August 5, 2005

Serra Club Essay Contest

Spiritual seeds bloom through the care
of the Church’s ‘gardeners’

By Katie Zupancic

Before a plant can “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (Jn 15:16), a seed must be sown, watered and given a chance to grow and flourish.

The same concept applies to spiritual lives. The seeds of faith must be planted and taken care of before they can flower.

For faith to bud and grow, knowledgeable caretakers, “gardeners,” if you will, are necessary to begin and guide the journey of a Catholic person to heaven.

If an individual uses the lives of the gardeners (priests, brothers and sisters) as an example, he or she will shine as brightly as a sunflower reaching toward the sky.

A young Catholic’s spiritual seeds are sown into a loving, supportive Church environment during the sacrament of baptism by a priest. As the seeds continue to grow, nourishment for the soul is necessary.

The body of Christ is the spiritual “Miracle Grow” presented to children by the gardeners at first Communion. Sometimes, the weeds of sin creep up toward their delicate buds. Reconciliation repels these imperfections and helps the buds to continue to grow.

As they mature, young adults need role models to look up to. With the ­support of people involved in the ­priesthood, brotherhood and sisterhood, young adults are able to make decisions based on the vocation God meant for them to have.

During confirmation, teenagers’ missions are re-evaluated. And with help from the gardeners, they can choose a path that they will follow for the rest of their lives.

Some may choose to be a gardener, to help spread the faith and plant seeds in others. Others may choose to carry on their life as a growing sprout, striving to reach the sun with the help of earthly gardeners and eventually achieving eternal life with the Master Gardener, Jesus.

Where are you in your life of faith: reaching heavenly heights with other sunflowers or spiritually starving in crabgrass?

If the latter is the answer, the gardeners are waiting nearby in your local church, convent and monastery, ready to help you soar to new heights. It’s their “nature.”

(Katie and her parents, Tom and Carrie Zupancic, are members of St. Malachy Parish in Brownsburg. She is a student at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis and is the ninth-grade division winner in the 2005 Serra Club Vocations Essay Contest.) †


Local site Links: