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Here's to eating the fruit in season
A reflection on the duty of the moment
I have recently fallen in love with Ben Rector’s song catalogue all over again.
These last days, I’ve listening to his latest album The Joy of Music. It’s a love letter to the ways Rector has seen himself grow as he has seen his personal vocation change. His music, which has always been beautiful and thoughtful, find particular poise and musical depth in this latest collection of songs.
The other morning I was listening to Ben Rector’s song “Living My Best Life”—another fun song that I will share because it’s a jam:
Though my plays of the song were probably in the double digits by this point, in this most recent listen there was one line jumped out at me and prompted deeper reflection: “But I'm learning how to eat the fruit that is in season.”
All of this made me think about berries.
Like many other fruits, berries go through their own growing and harvesting seasons: strawberries in May, blueberries in July, blackberries in late August/early September.
You probably have experienced the sour disappointment that comes from eating a berry that isn’t ripe yet. While the outward appearance of the berry may look mature and ready, the inside fruit may still be very young. Subsequently, it may not be the most enjoyable piece of fruit to eat.
“Learning how to eat the fruit that is in season” is a great parallel to “the duty of the present moment”.
This theme comes up again and again in the writings of many spiritual giants, including Servant of God Catherine Doherty, Venerable Fulton Sheen, and Jean-Pierre De Caussade to name a few. Instead of reaching out to eat berries before their ripe, or pining for the berries of the summer while in the dead of winter, we’re invited to enjoy the fruits that are set before us in the current season… even if it means they aren’t berries at all.
Of course, I might be taking the berry metaphor too literally. But the point remains that God invites us to live and embrace the present moment, recognizing that His will is present there, too.
I have seen the ways in which I’ve tried to rush through seasons and bypass the fruit of the moment.
It can be easy to rush ahead and try to harvest the fruits that aren’t ready yet—reaching and grasping for things that aren’t there or don’t exist. This isn’t to say that I’m without any ‘fruit’ right now: There is plenty of variety out there, each with its own uniqueness and deliciousness. But sometimes, it may not be the fruit that you want or prefer.
Ben Rector’s “Living My Best Life” was a great callback to the ‘right now’: to put aside the envy of what could be, and to engage with the current moment that God has invited me into.
There is naturally a biblical tie in to this: Adam and Eve grasping for fruit that was not meant for them—an apple from a particular tree—due to mistrust in God’s goodness.
Trusting in God’s timing—even when it feels uncomfortable, lacks satisfaction or even comes off as boring—requires a great level of surrender. In the same way that we have to wait patiently for planted seeds to bear fruit, perhaps that is the invitation of the present moment: to allow ourselves to be planted, nourished, and even buried so that we can receive the fruits that are meant for us.
I wanted to close with a quote from Catherine Doherty:
“The duty of the moment is what you should be doing at any given time, in whatever place God has put you. You may not have Christ in a homeless person at your door, but you may have a little child. If you have a child, your duty of the moment may be to change a dirty diaper.
So you do it.
But you don't just change that diaper, you change it to the best of your ability, with great love for both God and that child… There are all kinds of good Catholic things you can do, but whatever they are, you have to realize that there is always the duty of the moment to be done. And it must be done, because the duty of the moment is the duty of God.” (Dear Parents, 1997)
Whatever season you find yourself in, may we seek out and enjoy the fruits of this current season that the Lord has placed in our midst.
By remaining in the present moment and engaging with the place that God has us in, maybe we’ll learn something new about ourselves or receive graces that we didn’t know we needed. But one thing is for certain: wherever we find ourselves will prepare us for the future. The invitation remains, though, to stay put and live where we are—right here, right now.
Let’s enjoy the fruits of the present moment. I’m right there with you, and I’m praying for you, too!
In Jesus Master,