Summary: We need the ground for all those negatives things to die.
And when I am lifted up from the earth,
I will draw everyone to myself.” John 12:32
He draws us, not forces us.
Jeremiah 31:3 “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.’”
Song of Songs 1:3, “Draw me after you.”
He draws us by his suffering for us.
And by our suffering in Him.
There is a concealed, hidden power in suffering that draws a person interiorly close to Christ. St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and others, owe their profound conversions, becoming a completely new person, and discovering their entire life and vocation through sufferings said Saint John Paul II. (SD 26)
Can you see God’s love drawing you by suffering? Some cannot. The mystery of the Cross is veiled.
(source: Rev. Andrew Hofer, O.P.).
However, pain can mold us, and God creates a clean heart as idols and sin are stripped away.
2. “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” John 12:24
Jesus uses a double Amen which is translated as “I solemnly assure you.”
Seeds can last for a long time—they have found seeds in the tombs of the Pharaohs. But, unless they fall into the soil and crack open, nothing further comes from them.
The oldest seed that has grown into a viable plant was a 2000-year-old palm seed. It was germinated in 2005.
I was ordained in 1996, twenty-five years later, I still feel like I am getting germinated meaning that more of God’s life is coming to life in me as I sprout.
In wheat, rice, barley and oats, the seed is the grain of kernel we eat, but there is a husk around it as a protective coating.
Like protective, maladaptive defense mechanisms that need to break apart for the life of Christ to come to life in us which include:
Devaluation of others by exaggerating their negative qualities or your own negative qualities; idealizing others that prevents one from fairly assessing both positive and negative aspects of another person; or denial of sinful addictive or compulsive traits or projection of our issues onto to others.
We need the ground for all those negatives things to die.
The seed is the affirming force, which meets the ground which is a second or denying force. The reconciling force is the water and sunlight which causes the seed to germinate and sprout which is the actualization of possibility and potentiality in the seed, opening up a whole new field!
So, sometimes you think you’re being buried, you’re really being planted, God is using a season of pain to grow you.
Or, when we choose voluntary Christian disciplines and asceticism, these are a sharing in the asceticism of Christ; and that is an asceticism of the cross as a conscious and voluntary acceptance of the consequences that follow upon the grace of having been baptized into Christ’s death. It is an assimilation of the passion of Christ and not primarily an assimilation to suffering per se.
3. Lastly, “whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.” John 12:25
We won’t see evidence of the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives unless we surrender our lives to Christ. A fruit starts from a seed and that seed contains everything for the plant to begin and produce more fruit.
The fruit is to be understood as the people who are coming to Jesus and thus to God.
In everything he does, the one thing he aims at, the one purpose he has in mind, is the greater praise and glory of our Lord God. Everyone must bear in mind that progress in every department of the inner life will be proportionate to the degree in which he gives up self-love, self-seeking, and self-interest.