Lord, who am I that you spend time listening to me in my
prayer? Who am I that you speak with me? You have given humanity such dignity by assuming our nature
and giving me personally so many gifts. Time and time again you have been patient with me and
received me back into your embrace when I have strayed from you. Thank you for your kindness to me.
I hope to receive it always in the future and especially at the hour of my death. Your kindness and
patience are a manifestation of your love for me. I want to return that love, because the only
fitting response to love is love.
Lord, help me to be as patient with
others as you are with me.
1. The Fig-less
The owner of the fig tree in the parable,
which many spiritual authors see as an image of God the Father, comes for three years in search of
fruit. How often our Heavenly Father comes in search of fruit on the fig tree of our lives. And what
does he find? He has given us the 'soil and so many elements that are conducive to being fruitful.
He has made known his desire for us to bear fruit, and his Son has explained to us how the fruit is
to be produced. There are no excuses. Let's take notice of the lesson of the parable: When the
Father comes to us looking for fruits, it is because it is the time for fruit. What will we say to
the Father if he has given us ten, twenty, forty, sixty years to bear fruit but finds none? It's not
just about looking nice, as a fig does. It's about bearing fruit, fruit that will last
according to the Father's plan.
2. The Fig That Was Almost
There is an American idiom referring to
something that is destroyed and no longer what it was: It's toast! The fig tree in the parable was
in danger of becoming toast. Cut it down was the order given by the owner. Why should it exhaust the
soil? What a terrible accusation! It was useless and only sapping nutrients from the soil for no
purpose. When we apply this parable to our own lives, it is ghastly to think that our life, or the
lives of others, might be just as useless. Cut it down. Take it away. It serves no purpose. The
judgment is just. But it was a judgment that was soon to be lifted, both in the case of the fig tree
and in the application to our own lives. Am I sufficiently grateful for God's continual mercy
towards me and others?
3. Leave It
Thanks to the gardener in the parable, the fig lives and is not cut down. The axe does not
bite into the trunk of the fig, wrenching from it the beauty of its leaves and meandering branches.
In our case, Jesus Christ the Good Gardener steps in and asks the owner, the Heavenly Father, to
'leave it; he, the Good Gardener, will take care of things. And how he does it! The Gardener
himself is cut down in a bloody way and crucified. We who indeed should justly be cut down are
saved, while the axe is put to the trunk of His body. All for love of us! Archbishop Luis Martinez
has a beautiful image in his book, The Secrets of the Interior Life where he speaks of suffering as
a manifestation of love: It is said that the myrrh tree allows its perfume to escape only when it
is bruised. The perfume 'flows drop by drop through the lacerations of the bark that enfold
Conversation with Christ:
Lord Jesus Christ, how patient the
Father is with me!
Thank you for coming to save me,
for laying your life down for me,
for suffering what I should endure
my self-centeredness and sinfulness.
But with you, there is hope.
I will exercise patience today with everyone I meet, thinking of the patience that God has
had with me.