Don't Heed the Weeds.

Friday, August 7, 2020



The weeds will come.

They’ll come at night when you’re about to go to sleep, or when you’re driving to Target on a random Wednesday afternoon. They’ll come and they’ll crowd out that decision you made in soundness of heart and sureness of spirit. They’ll try to convince you that you’re making a mistake, that the peace you’ve been feeling is only of a superficial sort and not the abiding kind. They’ll whisper that you should turn around and go back, that you should slam the brakes instead of accelerating into the unknown. They’ll tell you that the Lord is a God of scarcity and not of abundance, that there’s nothing for you where you’re going, that you’re leaving the best behind.

These are insidious lies.

I believe that if weeds are showing up, it’s actually a surefire sign that we are doing something hard and holy and brave and good.

Jesus uses so many parables in the Gospels to describe the Kingdom of Heaven, but I’ve been meditating on one in particular since it was read at Mass a couple Sundays ago. In Mt 13: 24-30, Jesus compares the Kingdom to a humble farmer who sows good seed in his field. The farmer is pretty excited about all the potential in that field, about all the good wheat that’s going to be grown, but then his enemy comes in the middle of the night and tries to sabotage his crops by sowing weeds there, too. The farmer’s slaves are alarmed to see weeds growing alongside the wheat, and they ask him: “Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?” Their master doesn’t hesitate: “An enemy has done this.”

An inspiration of the Holy Spirit, which can often be identified -- at least in part -- by the consolation it brings, is the good seed which the Lord sows in our own lives. But if we are doing the work of the Holy Spirit, we can be sure that we will face opposition. The Evil One will plant weeds, because he can’t stand watching us use our gifts and talents to further the Kingdom of God.

Sometimes those weeds might take the form of external obstacles to fulfilling God’s will, but most often, I see them as those doubts, fears, and lies that try to convince us we’ve made a mistake and should abandon our efforts. Recently, I’ve felt this in my own life with regard to moving across the country and going back to school. I’m worried I heard the Lord wrong, that maybe this will prove an unwise decision, after all. I’m afraid I won’t find community. I’m nervous about budgeting on a graduate student stipend. I’m worried I might fail all my classes. I’m anxious about all things COVID-19. These fears pile up to persuade me that I’ve made a terrible mistake, and that I’m better off staying where I am, that I’m safer here.

In these moments, I’m tempted to wring my arms in despair and ask God, “Hey, what’s happening here? Didn’t You sow good seed in this field? Didn’t I make this decision in peace? Where did the weeds come from?”


But He looks at me, when I want to turn back, and says, “An enemy has done this.” And His meaning is plain: Don’t heed the weeds. Don’t listen to the Evil One. There is Kingdom Work for you ahead. Press on.

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