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My Bean Plants and St. Augustine

I have been looking at my hyacinth bean ("bataw") vines each morning to look for buds that will turn into flowers and produce fruit. But then the past two weeks the cold temperature was not kind to the plants. The growth was slow and the foliage was not thick despite my fertilizing and watering them. I am not sure if I will ever see pods that I can harvest before the end of fall.

I then realized that I did not plant my bataw seeds early enough when there was abundant summer sunshine that they need to flourish and fruit. But I have not given up hope. The weather can probably still improve for it . . . just probably.

If only I had not planted them late.

This thought made me recall St. Augustine's famous lament that he wrote about in his "Confessions":

“Late have I loved you, O beauty so ancient and so new: late have I loved you."

There is obviously a huge difference between the time of planting seeds and the time of conversion of a man to his God.

My bean plants planted late may not bear much fruit, if any, before it withers and dies. But man who gets the grace of conversion to God can still live a holy life and end up being a saint, as Augustine did.

While a man lives, even if he wallows in immoral and riotous living, like the prodigal son in the Gospel, can still receive the grace of conversion. God is a God of many chances, of endless love, and of boundless mercy.

Maybe some of us can relate to the experience that St. Augustine wrote about in his "Confessions," or appreciate the beauty (in poetic language) of his conversion story:

“Late have I loved you, O beauty so ancient and so new: late have I loved you."

And see, you were within and I was in the external world and sought you there, and in my unlovely state I plunged into those lovely created things which you made. You were with me, and I was not with you. The lovely things kept me far from you, though if they did not have their existence in you, they had no existence at all. You called and cried out loud and shattered my deafness. You were radiant and resplendent, you put to flight my blindness. You were fragrant, and I drew in my breath and now pant after you. I tasted you, and I feel but hunger and thirst for you. You touched me, and I am set on fire to attain the peace which is yours.”

God's call is always there, present to us. It is a call to holiness, to Himself, as the Church always reminds us (The Universal Call to Holiness). He has planted seeds of holiness in us. And it is never late for those seeds to germinate, grow and bear fruit . . . unlike my late-planted bataw plants.#

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