“The Church herself is a field, within which seeds and weeds, the good and the wicked, grow together, a place where there is room to grow, to be converted and above all to imitate God’s patience. The wicked exist in this world either to be converted or that through them the good may exercise patience.”
But weeds are worthwhile, too. Weeds exist for a purpose, and that purpose, according to Augustine, is to be converted and to help those already converted to reach deeper levels of conversion.
I have people in my life who are weeds, but I generally find that they do help me by forcing me to exercise some virtue I might not otherwise exercise.
I’m sure I have same effect on others!
But I like the Thomas Fuller quote: “A good garden may have some weeds.”
The Church is perhaps the best garden there is: it is where faith grows, where God becomes present, and where we come to experience Christ. Yet there are weeds in it. But God works through them.
I’m reminded of something St. John Vianney once said about priests who had lost their passion and were on the slope to losing their faith. He wrote that God uses even those most unworthy men to bring his presence to the altar at Mass.
God uses the weeds!