A common definition of a weed is any undesirable plant that chokes out more desirable or productive plants. Weeds compete and often win the battle for scarce life-giving resources such as water, soil and sun.

Last month I had the opportunity to visit a wheat farm in western Kansas. Only a few days from harvest the farmer drove me slowly along the edge of the field. Suddenly he stopped the pickup to uproot some wild rye that had blown into the field. Unlike the farmer in the parable, he didn’t even wait until harvest since the rye vigorously re-seeds itself in the field. His vigilance amazed me since, to an untrained eye, the rye looked just like the wheat which is a clever disguise for a weed.

Sometimes things that seem good can obscure our truest purpose, or the end for which we are created. Are there weed-like attachments or attitudes in my life that conflict with the purpose for which I was created?

“…One must use created things, in so far as they help towards one’s end, and free oneself from them, in so far as they are obstacles to one’s end.” Excerpt from St. Ignatius, First Principle and Foundation).

John Sealey is the provincial assistant for social and international ministries for the Chicago-Detroit and Wisconsin Jesuit provinces.