Lent Day 2 – Mustard Seeds

by Bishop Robert Barron


Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, “the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants…so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade” (Matthew 13:31).

The first Christians understood Jesus to be speaking of his Church, the mystical body that began in the smallest way, but has come in time to be home to the nations of the world. The mustard seed of the Church began with a thirty-year-old man, dying on an instrument of torture, his disciples having fled, and his enemies mocking him. But it grew into the Body of Christ composed of billions of people in every country on the planet, and many more in heaven.

Watch this pattern repeated up and down the centuries. Francis of Assisi was something of a drifter, a young man who had repudiated the way of his father and was following the prompting of the Lord. Most people saw him as crazy, dangerous, and deranged. Soon, he attracted followers, and their number grew into the hundreds. The first Franciscan missionaries were stoned, chased away, or killed. But within a hundred years of Francis’s death, they were a world-wide organization—a mustard seed, indeed.

Mother Teresa left the relative comfort of her convent behind high walls in Calcutta and walked out into the streets of the worst slum in the world. Anyone seeing her with ordinary eyes would have written her off. But soon enough, she attracted followers who established her order in Calcutta, then around India, then in Venezuela, Rome, New York, London, and around the world. Another mustard seed.

This Lent, what mustard seed can you plant that might grow into a great tree where the birds of the air make their nests?

   

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  • Catherine Stockermans

    Thank you Bishop Barron. I want to plant a mustard seed! Thank you for your words over the past decade or so that have made this mustard see grow. You’ll never know while on this earth the seeds that you have nourished. May God bless you, and keep you.

  • Henrietta Celestin

    I enjoyed the people that were used as examples. Your take on these three give me hope that my seed will be sewed through my grandchildren.

  • Becky

    That’s an eye opener…how many seeds of the Faith have you planted and nurtured? Even with working in the ministery of the Cursillo Movement for many years now this has given me something to reflect on. Many Women come to encounter Christ on the 3- day weekend but how many struggle out in the world to stay planted! All Praise to God for my Spiritual Group that meets each week. Surrounding ourselves with the right people who will encourage, challenge and love us where we are is a Gift from God.
    Stay Planted My Brothers and Sisters so you may be the example of living a life of Grace and attract others!
    Have a Blessed Day!

  • William John Meegan

    Yesterday, Bishop Barron spoke of the ashes, which are placed on the forehead of the congregant. There is an extraordinary amount of biblical symbolism
    imbued into that initiatic ritual especially when Bishop Barron follows up the very next day with the symbolism of the Mustard Seed. Catholicism never-ever does anything religiously that does not imitate the WORD OF GOD.

    When you contemplate the symbolism of the Lenten season and Ash Wednesday inaugurating the Lenten season process you must ask yourself, why Wednesday? It is not because Wednesday is the very center of the week? It is as if the Initiatic Visionary Experience, which the Lenten season symbolizes comes crashing in on you in the very center of your life. Is it not extraordinary that the CROSS is place at the center of your forehead? The CROSS not only inaugurates the Lenten season; but, it also end the Lenten season, with the crucifixion of Christ. If you truly contemplate the Lenten season you will understand why Christ was born and why he had to be crucified. They are one and the same instant stretched out over the life span of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

    Notice the CROSS that is placed on the forehead of the congregant right where the third-eye is said to be situated in the center the head: i.e. the Pineal Gland. Do you think it is an accident that this CROSS of ashes is place at the very location of the smallest organ of the body, which is known throughout the world as THE SEAT OF THE SOUL? The soul is not materialistic; thus, it can be called a Mustard Seed; whereas, in the Vatican gardens there is a very large sculpted Pine Cone, which is what the Pineal Gland is translated as symbolizing. Now look at the biological aspects of the pine cone, which shows the dynamics of the Golden Ratio, which both Elohym (86 = 5) and Yahweh (26 = 8) symbolize (5/8), where Christ is symbolically in the center of them as the ALEPH: “When two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them”. Every numerical set in the Fibonacci sequence can be reduced to a 2/3 ratio. The Pine Cone symbolizes the Trinity as does the DNA molecule; for the reason that, life cannot exist without the DNA molecule. Yes, you can have the double helix; but, without Christ life is merely bland existence no different than that of the instincts of animals.

    The average person does not contemplate symbolism in relationship to what went before or what comes after. When reading the bible or visiting Chartres Cathedral or the Sistine Chapel no one thinks in terms of what was in the past in relationship to the symbolism they are looking at and they miss so much of the WORD OF GOD. Let me give you an example of this symbolic idea.

    The Sphinx we know lies in Egypt. Initially there was merely the HEAD and the sands of the desert covered the body of the Sphinx. It is said that the Sphinx HEAD was carved out of a yardang and that the body of the Sphinx was later carved from the granite rock beneath the head. Do you know what they did with that granite rock they took from around the body of the Sphinx? They build the Sphinx’s Temple right in front of the Sphinx making the Temple the Sphinx raison d’être; however, now that the body of the Sphinx is shown in all its nakedness the sands of the deserts covered up the body of the Sphinx.
    Does that story sound a little familiar from out of the Adam and Eve story? The sands (critics in the materialistic world) of the deserts come from all over the desert dictating societal mores: i.e. its rules and regulations.

    Notice that the Temple of God is in front of the Sphinx. It is also curious that when the Ark of the Covenant was in the Holy of Holies it was not in the center of the room but off to the side. The center of the Holy of Holies was above the FOUNDATION STONE, which the Jews interpret as the Pineal Gland.

    Fast Forward to the first word of Genesis: BERESHITH when only the letter BETH of Genesis existed and this rich man depended solely upon his instincts like the animals and all of a sudden RESH (20th Hebrew letter), which is interpreted as HEAD coming crashing in on the soul and BETH splits apart and the word BE-RESH-ITH (Bereshith = first word of Genesis) appears. When RESH vertically insinuated itself upon BETH horizontally (prone lackadaisical position like the “Creation of Adam” on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel) the CROSS was created: i.e. the Birth of Christ and from that mustard seed comes life everlasting.

    It behooves every Catholic to build the Temple of God within his soul and this is what the growth of the Mustard Seed symbolizes.

    There is a great deal more to all this symbolism; but, I have already taken up too much space.

    • concerned citizen

      William, I think and I may be wrong, but Ash Wednesday was arrived at by going backwards when Good Friday is. From Good Friday, you count backwards 40 days of fasting, excluding Sundays for six weeks and you will arrive at Ash Wednesday as the start of Lent.

      • William John Meegan

        God, not the Church determines the Holy Days of the year, regardless of your theories. There is a great deal in the symbolism of 40-days, which most people do not take into account.

        Christ was just Baptized by John the Baptist and entering into the desert is symbolic of the congregant (priest after the Order of Melchizedek), which is truly the only Holy Priest in Catholicism, even the ordained institutionalized priests are these priests. No ordained priest is better than a congregant in the Church.

        Entering into the desert for 40-days is symbolic of the Baptism for the number forty (Hebrew letter MEM) has the symbolic value of WATER. The DESERT takes on the symbolism of WATER because like the vast oceans the deserts on the face of the earth are also vast. Symbolically the desert symbolizes the secular world; for the reason that, there is no life in the so-called civilized materialistic secular world. That is why civilization is called a wilderness or desert or jungle where all the animals reside. Like the birds that came out of the waters in the fifth day of creation in the first chapter of Genesis CHRIST came out of the desert after being tempted by all the pleasures of the world via wily trickster coyote Satan.

        Christ both through the Baptism of the teachings of the Holy Scriptures (Old Testament) and through the temptations of the wily trickster coyote Satan chose his own raison d’etre, which is basically his own Garden of Eden. Each human being create his own heaven and earth in this world; thus, by CHRIST rising up out of the waters of Baptism (Holy Scriptures = Heaven) and emerging from the desert (earth = pleasures of the secular world) he became the GOD/MAN CHRIST, which is precisely imitating the first verse of Genesis: “in the beginning God separated (Bara = created) the heavens and the earth”. That separation from the HEAVENS and the EARTH created a sweet spot in the center called the VESICA PISCIS (see the image over the central Royal Portal door at Chartres Cathedral). The Vesica Piscis is CHRIST’S raison d’etre.

        What you do not know is that by CHRIST rising up out of the waters of Baptism and emerging from the desert’s temptation in and of itself prefigured the CROSS he would eventually be crucified on. CHRIST chose to be crucified. CHRIST chose his destiny.

        • concerned citizen

          William, sorry for not explaining myself well. I did not mean to question the symbol of 40 days. I am just saying that the Day of Ashes just happen to be on a Wednesday, precisely because of the 40 days of fasting counting backwards from Good Friday. I do realize the symbolism of 40 days. Having said that, your explanation of the symbolism is much appreciated. This is however the first time I have heard of this and I thank you for sharing it with us. I have not yet absorbed it all though. Maybe over the weekend, I will find time to reflect on what you said.

          • William John Meegan

            There are no coincidences in spirituality. We live in a very mystical realm: i.e. the phantasmagoria of the psyche. If you can understand that the world does not exist, never did exist and never will exist you may envisage the mystical spiritual realm that we exist in. Those things that seem coincidental were foreordained before the foundations of the earth.

  • jesspinosa

    This morning, I am headed for a Planned Parenthood facility to pray for the unborn. The temperature right now is 24 degrees, with a windchill factor of 14. Rain or shine or snow or wind, my fellow pro-lifers stand in peaceful vigil. During one particular snowy day, one prayer warrior stood in the snow with rosary in hand. Her photo appeared in the Planned Parenthood website with this caption, “Look at what these crazy people do.” We hope and pray that the photo served as a mustard seed in the minds of the abortionists, staff and volunteers (we know they see us from their windows). Indeed, we are Fools for Christ, like St. Francis of Assisi and Blessed Mother Teresa, and will continue to be so until the scourge of abortion is banished from the face of the earth.

    • Patrick Cassidy

      Amen to that! Let them mock us all they want. We are of the Flock and nobody is greater than our Shepherd!

      • jesspinosa

        Patrick, if you are in the NY area, come and pray with us. PP is located at the corner of Mott and Bleecker. Would you believe – in the opposite corner in the same block is the Sheen Center. We know our good priest, soon to be a saint, is praying for and with us.

        • Patrick Cassidy

          I live on LI, is that on the island, in the city…?

          • jesspinosa

            Patrick, this is in Manhattan. Just got back from PP, trying to defrost. Despite the multi-layers, it was still so darn cold, I think I had more layers than a wedding cake! ☺ During my 2-hour shift, 40 women entered that hell of a place.

          • http://findmeinflorida.wordpresscom stark61555

            GONNA BE NICE AND ASK ONE Q: WHAT FACTS DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THEM? Were they allllll going to have an abortion? Sometimes they are getting free exams and not even near preggy. Why isn’t the church providing THE HEALTH CARE AND FREE DOC VISIT THAT THEY GO THERE TO GET? Just answer. OK? Why are we not doing it. Hey they uhhh Card D closed St. Vinnys I was born there in 63. Sad sad sad. Used to be free. But no one protested that. I live in Florida and even the seculars here do more than up there. I have been here over 40 years.

    • Kathy Lamb

      What a beautiful story. It brought tears to my eyes.

    • Dude_Abides

      Yes echo that… big AMEN to you, Jess, and all the brothers and sisters carrying this torch. I love the moniker “Fools for Christ”; believe inspired from 1 Cor 4:10. A phrase that is often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi goes something like: “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.”
      Though there is no direct evidence he ever said this or is it in any of his writing’s, still an expression to be contemplative to action. Here I take from the Ignatian (Jesuit) mantra to be “Contemplatives in Action.”
      “The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.” (Mark 6:30)

    • Barbara Ann Baugh

      I will be praying for you during these Forty Days

  • Patrick Cassidy

    Have any of you ever heard of Bar Khoba? He was a revolutionary in 2nd century. He gained fame, and a following similar to Jesus. He tried to overthrow the oprressors and ended up crucified. His disciples fled and then….that was the end of Bar Khoba. Just another paragraph in the history book. There is obviously something special about Christianity. We proclaim our Lord to be a man who was crucified and died, but was resurrected. There are many people who would dismiss Christianity as just another religion, not unlike the Romans, Greeks or other pagans. But, where are the Roman gods now? What about the Greeks? Our Lord Jesus is alive and conquered sin and death. The mustard seed that is the Church is not like anything that ever was, is or will ever be!

  • Don S

    Thank you Bishop Barron, your Lenten reflections gave me the inspiration to nurture my faith and go to the desert of my soul. Searching Jesus maybe hard but I just have to learn how to wait. God bless

  • Elizabeth

    Anyway I can, I try to bring the importance of having a prayer life. Today’s prayer request are for those who are suffering in Syria and those around the world:

    Please join us in a worldwide prayer for Syria and Other Troubled Areas requested by Pope Francis.

    When: Today at 11:00 am (EST)

    the details of this prayer request follow: Prayers before the first decade of the Luminous Mystery – The Baptism of Jesus with a special prayer for those effected, ending with a Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes.

    For those who want to continue the remainder of the Luminous Mystery, they are listed underneath the prayer.

    I pray, through our prayers today, those who need conversion of heart are transformed in order to lessen the burden on those suffering in Syria and other troubled areas of the world.

    Elizabeth

    Prayer for Syria and Other Troubled Areas

    Pope Francis is once again appealing to the Christian Community for prayers for martyred Syria. It has been four and a half years of armed conflict, and more than 250,000 Syrians have lost their lives and more than a million others have been forced to leave their homes. Last October, there were also 11 Christian missionaries who were beheaded as they refused to leave Syria. They felt they were called to share Christ with those caught in the crossfire.

    Today, in response to the appeal of Pope Francis and also at the request of our sister Elizabeth, we – your humble gardeners, decided that we, the Rosary Soldiers of Mary, join our hands once more on this Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes and storm the heavens with prayers that there may be peace in Syria and other troubled spots in the world.

    Let us pray together to our Blessed mother to intercede to our Lord for the plights of Syria and the other troubled areas at 1600 GMT today which are the following local times :

    New York : 11.00am

    Chicago : 10.00am

    San Francisco : 8.00am

    UK / Ireland : 4.00pm

    India : 9.30pm

    Philippines / : 12 midnight

    Singapore

    PRAYER

    (1) In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

    (2) The Apostle Creed:

    I believe in God, the Father almighty,

    Creator of heaven and earth,

    and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.

    He was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

    and born of the Virgin Mary.

    He suffered under Pontius Pilate,

    was crucified, died and was buried.

    He descended into hell.

    On the third day He rose again.

    He ascended into heaven,

    and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

    He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

    I believe in the Holy Spirit,

    the Holy Catholic Church,

    the communion of saints,

    the forgiveness of sins,

    the resurrection of the body,

    and life everlasting. Amen.

    (3) Pray 1 “Our Father”, 3 “Hail Mary’s” for the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity; and then 1 “Glory Be”:

    (4) Contemplate on the first Luminous Mystery : The Baptism of Jesus – I Desire to Live My Baptismal Promises

    (5) Pray for Syria and Other Troubled Areas :

    Almighty eternal God, source of all compassion,

    the promise of your mercy and saving help fills our hearts with hope.

    Hear the cries of the people of Syria and other troubled areas,

    bring healing to those suffering from the violence,

    and comfort to those mourning the dead.

    Empower and encourage Syria’s neighbors and the neighbors of other troubled areas in their care and welcome for refugees.

    Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms,

    and strengthen the resolve of those committed to peace. Amen.

    (6) Pray 10 “Hail Mary’s” then 1 “Glory Be”

    (7) Then Pray :

    Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for Syria and other troubled areas of the world! Amen.

    If you wish to pray all five Luminous Mysteries, please continue with (4) to (7) for the second to the fifth Mysteries.

    Second Luminous Mystery : Christ’s Self-Manifestation at Cana (Wedding at Cana) – I Desire to Do Whatever Jesus Says

    Third Luminous Mystery : Proclamation of the Kingdom of God – I Desire God’s Forgiveness

    Fourth Luminous Mystery : The Transfiguration – I Desire to Be a New Person in Christ

    Fifth Luminous Mystery : Institution of the Eucharist – I Desire Active Participation at Mass

    God Bless

    • Barbara Ann Baugh

      Thank you Elizabeth. It will be time here in less than an Hour. I will pray the Rosary At this time I will also unite all my pain today with the sufferings of the Christians and others who are suffering in the Middle East and Asian Countries

    • Barbara Ann Baugh

      I have prayed the Rosary and meditated on the mysteries. At the appointed hour. Thank you for posting this

  • TulsaVic

    On the Feast of our Lady if Lourdes, another mustard seed in Bernadette Soubirous

  • Vilma

    Bishop Barron – always encouraging. I started blogging last October – http://www.shepherdoffaith.com – I’m not even well versed in SEOs and driving traffic to my blog but I felt called to focus on building God’s Kingdom through my writing. So here I am several months later and my blog is reaching many countries and people. I’m sure traffic could be better if I knew a bit more but I’m learning as I go and I have faith that God will lead them to it!

    • Barbara Ann Baugh

      I subscribed to your Blog Thank you so much

      • Vilma

        Great Barbara! Hope you enjoy it! Thank you.

  • Kathy Lamb

    I told Father Adam I feel like I’m trying to convert those who don’t need converting. Do you ever feel that way Bishop? His simple answer, “you’re converting them while they’re converting you.” With patience we’ll reach the others as well. This is how the mustard seed works.

  • Chris Haid

    My friend encouraged me to pray a decade of the rosary; now I am almost done with praying the Luminous Mysteries. Praise Jesus! Do what He tells you to do!

  • Ann Marie Bisnathsingh

    Lord, give us the courage to plant the mustard seed of our lives, our hearts and our souls – so that we may grow and become all You have destined for us to become. Lord Save Your Kingdom Here On Earth!!!

  • LaVidaMs

    I love the examples given but we must also remember to give examples of those who cannot go into the world because they are home bound. Yet they are following the great examples of the cloistered such as the discalced Carmelites such as the daughter of St Teresa of Jesus, St. Therese of Lisieux, St Elizabeth of the Trinity, and many others. Prayerfully offerings sacrifices of suffering and doing what they can to spread the Gospel with love from the confines of their home. God is Love! Thank you Bishop Barron for the seeds you are planting. May our loving God continuing to bless you.

  • James D. Blocksom Jr.

    Wow! Never thought of myself as a mustard seed. But, yes I most certainly couldn’t be – on my family, in my Neocatecumenal communities, at work. As I analyze some powerful eventos that have happened in my life recently I can see that the seed has been sown. Now it is my task to care for it, so that it can take root, grow, flower that more seeds can be produced and the process can begin again.

  • Barbara Ann Baugh

    When a mustard seed grows into a bush is bears fruit. That fruit is a spice which makes food taste delicious. This is like our acts of kindness. We really don’t know what the effects of our kindness it may only be small like just making their life better for the moment or helping them make a life-changing decision. Smiles and blessings are mustard seeds. I somewhat confined to my house. My only outlets are church and Bible Study. I have made a resolution to study the Bible more diligently so I will be better prepared for discussion so that those who are better physically stronger can spread the Gospel.
    As we approach the time when Pope Benedict retired to become Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, I feel a need to pray for him. It has been 3 years.

    • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

      Hi Barbara,

      God’s timing is perfect unlike ours and Faith and Trust in His timing has a reward we have yet to see or realize now but with patience and prayer we will come to understand the meaning of Gods plans for us and how important it was to have let the Lord nourish and feed us with His Word, His Love, His Mercy which results in our sharing and teaching others of that Love not so much by words but by our actions. You do this daily, as do many others the world does not see.

      Jesus teaches us to plant those seeds, seeds such as kindness to those who hate us and forgiveness to those who hurt us. A very hard thing to do at times but happens because we accepted God’s Love.

      Where do we begin? Well it already has long before we resized it.
      At our conception we became Jesus mustard seed! When we were growing the weeds of evil was there but Jesus, by His death and redirection conquered and destroyed those weeds when we were at our most vulnerable point in life. As we grew and through the love of others before us, the leaves on the tree, strengthened us, feed us, taught us and guided us.
      As we brew and became stronger our roots became deeper holding us upright, our branches grew bigger and began to over shadow the weeds below, causing them to stra get and die because our leaves had blocked out the sun light. Our roots took the water from the weeds those sins in our lives that turn us into wilted plants that have no fruit or purpose except making more weeds.

      Some would say they have no purpose because of their health or disability and so on. Often we forget we see ourselves different than God does. Some would say, “why did God create me with a particular disability or sickness such as cancer, blind or unable to hear, a birth defect that often brings humiliation and pain, the ridicule of others?
      He didn’t!!! Life brings with it events we don’t always understand, events and decisions of others that has lead to disfigurement, sickness and death. But God uses those moments, not causing them, to show the world how He uses the least of us to do great things. Anyone can pray and God needs prayer warriors in the war against evil. Though a mustard tree cannot move it still serves and has a purpose. Ask God to show you and others how we can use the Gifts of the Holy Spirit to serve press when our earthly bodies fail us.

      Barbara, you know your purpose and help others discover theirs!

      Here is something I think you will like and can use to help others, especially otherCatholics.
      It is the Church’s teaching on the Immaculate Conception. You and I know the Blessed Mother was “conceived without original single ” NOT “conceived with and then forgiven” as some believe!

      It gives the Catholic (the Greek word for “universal”)
      Doctrine as well as the views and beliefs of fundamentalists who deny it.

      Peace and prayers,

      Michael The Prayer Warrior

      http://www.catholic.com/tracts/immaculate-conception-and-assumption

    • Sherry

      Well said about the kindness being the spice.

  • concerned citizen

    thank you Bishop Barron. Our Blessed Mother although she did not found any religious order had the seed of Jesus planted in her womb by the Holy Spirit when she said her immortal FIAT. That seed is even tinier than a mustard seed but grew up to a person, (TRUE GOD AND TRUE MAN), who made a transformation on the world greater than any man had ever done since the beginning of creation and would ever do until the end of times.

  • P. Taylor

    I will be holding you up daily in my Chaplet of the Divine Mercy and may His Blessed Mother Mary wrap you in her mantle and keep you warm and safe.

  • 50AF

    “The mustard seed of the Church began with a thirty-year-old man, dying on an instrument of torture, his disciples having fled, and his enemies mocking him. But it grew into the Body of Christ composed of billions of people in every country on the planet, and many more in heaven.” Wow. If reading that doesn’t inspire you and give you hope, I hazard to say nothing will!

    It should also sober us, because it shows that the way of the Christian is not the way of self-affirmation, but the way of self-sacrifice. As Bishop Barron always instructs — our lives are not about us. Our lives are about living for the Other — for God, and for our fellow men and women. Our lives are about loving God and being channels of God’s love and peace and salvation to others.

    I pray that will become more of the rule of my life, rather than the exception. I also pray that we all, through God’s grace, come to know and embrace the joyful and suffering love that is the life of a Christian.

  • Sherry

    Back when I decided to stay home with my first, I thought, I would return to school, get a doctorate and become a principal of a school. That was my plan. But God broke in when we decided to follow the church’s teachings. I threw away the pills, and nine children later, we have a huge family tree, one which began by saying “no” to the world, and “yes” to God.

    • Emmalee

      One of my favorite prayers – I surrender it all to you – Jesus take over. That has been a prayer I utter when I feel I have to work hard to change someone – make them believe as I do – be a stronger Christian and Catholic; however, none of us are strong – we are weaklings compared to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. When uttering this prayer, though, a way pops up to share belief or concern in the way Jesus would do. Although the 40 days of Lent center around progression to the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ, I also like the devotion of Mary, Undoer of Knots. This is also a favorite of Pope Francis. It does not take the place of the Rosary but is another way to meditate on Mary’s love for us and her willingness to help us.

      • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

        Emmalee,

        Well said! Amen.

        Michael
        The Prayer Warrior

    • http://findmeinflorida.wordpresscom stark61555

      So in your eyes is it a sin to get an education? Just asking. Sorry but being polite and asking. You can still go to school and get an education. Sorry Bishop, I am not trolling but not everyone takes pills not to have kids. How about saying yes to develop your talents and have a balance. My Dad Jerry taught me that. Ask God about the rest. You are Bishop and I trust that God will speak up for us couples who did go to school, were not on the pill and got married in their mid 30s. My mustard seed: please speak up to the USCCB for us childless couples that didn’t get kids. I am 52 now and there are many of us who didn’t have kids. It didn’t happen and we are happy. Being responsible is important. Must say that. It is me on the inside out saying this in the Spirit and here. Develop talents. And please speak up for us.

      • Sherry

        I am not saying it is a sin to get an education or that it is an automatic virtue to have children. We don’t gain virtue simply by being, we must strive for it in all things.

        One can’t be a fan of Bishop Barron and somehow hold that the Church is anti-intellectual, or that a life lived in love with God someow must dim the intellect.

        God wants us to pursue Him with our minds, our hearts and our bodies, our whole selves. We are called to use our talents to our fullest ability, and to say yes first to God. I thought it was to get a doctorate in education, to be principal of a school of children with multiple abilities. Yes and no. What I found, is in saying yes to God, God had a different plan for me than I’d planned for myself, a doctorate born of years of study. I could not serve two masters. (I tried). Telling the graduate group over the phone my research for a project between pushes of my third child, I realized, “THIS IS NUTS.” and put that plan of mine aside not because God was punishing me, but because God’s call is always to love more than we thought possible, to sacrifice. I had to put my children, not my ego (which the doctorate represented), first. God wants stretch marks on our hearts, however He can get them. God gave me my school of differing abilities children, and I’m in charge even if I don’t get paid, (and no, I don’t homeschool).

        What I’d planned to do was very loving, but God wanted a different act of love, it wasn’t part of my plan, it was His plan. I wasn’t planning to have ten children, we didn’t seek it. God gave it to us over time, pushing us to love more and more and more. It wasn’t easy, it still isn’t easy, but it is a means by which He’s taken my and my husband’s mustard seed, our initial obedience (yes) and grown it into a great tree. It wasn’t my plan, but it’s taken every talent I have, plus a few I didn’t know about to be about this business, to live out this vocation that dreamed bigger than I or my husband ever would have, but it is halmarked by joy. And yes, it isn’t about children. I know having ten does not make me holy, it makes me tired, it reveals all of my weaknesses. There are no hidden sins or failings when you have ten people dependent upon you letting you know, how you’ve not measured up to the yardstick of love in the midst of their adolescence or toilet training, or the frustrations of everyday minutia.

        But loving these ten, has helped with my faith life, forced me and my husband to turn to God more than either of us would given our own predispositions, because we KNOW we cannot manage this despite our many gifts, without prayer, without God’s grace, and depending on Him ever more, has made us happy too. Please know, I know everyone is called to be fruitful, to be a great tree grown from a mustard seed, but each of us is called to serve in different ways, and the way we know if it is God’s plan, is it always involves loving others more, always stretches us beyond what we thought possible.

        • http://findmeinflorida.wordpresscom stark61555

          I almost did not finish my grad degree because I hurt my ankle bad. Women said. You are being punished for moving forward. It was the last or second to the last semester. But I told them to shove it and walked around in pain and I finished. Now they are without the degree I have and working in Walmart at minimum wage. Sorry but God means me to have more and use my talents. I did. I came out of this recession with a house paid for and a grad degree. That was my mustard seed. No pain no gain. I don’t worry what others think and just did it. Don’t take second best. It was a hard lesson for me.

          • Sherry

            That’s terrific that you persisted and were able to achieve that goal. The goal of being a mustard seed is to grow and expand outward, sheltering others, bringing others to a place of peace, a place of safety, and a place where, they can grow closer to God. Please understand, I needed (in a way you did not), to sublimate my will. The initial response was about recognizing how God took the mustard seed in me, and made it multiply in a way different than He did for you. For me, as for you, God wanted a certain fortitude, a courage to persist…just for different outcomes.

          • http://findmeinflorida.wordpresscom stark61555

            My point in PM conversation is this: go back and use your talents. That is is not a sin.

  • Corine Richenelle

    Thank you Bishop Barron. The example mentioned, like St. Francis of Assisi, inspired me. Last week, I watched a DVD on his life and I was touched by his way of doing and handling things. His determination and faith really make the difference, the Mustard seed which inspired St Clare along with other ladies to give up to their wealth and to follow our Lord Jesus. Let`s seek the help from our Lord so our life be the continuous growing of this Mustard seed that the lord has secretly put in everyone`s heart and which can be lightened by the flame of the Holy Spirit.

    Help us Lord to take care of the Mustard seed so that the birds can build their nets..Nothing is impossible to the Lord. Let`s sing with our Holy Mother :- Be it unto me – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeOtm_Zs60s

  • disqus_NAVsMmJ24g

    My mustard seed is to fast during Lent, particularly for Christian unity. I’m going to be doing the Lenten Mercy Challenge. You fast on bread and water for lunch on Fridays during Lent and pray a decade or more of the Rosary as an act of Mercy for an intention. Fr. Mitch Pacwa and Archbishop Chaput have endorsed it. It will be nice to start it (tomorrow) on the day that the Pope will have an historic meeting with the Russian Orthodox Patriarch. In case anyone is interested, go to http://lentenmercychallenge.org/. I’m in the Facebook group for it too and the web address is: https://www.facebook.com/groups/lentenmercychallenge/

    • http://twitter.com/cinhosa Jeff Cann

      Prayer is our mustard seed and thanks for telling me about the Lenten challenge. It emphasizes the importance of prayer and it reminds me of Mark 9:14-29 where Jesus casts out a demon from a boy. His disciples tried to drive out the demon from the boy but were unable. After Jesus heals the boy, (9:28-29)

      “When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private, “Why could we not drive it out?”
      He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”

      The more we pray, the more we scatter our mustard seeds.

  • Judith A. Speer McKenna

    Sometimes when you do the small it can turn out to become large. I like starting small.

  • http://findmeinflorida.wordpresscom stark61555

    Exercise is rougher than not eating food you like. Why does the military do it at 4 am ? That’s why. That’s better than not eating meat on Friday. Fine to follow the church this is better. People who do this are not wimps. Do this for a whole hour. Going to bed earlier also good.

  • http://findmeinflorida.wordpresscom stark61555

    Ok… my eyes are open the size of a mustard seed before coffee and before I exercise to offere up o for Friday o penance o.. Ok, so Florida residents like me are not stick in the muds. We have a sense of humor … the heat in the summer does that to us. Look in the mirror. God has a sense of humor

  • rtclovesmac

    Lord I can see how often you have You have cultivated Your love and Mercy in my life. Your plans for me exceed my dreams. Let me be what You want me to be…For what we are is your gift to us. What we become is our gift to You.

  • Norma

    In deed Bishop Barron, the mustard seed it is one of the smallest seeds, but with such a tremendous power to grow that even the birds in the sky make a nest. I have been planting seeds for quite some years as a catechist, and every time I read this parable to the children, their response to God’s word is amazing.

  • Penelope

    Thank you for this encouraging reflection Bishop. And I agree with you, Henrietta, about hope for the seeds that we sow in our grandchildren’s lives. Who knows what the Lord has in mind for them? My husband Jack and I pray the rosary together every morning for our children and grandchildren. We pray that the Lord will bless us with the graces that we need to be good examples for them, and that He will open doors for us for their faith formation, next step for two of our granddaughters, Confirmation. Our prayers may be as small as mustard seeds, but by the grace of God, they availeth much. I pray today for the grace of courage and perseverance. In Jesus’ Holy Name. Amen.
    ps This rosary photo was taken by our daughter-in-law Sarah, mom to four of our grandchildren; it is our hope and prayer that her two youngest daughters will be starting preparation for Confirmation this year, a difficult journey for them right now, as they are mourning the loss of their mom. Sarah went home to be with the Lord just over a year ago. She was 37. Please say a prayer for our grandchildren. Thank you and God bless!

  • Yolanda

    I think the seed I can plant is love. So often I volunteer to help with things in the church, and at the very beginning I’m excited. However along the way I loose focus why I am doing what I’m doing and I believe it is because the lack of love on my part. I am going to remember the real reason why I volunteer for certain ministries at church which is I love Christ. Therefore, I am going to love those who I serve.

  • Krista

    I’m praying that my mustard seed will be the faith of my children. Especially with my son, 14 years, who believes that going to Mass is boring and pointless, I pray for strength to endure the complaints and defiance. As with most teenagers, he thinks his opinions are fact and not subject to change. These opinions are encouraged and fed by his father unfortunately, so my son has a the deck stacked against him. I wish I knew what St. Monica prayed for regarding her son, Augustine, but without knowing I’m hoping that I can just pray for her intercession and add a ‘ditto’ on for my son.

  • Linda Dokey

    I am here Lord, I will hold your peoples in my heart. Amen

  • Susanrose

    What mustard seed can I plant that might grow into a great tree where the birds of the air make their nests? I believe within my community and with my family, I can show more compassion, Kindness, Understanding, Love unconditionally, forgive others, try to be more Christlike and not judge others. And pray and pray to put the armor of God

    JMJ
    Peace to all

  • Sue Varlow

    My mustard was Pope Benecdict XVI who in 2011 established The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in the UK. I am a member of The Torbay Ordinariate Mission Group in Torquay Devon. I would like the share what our Priest Fr David Lashbrooke has written five years on:

    “It is now five years since the erection of The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham under the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman and we give thanks to God for these years. In the life of The Church it is not even a twinkling of an eye but in the lives of those who are members of The Ordinariate and those who have journied with them it has been years full of both joys and sadnesses as we have sort to serve The Risen Christ. It has been five years filled with determination of those who have made this journey to fulfil their several vocations particuarly to answer the call to live out the ecumenical vision of The Church encapsulated in the documents of Vatican II and in our foudation document Anglicanorum Coetibus. Many have encouraged us in this endevour but some have not embraced the vision of christians, who have been separated previously from The See of Peter coming into full communion and bringing with them their own patrimony, consistant with the
    Catholic Faith, in order to share the riches that sustained them and which may also enrich the life of the whole Church. At the heart of this journey is Christ and his call for us ‘to be one’.
    As part of this vision and mission The Catholic Church of Our Lady of Walsingham with Saint Cuthbert Mayne has come ibeing and we have been greatly encouraged by the support of those about us. As a community we are seeking to be faithful and encourage others as they find the immeasurable joy of living new lives in the service of Christ.
    With every blessing
    Father David Lashbrooke
    Group Pastor ”

    Last year The Torbay Ordinariate Mission Group bought a redundant Methodist church in Torquay, Devon. This is the first building that the Ordinariate in the UK has bought for itself since the structure was established in 2011.

    I pray that with Gods help it “that it might grow into a great tree, where the birds of the air make their nests”

    Sue x