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The sacraments--Baptism, Penance, Matrimony--dispense graces. Their effects, however, are dependent on the recipient's disposition. Christ is the dispenser of graces. But, at the same time, He wields a winnowing fan to clear His threshing floor of chaff while keeping the grain.

Early in the gospels, the cockles were allowed to stay with the wheat; but, today, when the end times are near, the cockles are removed from the wheat, and the chaff from the grain. While angels remove the cockles from the wheat, the winnowing fan removes the chaff from the grain.

The message of Advent is, 'Don't be a chaff; be a grain." Otherwise you could be blown away from the Christian community into unquenchable fire. 

What is the winnowing fan and the wind that scatters the chaff here and there while leaving the heavier grain in a heap on the floor? The wind represents temptation. When the soul is overcome, it shows it is a chaff. No, it is not the temptation or the fact that one is overwhelmed that makes one a chaff. The fall shows one is already a chaff. The wind simply shows what stuff one is made of.

On the other hand, the endurance of temptation merely brings to light that one is a grain.

The chaff is likened to a man who built his house on sand. There is knowledge of the commands of Christ; but there is no obedience to the commands of Christ.

The grains are those who build the foundation of their spiritual life on the interlocking bricks of God's commands, i.e. obedience to all the commands of Christ.

God sends us tests and trials and allows temptations that we may know what stuff we are made  of, chaff or grain. "Do you think I had any other purpose in speaking to you than to reveal your virtues?" "I humbled you and made you feel the pangs of hunger in order to find out what was in your heart." 







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The Winnowing Fan hopes ..." to do what little it could to solve the evils that beset the church."

                                                                                        - Teresa of Avila


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