The Path of Life

The Path of Life

Saturday, June 13, 2015

We know not how it grows

By Br. Peter Sullivan, O.S.B.

A reflection on the Mass readings for the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
(Ezekiel 17:22-24; 2 Corinthians 5:6-10; Mark 4:26-34)
As beautiful as it is, nature can sometimes seem harsh and indiscriminate—whether it’s the environment we’re talking about, humanity itself, or all the natural forces that direct them. The storms of life fell many trees in the world, both literally and figuratively, and the body, mind, and soul are not exempted.

While it is necessary and healthy to survey and mourn the damage wrought by the occasional tempest, focusing on it can severely limit or distort our perception of all the good surrounding the storm—or even arising from it. We must, as St. Paul says, “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Life certainly takes many unexpected twists and turns, but God’s promise to us is that he is always at work in the world—whether we see it or not, or even whether we believe it or not. Like a tiny seed slowly sprouting, taking root, maturing, blooming, and striving toward the sun, the Kingdom of God continues to grow upward and outward. “See, I am making all things new,” God promises, for “all things work together for good for those who love God” (cf. Revelation 21:5; Romans 8:28).

As Jesus states in Mark’s Gospel (4:26-34), “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how.” God gently beckons every withered tree to bloom, put forth branches, and bear fruit, so that all may dwell beneath the shade of the Almighty (cf. Ezekiel 17:23-25; Mark 4:32).

By God’s promise and grace, through the Tree of Life that is Christ, the Kingdom of God is sprouting and growing night and day, in war and peace, in raging storms and restful stillness … though we know not how.

by Br. Francis Wagner, O.S.B., Abbey Press, 2013


  1. My daily and life-long challenge, taking the sufferings of life onto my shoulders as a cross to bear. Christ was stronger, so I pray for his help.

  2. Thanks John. Know that Jesus is right there sharing the burden with you. As St. Paul says, when we are weak, then we are strong....

    Br. Francis