What have you sown?

By

6 May 2023

An understanding of what has gone before will help you plan for a better, more deep-rooted future.

Autumn is a beautiful season – a time of red sunsets and invigorating electrical storms that herald the inconsistent weather that will lead us into winter.

Over summer we have had our fill of relaxation and gatherings. This is the season of reflection. The harvest has been taken in and we are called to consider the value of the crop we have brought in.

As you take some time to contemplate the last few months reflect on your experiences, just as a farmer would the success of their harvest.

TAKE TIME TO REFLECT

Whether you are thinking about the past year or the summer and your holidays reflect on the process. What times did you feel joy and consolation? When did you experience sadness or desolation? Were these moments externally determined or did you make choices, good or bad, that led to these experiences? Overall, was your harvest good or bad, and how do you evaluate that position?

There is good and bad in all things and all experiences. In pondering the harvest, we need to be honest about what we did that brought good into the world and whether the good occurred because of others or good fortune. However the good came to be, take a moment to be grateful for the love you experienced. God can be found in all things and when you experience joy or love the presence of God or at least the echo of this is what has been felt. How lucky we are.

If there have been times of sorrow or hurt consider how these moments occurred. If you were the cause of these things determine a way in which you can seek forgiveness for this mistake and commit to not making the same error again. If you were harmed, acknowledge this pain and let it be, do not let yourself be guided by the hurt you feel. Consider how you can move forward profitably in spite of what your emotions may be asking of you.

BE SPECIFIC

Continue this reflection by being more specific in your examination. What did you sow that led to the harvest? When did you offer love, hope or joy to others or the world? What prompted you to go beyond yourself and give more than was required for the love of your brothers and sisters?

Farmers seek the best seed as they know it brings the biggest harvest. In your daily life the seed is specific to your situation and the need around you. Farmers grow different crops to ensure they don’t exhaust the soil and to ensure that external factors do not spoil the whole harvest.

Did you offer love in different ways? Are there new ways in which you are being called to bring light into the world? We all have preferred or natural ways of giving to others but there are many others that we can try: these may make the next harvest a bumper crop. There are so many opportunities to offer peace and bring joy into the lives of others each day. Plan ways in which you can sow different ‘crops’ while getting more out of your strongest ‘crop’.

Let the seasons guide you. As we move toward winter we enter a fallow time. This is a time where it seems little may grow but the time spent in preparing the soil is vital to a successful future. It is not a time of complacency or sloth. It is a time of intentionally choosing to build up the soil and embed the good intentions you hold.

Do not fall into the trap of believing that reflection alone will change the future. A successful future requires deliberate action and commitment. As with the soil you need to rest to allow all that has been given to be renewed. Be sure that you allow your plans to settle and become part of your intention for the future before you plant it in the soil; this is the good seed. Without this crucial step your reflection will be wasted, your plans will fail just as with New Year’s resolutions. If the roots are not deep the busyness of life will stunt or destroy the harvest.

TRUE HARVEST

As you end this reflection be aware that the harvest is the culmination of all that has occurred but the true harvest is the future, which has an exponential potential.

What has been will guide you to a bigger and more successful harvest in the future. Whether controlled by you or due to external factors, reflecting on what led to the harvest will lead you into a better future. But remember to plan. You have to prepare the soil, choose the best seed and choose the right time to plant the crop.

May you have a bumper harvest in the future and may it ‘bear fruit, 30-, 60- or 100-fold’ (Matt 13:8).

This article first appeared in Madonna magazine Autumn 2023 edition.

Brendan Nicholls is the liturgy coordinator at St Ignatius, Geelong.
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