In New Wine Wednesday

By Heidi Hess Saxton


Untitled by Bill Williams via Unsplash

Untitled by Bill Williams via Unsplash



“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,
nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down
and thrown into the fire.
So by their fruits you will know them.”

Matthew 7:20

“Why is there no fruit on my tree?” is a question answered by Professor Robert Crassweller on the PennState Extension website. He gives three reasons that have applications not just to the garden, but to the spiritual life as well.

Reason #1: “Excessive Tree Vigor.” Trees that have been over fertilized or over-pruned will “expend all their energy in growing wood and do not produce flower buds.” While many of us are tempted to neglect our own spiritual needs and suffer burn-out, it is also possible to become so entrenched in our “holy huddle” that we no longer reach outside that circle. Lots of growth—but no fruit—ensues.

Reason#2: “Frost Damage.” Professor Crassweller observes that trees should be planted on slightly elevated land, and to plant later-blooming varieties. If we spend too much time focused on our children, and getting them to grow . . . our own productivity may decline and dwindle.

Reason #3: “Poor Pollination.” The better the pollination, the larger the fruit crop. Many kinds of fruit need to be cross-pollinated with other varieties in order to produce fruit. And too much insecticide can kill honeybees, which are indispensable to the production of fruit.

How do these principles apply to your life?

Holy Spirit, till the soil of my heart and bring a rich harvest of goodness to everyone I meet. 

heidi-2013 About the Author:

Heidi Hess Saxton is a Catholic wife and adoptive mother of two teenagers, and author of Advent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta and Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Servant). Saint Teresa was one of the “signpost” influencers who drew Heidi to the Church. Heidi writes for foster, adoptive, and special needs parents at “A Mother on the Road Less Traveled.”


Showing 5 comments
  • Gwen

    Heidi! Thank you! Love the comparisons and examples in your article! God Bless you!!

  • Karem

    Understood Reasons 1 and 2 for my spiritual growth. But I didn’t understand what poor pollination implied?

  • Carol Younger

    Hello, Heidi
    This commentary blessed me today. Thank you.

  • Alyssa Bormes

    Love it! Thank you!

  • Kathy

    I love this simple explanation jammed packed full of deep, provocative thought. Thanks for leaving much to “chew on” and “pray on” . Love, love, love, the art of challenging one to think for themselves and collaborate with the Holy Spirit.

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