WINNOWING FAN (LUKE
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."