"The seed sown on rich soil," Jesus says in the gospel, "is the one who hears the word and understands it." Unlike the seeds that fall on a path or rocky ground or in thorns, the seed in the good soil can put down roots, and plants that sink roots are ones that will be able to live and grow. They need to stay in one place. Like many flora, a lot of fauna--particularly the human variety-also need rootedness to survive and thrive. Monks have long recognized this truth: They commit to stability: "stability of place"--staying in one community--and "stability of heart": applying oneself to monastic life in particular and the finding of God in general. You don't, however, have to live in a monastery to have spiritual stability. Someone once asked a monk: "What is it then to be stable?" And he answered, "You will find stability at the moment when you discover that God is everywhere; that you do not need to seek God elsewhere." While we might not be able always to enjoy stability of place, looking for the presence of God in every moment, wherever you are, will give you a stable heart.
Authors Joel SchornRestricted
There are two options in social life: grow or decline. Think about it. So many of us are constantly gaining weight and losing weight, or fighting a battle of eating a little more here, a little less there. Human populations are the same way: They either increase or decrease. Over human history, obviously, populations have grown dramatically. And now, as we know, many populations in Europe as well as Japan, and later some other places as well, are more likely to decline dramatically instead of grow. The point is this: There is no stability. Populations typically do not level off any more than middle-aged folk keep the same weight and shape they had when they were younger. All things human, including things social and ecclesial, grow or decline. They do not stand still. Do not believe it when people talk about declining numbers in church attendance or declining numbers of ordinations and say they are “leveling off.” This is a fiction. There is no magic constant percentage of folks who should attend Mass or who, all things being equal, will pursue a vocation. Either the number is going up or it is doing down. And if you don’t want it to be going down, you have to do things to make it go up. There are plenty of examples in history of places where the Christian community was established, or where there was once a vibrant Catholic community, and where that community no longer exists. And there are other places where the reverse is true. Again, neither situation happened by accident. But it is likely that folks in the former situation came to live with decline by simply telling themselves that the declines were leveling off. © 2006, Bryan Froehle.Authors Bryan FroehleRestricted