Today I decided to tackle some weeds growing out of control in part of our yard. I find manual labor to be so good for the soul. It’s one of the few things that can truly quiet my mind, which in turn, gives me space to contemplate. As I was weeding, it occurred to me how much of a parallel there is between literal pulling up weeds in a garden and rooting out sin in the garden of our own souls. Here is what I gleaned:
1. If you don’t weed regularly, it takes much longer and much more effort to get rid of those unwanted plants. So it is with sin. If we ignore the little sins in our lives, they start to grow without us even noticing. And then before we realize it, we’ve got a garden full of weeds! Then it can be hard to even know where to begin in addressing the things keeping us from God and preventing the beauty God’s Love from growing in our hearts.
2. By ignoring a patch of less harmful weeds, we may miss the fact that more insidious plants are growing up in their midst. In my case, there were a lot of easy to pull up, non-thorny weeds,and, in the middle, was a three-foot high thistle plant with scary-looking barbs all over it. Yikes. This can happen with sin in our lives. By ignoring “small” sins and letting them take root, bigger sins can take us by surprise. And they can do much more damage and be much harder (and more painful) to root out.
3. Christ is the Gardener. Although we must put forth our own efforts rooting out sin, it really is His grace that makes the work we are doing effective. If we forget this and try to do it on our own power, the weeds will certainly win the battle. The most effective way to allow Christ to root out the weeds of sin in our lives is to frequent the sacraments, especially Confession and the Eucharist. I find that going to Confession regularly (my goal is every month) makes an enormous difference in my spiritual life. Combining a nightly examination of conscience with monthly Confession is a great combination for rooting out sin, and, to continue the analogy, the Eucharist is kind of like the fertilizer for virtue.
Can you relate to this analogy? What are some of the tools you have found that help root out the weeds of sin in your own life?