining it.
She would take great care to ensure her garden was well maintained.
If she needed work, she had my Brother and I to do the things she couldn't.
What a great gift our Mother was in giving us this great example.
She had her back broke in two places and she would literally scoot from one plant to the next.
In remembering all this, it reminds me of a spiritual truth that is easily missed.
People question the need of penance challenging me why they need to do penance at all.
It is to fill the holes left as a consequence of sin.
The sin is forgiven in the Confessional, sure enough, the Lord is merciful and true.
But what is left is the hole as a result of the damage due to the sin.
The Lord wants to plant his seed of grace to nurture healing in the wound.
Once the seed is planted, He fills the holes with grace.
Jesus gives us the means to keep all the weeds out of it and he keeps it cleared so the grace will take root and grow.
We must cooperate with his grace in order for it to grow.
The Son shining His grace upon your wounds allows the wounds to receive the nurtients necessary.
This is the purpose of the Sacraments, especially Confession.
St. John the Baptist said to "Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance."
This is the sign of the spiritual heaing that takes place with the healing of the wounds, the plugging of the holes.
This is very important, the Church is here to till the dirt, to clean out the weeds and allow the grace to take root and grow. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, to give us the gift of God's grace found in the Sacraments.
The struggles of life can deepen the wounds, sure enough. Sin can cause the wounds to bust and boil, become infected.
True healing comes when you keep the wounds clean. As they say, cleanliness is next to Godliness!
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