Theology and Potatoes

St. Gregory of Nyssa says that there are three levels at which we participate in God: through understanding which banishes evil behaviour, through appreciation of beauty which is the contemplation of God in created things, and through darkness which exposes us to He who is beyond ourselves.  
And today, I plant potatoes.
I know from experience and instruction that the soil must be prepared to receive the seed.  What is unfruitful has to be removed so that good fruit can be born. I have to build a fence around the garden or the ducks and chickens will peck and peck my potatoes and they will never grow.  I understand these things (the easy part), but I also must do them.  I must make my body obey my mind.  This is the beginning of theosis, participation in God.  This is salvation.
And today, I plant potatoes.
Life is in the seed: how lovely the sprout.  Life is in the soil: warm, black, crawling and squirming.  The duck does not understand.  The chicken cannot know.  Adam alone understands and restrains the animals so that they may have more in the autumn, that there be plenty in the winter.  And so God calls me to restraint, to exchange things earthly for things heavenly.  In the beauty of the garden, I come to know the Gardener.
And today, I plant potatoes.
And then the darkness.  I bury my food to find more food.  In the darkness of death, or threatened death, or even just not getting my way, I do not see.  Why has God buried me?  Why is He so far from the voice of my groaning?  Why does he let us suffer so? Warm black darkness, the crawling worms, the hopeful sprout in darkness that pushes, pushes, pushes to the Light.
And today, I plant potatoes.


  1. It is beautiful, but…
    don't underestimate the Wise Little Hen. This little Disney cartoon illustrates the point that we need to embrace her and cooperate and participate with all.

    PS Fr. M. I will visit again

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