Feast of St. Lawrence
“Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies….”
That is what He was: the grain of wheat that fell to our earth and allowed Himself to be perfectly crushed, totally consumed. We are sharing this reflection, on the feast of His witness Lawrence, because Jesus allowed Himself to die, in the mysterious will of the Father.
One autumn day in my college years in New England, I drove to a farm for apples and a pumpkin. Perhaps echoing Robert Frost, the old Yankee farmer – a Mr. Bemis – said to me: “hard frosts make for good apples.” And so it is. Without those hard, killing frosts, things tend to get mushy, bugs tend to survive that should not: but the killing frost brings rich life the next summer.
So it is with our lives. We want to cling to what is soft, and warm, and comfortable. Yet that is often what leads us to go on and on forever, rotting all the while. We do not want to die, but the life we choose becomes a living death, a comfortable living death. God is the God of fire and ice – “be hot or cold” He said, the lukewarm He spits out of His mouth. So if we find ourselves being buried alive in life: ignored, passed over, while remaining faithful to our loving duties, serving with open hearts, chances are we are dying to ourselves, and dying that death from which God will draw abundant life. We will not remain alone, but emerging from the darkness of death we will join the hundredfold who found life precisely in our – apparent – deaths. When thaw and then summer comes, we will be good, crisp apples, good wheat.