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A time to be thankful for 'mustard seed blessings'

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The mustard seed image is cause to wonder about those who remained patient even though the growth of the Church seemed like an eternity to mature.

Father Eugene
Hemrick

No better image exists to describe the Church's growth than a tiny mustard seed becoming a gigantic plant.

In travels to Latin America and Europe, I often wondered about those who planted the seeds of Catholicism in those countries and how, like a vine seeking life-giving water, it was spread by the faithful.

While visiting Lima, Peru, I experienced the beautiful faith of its people, their churches and exemplary lay ministers. "Who were the first persons planting the seeds causing this?" I wondered. No doubt, zealous missionaries played a large role.

But what about the laypeople responsible for tending those in the field hospitals of which Pope Francis speaks? Who inspired them to make this their vocation? Who built the schools where the seeds of Catholicism were first planted, and who were the martyrs who grew the Church with their blood?

The Church's growth, like the progression of plants, didn't happen overnight. And, too, when plants start growing it is necessary to thin out early crowding blooms to maximize growth. Who inspired the Church gardeners who weeded out the good from the bad?

The mustard seed image is cause to wonder about those who remained patient even though the growth of the Church seemed like an eternity to mature.

This image not only gives us an opportunity to reflect on the Church's growth, but also to reflect on Thanksgiving and the seeds planted within us that have blossomed and blessed our life.

Many of us are gifted comforters to those needing consolation. But who planted this heartfelt sympathy within us? Was it our mom and dad, a close relative, a friend, a teacher to whom we should be especially thankful this Thanksgiving?

We all have experienced life-changing boosts in life. Perhaps it was a simple, "You have what it takes, go for it." One tiny, caring phrase was planted within us and off we went. But who planted it? Was it a priest, a boss, a colleague?

Without a doubt, all of us have heard an inner voice encouraging us to attempt something outstanding or to avoid a sinful temptation. But who planted this moving grace?

No better time exists than at Thanksgiving to be grateful for the seeds planted within us that have helped us grow in grace and the joys of life.

FatherEugene Hemrick is a columnist for Catholic News Service

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