Mustard Seed

A reflection on the virtue of hope by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB

We hear Jesus in the Gospel saying, “What is the Kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden” (Luke 13:18-19).  Have you ever noticed how much God likes gardens? He began life with Adam and Eve in a garden, and the Song of Songs is in a garden. In the Scriptures there are so many references to these gardens, these cultivated areas. In the mustard seed parable, Jesus continues, “When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and ‘the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches’” (Luke 13:19). To plant something is to take a chance. To plant a seed doesn’t necessarily mean that something is going to come up. So you have to hope in it. You have to keep looking and saying, “It’s going to come!”

Rubber stamp tree by our Sister Fidelis, OSB

I was reflecting on what St. Paul says, that “hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance” (Romans 8:24-25). I think the greatest example of this virtue is God. God is the one who expresses all the virtues so beautifully. He never stops hoping. He plants everything in us full of hope. He is the one who endures. He is the one who stands firm. He is the one who never stops saying, “It will come.” So whenever we have to endure something difficult, endure things that may be evil or may seem not right, we can remember that it is God who endures the most. We can look to Him to learn how to do it. And He sits with us and says, “It is coming. Wait for it. It will not be late.”

Everything blooms according to temperature. It’s not necessarily because you plant it in April and that it will come up at the end of April or possibly May. If it’s freezing, it’s not going to happen. It all depends on what the surroundings are. Just so, we too have to be able to sit in those trying situations and never give up hope, because hope is God’s beautiful attribute toward us. He never stops hoping. And I’m sure He delights whenever things go really well—“Oh look there’s another leaf!” So I wish that for everybody, that when it is hard that you can look to God and receive all that you need, because He is looking at us with great love and hope.