There is no time like fall to appreciate the magnificent generosity of God. The fields that a few weeks ago were filled with plants reaching for the sky—full of grain and corn and beans and all sorts of other crops—have yielded their bounty.
In orchards’ tidy rows, the branches of trees that were dipping toward the ground as they tried to support the burden of their heavy fruits, have done the same.
In so many ways, the earth lets us know once again that its promise has been fulfilled as God intended. With fields harvested and those orchards picked, their abundance is now available to us, whether in farm markets or roadside stands or at your local supermarket. This is the time of year when we can see and smell and taste how good God is to us. There is no doubt. But when we think of the fruits of the harvest, let us not limit ourselves to this familiar yearly cycle. There are many seeds that are planted which do not bear their fruit according to that calendar. Some take years to mature.
At Catholic Relief Services, we till the ground in a variety of ways. Certainly we work in agriculture, one of our signature program areas. Because of your generosity, farmers all over the world grow more and better crops. Their families are better fed; their communities are more prosperous. In this season of harvest, they experience the bounty of God just as you do. But at CRS, we also help to grow many other types of crops. Think of when we bring prenatal care to an expectant mother. Or when we bring her new baby proper nutrition. When is that plant harvested? In a healthy birth? Certainly. In a smiling toddler? Of course. But even as it yields these wonderful fruits, that crop does not fully ripen for years and years. Because if that infant had not received proper care in the womb, if she had not been fed nutritiously in her first 3 years, she would never have grown into a healthy adult, ready to take her place in society. She would be like a crop in the field that had never been watered, that had never been tended to properly. She would never have developed her full potential as God intended.
There is a term we use in our agriculture work—“inputs.” It can mean a wide variety of things, from seeds and fertilizer to tools and training—almost anything that helps improve agriculture. Now think of all the inputs that go into all of our crops, whether they are in the field or the home or the marketplace or the schoolroom. That young girl who has been properly fed in the womb and in her early years still needs to receive nutrition, so her family grows better and more food, her mother is trained for a better job or starts a business with a small loan, earning money to provide better meals. She needs to be educated, so schools are built, teachers are trained, and materials are provided. She needs to be healthy, so clinics are staffed and medicines are made available. These are all some of the inputs you provide to that growing girl through Catholic Relief Services. They help children grow up healthy so they can live full lives. So as we see the bounty of our Lord in these months of harvest, let us not forget the many other cycles of growth that run through our lives and through our world. What is so wonderful about harvest time is it reminds us of the cycle of growth. Healthy babies grow into healthy, educated adults who contribute to their societies. In turn, they become supportive parents who can raise their children. They provide their own inputs.
God’s fields are never fallow. They are always providing a harvest that is humbling in its generosity.
May blessings overflow,
Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo
President & CEO