Anyone who has gone through puberty can relate to the moment when you saw a glaring, whitehead zit in the center of your forehead. There was that immediate urge to pop the pimple. In popping the pimple, though, we increase the chance for scarring, and for more pimples to develop. This unflattering analogy to puberty is similar to our gut reaction when we encounter “weeds” in the garden of our souls.
The Gospel clearly states that it is God’s activity to collect the weeds and harvest the fruit in the field. The moments when we try to pull what we think to be weeds out of our soul, we risk doing harm to ourselves. Instead of becoming less jealous, insecure, prideful, lustful, we become more self-absorbed into an internal world of our own problems. God is the true gardener of our souls who is able to pull the weeds gently so as to remove their roots, and not harm the fruit already present.
Do I love the “weeds” of my soul as places where God is very tender and compassionate towards me? Do I experience the temptation to prune the garden of my soul? What do I want God to be and do for me in these areas of my life?
—Dano Kennedy, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic studying philosophy at St. Louis University. He lives at the Bellarmine House of Studies.