Lent with Bossuet – Meditations on the Gospel (17)

Source: FSSPX News

Detail from “The Burial of Jesus” (1563) – Thomas Pot

The Desiccated Fig Tree

“And seeing a certain fig tree by the way side, He came to it, and found nothing on it but leaves only, and He saith to it: May no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And immediately the fig tree withered away” (Mt. 21:19). It is not necessary, therefore, to ask what this fig tree had done, nor what it had deserved—everyone knows that a tree merits nothing—nor to consider this a malediction of the Saviour with reference to the fig tree, since it was only the subject of the parable.

It is necessary to understand what this tree represented, that is, the reasonable creature who always owes the fruits of his works to his Creator, whenever He asks for some; and when He finds only leaves, and nothing solid, the Creator rightfully curses him.

What is a fig tree without fruit, or a man without good works? God has His hour when He waits for the desired fruit. If the hour has passed, and we have failed Him, He pronounces the sad sentence. The tree, without being cut down, is desiccated to the very root. This is damnation before death. We see the tree standing, but it has death in its heart. “Thou hast the name of being alive, but thou art dead” (Apoc.3:1). Let us then be faithful and ready to give our fruit to the Saviour whenever He asks for some.