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Christ as the farmer of our souls

I love today's second reading from the Office of Readings, said to be by St Macarius. Here's a quotation from it:

'When a farmer prepares to till the soil he must put on clothing and use tools that are suitable. So Christ, our heavenly king, came to till the soil of mankind devastated by sin. He assumed a body and, using the cross as his ploughshare, cultivated the barren soul of man. He removed the thorns and thistles which are the evil spirits and pulled up the weeds of sin. Into the fire he cast the straw of wickedness. And when he had ploughed the soul with the wood of the cross, he planted in it a most lovely garden of the Spirit, that could produce for its Lord and God the sweetest and most pleasant fruit of every kind.'

This is a wonderful example of theology put into everyday language. In the days of St Macarius (4th century) societies were overwhelmingly rural/agricultural. But even in these days of urban sprawl and huge cities, the parable speaks vividly and powerfully. Not the least attractive aspect of the words of St Macarius for us is that the word 'Carmel' actually means 'garden' ....

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