Sherry Antonetti ponders how our spiritual lives can bear good fruit—even when we've hit a dry spell in prayer.
“Lord, let me produce good fruit” has become a prayer I keep repeating. I keep repeating it because as of late, prayer has become dry and difficult. Fortunately, my husband and family have kept after me, to both give me strength in persistence, and to remind me prayer is about growing deeper in love with God, not feelings because of prayer or praying.
When we hit a snag in our faith life, it can feel as if we have lost our flavor. Paying attention in prayer and at Mass, doing acts of service, all the ways in which we show love for God become acts of the will that require tremendous emotional effort. The opportunities to serve, to witness, to love that come from being a mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend, to participate in prayer are constant, and thus a means by which God can help me overcome my own frustration with my own prayer life.
Fortunately, we can always become the seed that produces good fruit if we seek God with our whole hearts even when withered. The story of the sower throwing the seed can at first glance seem to indicate that some are fated to have good faith, and others simply will not. If we consider the sower to be God, offering us opportunities to love Him more dearly each day, we can understand how sin prevents His grace from taking root and yielding the good fruit it could.
Each day, we can be choked off by the weeds of the world. Every time we sin, we refuse to understand or refuse to seek to understand. When we willfully or slothfully do not engage in our faith life, the evil one seeks to steal our souls away like the birds snatching the seeds away. God sows His seeds in every Scripture verse and in all sacraments, in the beauty of creation and all encounters we have with others, hoping that this time, we will not refuse Him.
The reality is, if we take all of God’s word, “whoever has ears ought to hear,” we discover Christ is always inviting us to ask to be ones who take the word of God deep into our hearts. This asking can be at the eleventh hour—as in the case of the good thief or we hope, an ongoing daily reality. What I am learning is to ask every day.
As Saint Teresa of Ávila said to her fellow sisters when they would emerge from the confessional, “Begin again.” The words of this saint are echoed by fellow Doctor of the Church, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, “Make rich soil of me and people around me, that we might receive your word and be productive and fruitful today.”
Copyright 2022 Sherry Antonetti
About the Author
Sherry Antonetti is a Catholic published author, freelance writer and part-time teacher. She lives with her husband and 10 children just outside of Washington, DC, where she's busy editing her upcoming book, A Doctor a Day, to be published by Sophia Institute Press. You can find her other writings linked up at her blog, Chocolate For Your Brain! or on Amazon.