Day 6: Stewardship of the Soil

 
Stewardship of the Soil
 
Hymn
 
O Lord, as You by Your command 
For all men’s use have made the land, 
Yet have allowed man’s wise decree
Rule it be cared for privately;
 
Let us know that what we control 
Is made for mankind as a whole, 
And we must an accounting give 
Of what God lends us while we live.
 
Through Jesus Christ let this be done, 
Who lives and reigns, our Lord, 
Your Son, Whom with the Spirit we adore, 
One God with You forevermore.
 
Antiphon
 
P. And other seeds fell upon good ground, and yielded fruit, / some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, and some thirtyfold.
 
(Psalm 64:10-14)
 
All: You have visited the land and watered it; greatly have you enriched it.
 
God’s watercourses are filled; / you have prepared the grain.
 
Thus have you prepared the land, / drenching its furrows, / breaking up its clods.
 
Softening it with showers, / blessing its yield.
 
You have crowned the year with your bounty, / and your paths overflow with a rich harvest;
 
The untilled meadows overflow with it, / and rejoicing clothes the hills.
 
The fields are garmented with flocks / and the valleys blanketed with grain. / They shout and sing for joy.
 
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, / and to the Holy Spirit,
 
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be / world without end. Amen.
 
Antiphon
 
All: And other seeds fell upon good ground, and yielded fruit, / some a hundred fold, some sixtyfold, and some thirtyfold.
 
P. (Chapter–James 5:7-10) Be patient therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruits of the earth, being patient until it receives the early and late rain. Do you also be patient; strengthen your hearts; for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
 
R. Thanks be to God.
V. Prepare your work outdoors, and diligently till the ground.
R. That afterwards you may build your house.
 
Let us pray.
 
P. Pour down Your blessing, we beg of You, O Lord, upon Your people, and upon all the fruits of the earth, so that when collected they may be mercifully distributed to the honor and glory of Your holy name, through Christ our Lord.
 
R. Amen.
V. St. Isidore.
R. Pray for us.
 
Prayer in Honor of Saint Isidore
 
All: O God, who taught Adam the simple art of tilling the soil, / and who through Jesus Christ, the true vine, / revealed Yourself the husbandman of our souls, / deign, we pray, through the merits of blessed Isidore, / to instill into our hearts a horror of sin and a love of prayer, / so that working the soil in the sweat of our brow, / we may enjoy eternal happiness in heaven, through the same Christ our Lord.
 
R. Amen.
V The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit. 
V. Let us bless the Lord. 
R. Thanks be to God.
V. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. R. Amen.
 
REFLECTION*
 
The surface of the earth is particularly within the care of the farmer. He keeps it for his own sustenance and gain, but his gain is also the gain of all the rest of us. At best, he accumulates little to himself. The successful farmer is the one who produces more than he needs for his support; and the surplus he does not keep; moreover, his own needs are easily satisfied. It is of the utmost consequence that the man next to the earth shall lead a fair and simple life; for in riotous living he might halt many good supplies that now go to his fellows.
 
It is a public duty so to train the farmer that he shall appreciate his guardianship. He is engaged in a quasi-public business. He really does not even own his land. He does not take his land with him, but only the personal development that he gains from it. He cannot annihilate his land, as another might destroy all his belongings.
 
He is God’s partner, the representative of society to guard and to subdue the surface of the earth. He must exercise his dominion with due regard to all these obligations. He is a trustee. The productiveness of the earth must increase from generation to generation: this also is his obligation. He must handle all his materials, remembering man and remembering God.
 
* “The Holy Earth” by L. H. Bailey
 
Recite the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be (etc.), three times, followed by a prayer of your choice for special needs.