Of Wheat and Weeds

An adult faith knows it must serenely accept the inevitable mingling of good and evil, wheat and weeds, wisdom and folly in our ecclesial realities, because it knows clearly that the roots of both reach into each of us. The boundary between wisdom and folly is porous in our own hearts, and light and darkness coexist there. Maturity consists not in the illusion of having access to pure and uncontaminated wisdom to offer, but in reconciliation with the ineliminable presence of contradiction and evil in us and with the ever-present risk of folly.

The understanding that comes from humility ultimately consists precisely in this. In all our ecclesial activities, the coexistence of wisdom and folly, the frightening possibility of intending to dispense the former and instead offering the latter, are consequences of God’s patience. There is no way forward other than to accept this risk; we must accept it, because God accepts it—and God accepts it because without it, none of us would be saved. The only perfection, the only justice, the only wisdom to which we have access in this age is the Father’s mercy and a discernment that must be taken up day after day, tirelessly, until our last breath.

Luigi Gioia, Saint Benedict’s Wisdom: Monastic Spirituality and the Life of the Church, tr. Barry Hudock (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2020), pp. 27-8.