For nearly sixteen years, my brother and I have owned some forested property in Southern Indiana. This part of the country is known for its beautiful hardwoods, such as White and Red Oak, Maple, Walnut, Cherry, Tulip Poplar, Ash, etc. We have had many years of enjoying a day off working in the woods, managing the forest, hunting, or simply enjoying the beauty of nature.
Nature has many things to teach us about life. For instance, these woods were harvested heavily at the time we bought the property, and needed a lot of attention. Because of the heavy harvest, we were suspicious of several large Oak trees that were left on the property. In time, nature revealed the “core” of the problem. Several years ago, the remnants of Hurricane Ike found its way across the property, taking down many trees. Several of these large Oak trees went down…they were hollow.
Even though these trees provided a lot of acorns over the years, and sheltered much wildlife, and had a certain beauty, in the end, there was not much “fruit” to show for the years of life. On the other hand, last year two beautiful White Oak trees died, and we harvested them and sawed them into 750 board feet of lumber…quite precious, and know that they provided the same basics through life as did the hollow trees.
Human life is very much the same. If we are to “leave something behind” in the end, how will the final judgement be made? How many people today are walking around “hollow”? How many are “solid at the core”? Such perspective helps us see to the “core of life”, where the things that really matter come to light; family, relationships, love, gentleness, patience, kindness, peace. (see Galatians 5:22-23) All of these are found in our basic need for God. All of these gifts are given and developed in our relationship with Jesus Christ and the gift of His Holy Spirit.
This is why it is so essential to develop a deep, personal, spiritual life. The LORD develops the “core of life”, the heart. We find these principles in the teaching of Jesus, which means time spent reading and knowing Sacred Scripture. This means taking time to make the Sacraments of the Church a priority, so Christ can nurture His presence within us. This means making time for family and friends to nurture love and life. This means believing in such things as ultimate Truth, and not being afraid to drive the stake of Truth into the core of my life as the anchor that roots me in everything I do.
Please, God, make us solid in Truth and Love.