• Sarah Raad


God does not wish to waste any apples – after all, even bruised apples can be turned into a delicious drink…

Woman Caught in Adultery (unknown artist)

Apple Cider is an interesting drink. The first references to the drink date back to 55BC where references exist that the ancient Greeks made an alcoholic drink from apples.

The interesting thing about apple cider is that it only makes use of second-grade (not the premium grade) apples. While there is nothing really wrong with the apples used in cider, when making cider, it is the damaged and bruised apples that are used, and not the apples that are premium grade and ready for fresh consumption.

The American poet, Robert Frost, described the process of sorting the apples for cider in his 1914 poem, “After Apple-Picking”. In the poem, Frost wrote, “For all That struck the earth, No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble, Went surely to the cider-apple heap As of no worth.” In other words, when the apples are being harvested, any apple that falls and touches the ground – whether it was bruised or not – goes into the apple cider heap “as if no worth”.

And I have been thinking about that process involved in sorting apples for cider over the last few days as I have been thinking of the state of my soul.

You see, my soul is small, miserable and sinful. It is like the apples fallen on the ground. Perhaps from the outside everything appears alright – just as sometimes, bruised apples do not appear bruised from the outside – but inside there is a bruise or a stain, which means that the fruit will never be first-grade fruit and could be tossed away...

So, what does God do about that sin – that bruise – inside my soul?

Well, ours is a God of Mercy… And that means He will not cast me away – no matter what I have done. Instead, He puts me on the “cider heap” and leaves me there. And once there, if I choose to turn back to God and confess my sins, I can be transformed – just as the apple is transformed from a bruised fruit into a delicious drink…

You see, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Sacrament of the Holy Mass, my sins are transformed into Grace… And Grace makes me strong and leads me home.

In his homily on the Gospel of John (8:1-11) Pope Francis addressed the woman accused of adultery…

Pope Francis said, “Only the woman and Jesus remained: misery and mercy… ‘Woman, where are they?’ (John 8:10). Jesus said to her. This question is enough, and his merciful gaze, full of love, in order to let that person feel – perhaps for the first time – that she has dignity; that she can change her life, she can emerge from her slavery and walk on a new path.”

And when my “misery meets (His) mercy” there is a transformation such that the world cannot comprehend.

And I believe this with my whole soul. For mine is not the first miserable soul to encounter my Beloved…

The soul who denied Christ THREE TIMES – Saint Simon Peter – received the Keys to the Kingdom. The soul who was a greedy and corrupt tax collector – Saint Matthew – wrote a Gospel and died a martyr for love of God. The man who persecuted Christians – Saint Paul – became one of the most prominent voices of the New Testament. The man who lived his life in debauchery, lust and sins of the flesh – Saint Augustine – became Bishop of Hippo and Doctor of the Church.

You see, Christ came to call sinners because He does not wish to waste any apples – after all, even bruised apples can be turned into a delicious drink…

And there is such JOY in Heaven at such a marvel – such wonderful JOY!

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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