Posted by: fvbcdm | June 27, 2017

Feast of Saint Cyril of Alexandria (27 June 2017)

Our Lord tells us in the Gospel that you can tell the nature of a tree by the kind of fruit it bears.  A good tree bears good fruit. A bad tree bears bad fruit.  This brings to my mind the fact that often a middle-aged person will come to confession and confess with very obvious sorrow and shame that he or she has been unkind and disrespectful to an elderly parent.

The scenario goes something like this: The old mother or father lives with the middle-aged couple and their children.  The elderly person is ill and in need of constant attention.  Moreover, he or she is possibly senile, unreasonable, demanding, and manipulative.  The younger members of the family do all they can for the good of the elderly, infirm person.  That means around-the-clock care, effort, attention.  Then, one day, the middle-aged lady—typically it’s a women—comes to the end of her patience and yells at her elderly mother or father.  Immediately, she regrets it and feels terrible about it.  She acts as if it were the unforgivable sin, a colossal violation of the fourth commandment.  Then, it is the duty of her confessor to remind the guilt-stricken lady that God looks at both sides of the picture. How often has she treated her old mother with patience, kindness, devotion, appreciation, sacrifice and love?  It goes on night and day, month after month, and then, because she yells at her parent one time, she is about to fall apart and quit?

No, a fig tree that consistently bears fat, juicy, sweet, succulent figs in mid-summer, and then, one day produces one runt of a shriveled fig is still a very good tree, as evidenced by its very good yield of fruit.  The one shriveled fig does not make it a bad tree, and so with us.  God sees us probably much more leniently, much more compassionately than we see ourselves.  Let us try to keep things in perspective.  One shriveled fig does not negate 10,000 delicious figs.  One act of impatience does not erase months of patience and long suffering.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  Father Brown composed this message some years ago.  Please pray for the souls of the faithful departed, including Father Brown.

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