Palm tree, the

And the blackthorn

September 6th 2016
In the Psalms we are told, ‘The righteous will flourish like a palm tree’. This is a magnificent image, but how should we interpret it? The palm tree grows in the desert sands where the sun beats down on it ferociously and where water is very scarce. However, the palm tree tells itself, ‘I am going to show what I am capable of even in the worst conditions’, and it offers us dates which are sweeter and more sugary than any other fruit. The palm tree is therefore an alchemist: it transforms sand into sugar. While the blackthorn bush, even when planted in the richest of soil, when well-watered and in a good climate, only gives bitter inedible fruit. So many people are like the blackthorn! They are given the best possible conditions but they don’t know how to take advantage of them. And not only do they produce nothing, they are always complaining they are lacking something. They are not aware of the riches they have within and how they might use them. They would do better to meditate on the image of the palm tree which, despite the worst conditions, is able to bear delicious fruit.