“I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth.” 1 Corinthians 3:18
From the very beginning of the Church, missionaries have been sent to plant seeds of faith throughout the world. We plant many, many seeds over the years, praying and hoping they will take firm root and come to full fruition in Christ. We know that, like St. Paul, we plant, but others water those seeds, and God causes the growth. Many times we don’t see the watering, the growth, or the fruit, and just trust that those seeds are bearing fruit towards eternal life.
We understand this deeply as missionaries in SOLT. Oftentimes we water the seeds one of our brothers or sisters have planted, and we rely on them to do the same for us serving in our ecclesial family teams. Yet, every now and then, God lets us see the fruit of our seed’s planting and watering.
Recently, I visited Most Holy Trinity parish and school in Phoenix, where I had the privilege of serving for nine years teaching middle school. I watered the seeds others had planted, and others watered the ones that I planted in the lives of my students. Seeds were planted every day, but sometimes got lost in the fields of grading, paperwork, middle school drama, and day to day life. Being back there I was able to see many of those 12-year-olds, who are now as young adults.
First there was David. In 6th grade, he was Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen in our yearly “Saint Museum.” He wrote the precepts of the Church as a rap for an assignment, and in 8th grade was the star of the Advent Program, singing the entire Posadas program as St. Joseph. He joyfully shared with me he had just submitted his application for seminary for the Diocese of Phoenix. His sister, Jackie, who I also taught, recently married another core leader in the youth group, serves as a catechist, and works at Most Holy Trinity School.
Next was Angel. In 7th grade, he answered every question on his spelling test with “Jesus” instead of the correct word, hoping for a higher grade, because “Well, Sister, you always say Jesus is the answer to everything!” Over breakfast he shared his excitement at his recent acceptance into the Marines. We prayed together, discussed how he’d stay close to the Lord, and both shed tears in thanksgiving as he persues his long time dream.
Then there was Karina. In middle school, she asked deep, tough questions about the faith. She strove to do the right thing, even when it meant facing pushback from her friends. She recently graduated high school and received a full scholarship to University of Mary in Bismarck, ND, and is very active in her parish and faith life.
Seeing the growth God has brought in these three, and many other of the young adults I was able to visit, I came to a deeper understanding of Pope Francis’ words in Fratelli Tutti:
“It is truly noble to place our hope in the hidden power of the seeds of goodness we sow, and thus to initiate processes whose fruits will be reaped by others.”
Sr. Mary Claire of the Holy Family Strasser is originally from Nashville, Tennessee. She first professed her vows in 2007 and currently serves as Director of Consecrated Life and Women’s Vocations for the Diocese of Corpus Christi and in the SOLT Mission Advancement Office.