Sts. Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Reading Exodus 16:1-5,9-15
Gospel Matthew 13:1-9

“And He spoke to them at length in parables....”

Jesus paints four illustrations in today’s parable. The first three are pictures of the sower laboring in vain, because of “the path, rocky ground”, and “thorns”. Only the fourth illustration describes seed falling “on rich soil”, producing “fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

The first illustrates ignorance: specifically, ignorance about what the Word of God tells us. To grow in humility, we cannot be ignorant. To grow in humility requires knowledge of God, and self-knowledge. Knowledge of God is simple, because God is simple. God is Love.

But self-knowledge is more complicated. Self-knowledge has two parts: knowledge of myself as a fallen person, who has stumbled and fallen into the filth of sin; and knowledge of myself as someone loved by God, who has picked me up, washed me in the Blood of the Lamb, and raised me to the dignity of His own child.

These three forms of knowledge, then—knowledge of God, knowledge of myself as fallen, and knowledge of myself as raised by God—are like three legs of a stool on which I

sit. Without any one of these three, I will fall to the ground. Without all three, I cannot grow in the virtue of humility.

Humility is the foundation of the spiritual life. Humility will grow inside of you as you rest more in the knowledge of who you are, and who God is.