Today’s epistle features St Paul congratulating the Thessalonians for the work they have allowed the grace of God to achieve in them. From the worship of dead idols, they have been converted to the true and living God. Of particular note is that the apostle categorises his preaching of the Gospel in terms of power and much fulness. God does not do things by halves. He does them well. Everything He does is done well, and with fulness, much fulness.
That fulness however takes time to develop in souls. The Gospel parables of the grain of mustard seed that becomes a big tree and the yeast which causes the dough to rise are there to remind us that in God’s plan, things do not just fall from Heaven. In creatures, the action of grace resembles that of nature. Just as a seed needs lots of time to mature, so does the grace of God in a soul. If we place no obstacle, however, the seed will produce its fruit in us, for the seed is divine, and its fruit will be heavenly.
As in nature, there are plenty of adverse elements that apparently seem to go against that growth of faith in us. They are like the winds which seem to risk uprooting the tree, but actually contribute to its digging deeper roots. There are also the other plants that sometimes compete, as we saw last week in the parable of the weeds among the wheat. St Augustine tells us that God uses even sinners in order to achieve the sanctification of the just.
This is vital to keep in mind whenever we hear of scandalous deeds or unjust sentences pronounced in the Church. It all concurs to the good of souls. St Paul is clear about that. All things work together for the good of those who love God (Rm 8:28). All things, including persecutions and unfair treatment, including false friends and bad leaders.
St Louis de Montfort says the saints of the latter days will be “attached to nothing, surprised at nothing, troubled at nothing, they will shower down the rain of God’s word and of eternal life…. They will have the two-edged sword of the Word of God in their mouths and the bloodstained standard of the Cross on their shoulders. They will carry the crucifix in their right hand and the Rosary in their left, and the holy names of Jesus and Mary on their heart.”
That, my dear Friends, is the recipe to allowing the grace of the Holy Spirit to achieve in us the much fulness. So, let’s dig deeper roots into prayer, into humility, into patience and long-suffering. If we do so, none of the adverse events will have any lasting bad effect on us, but will on the contrary, contribute to preparing an even greater harvest and a more splendid crown.