Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pomegranate Harvest

THE BEST POMEGRANATES are said to grow in Afghanistan, where today exports are increasing and opium production is decreasing as the fruit becomes globally more popular. We should be glad. 

Now is the time of the pomegranate harvest in Afghanistan. And as the fruit has been cultivated since the earliest days of civilization, it is symbolically rich. In other words, human beings have had a long time to think about the deeper significance or meaning of the tree and its fruit. Here considering some of the characteristics of the pomegranate and then, perhaps like a Rorschach test, what immediately comes to mind.

The only fruit worms do not eat or corrupt: Asking God to heal humankind of our own very deep corruption and loss.

When the roots of the pomegranate tree are separated, they always twist together again: Many roots insisting on unity. Human beings might try that for real - not for any gain, agenda or national interest, but simply for the sake of friendship.

One of the most juicy fruits found anywhere: It is said to be an original paradise plant, inviting us to consider the gifts of air, soil, water, the plants and animals.

It supplies a red dye from red seeds: prayers for the Ebola-stricken countries of Africa where sufferers bleed out shortly before death.

King Solomon had an enclosed garden of these trees: We each carry an inner enclosed garden - a place of intimacy with the God of life.

Pomegranates are the biblical symbol of abundance: The spiritual life is gratitude for the abundance surrounding us and the call to give ourselves in a like abundance.

Pomegranates symbolize the Christian attributes of the fertile Virgin: Mary! But perhaps also an inner gift untapped or un-expressed or that inner psychological place still held in reserve - waiting to open up to growth.

Sanctity ~ Holiness: The sign of sanctity is our personal evolution or changing, even in our psychology. That we would allow God to grow us up!

In the ancient Hebrew Temple of Jerusalem, the High Priest wore a vestment which had sewn decorative pomegranates of blue, purple, scarlet around the hem and small golden bells to scare away the demons at the temple threshold: That there are negative forces or energies that want us undone or taken down personally from the things of God and full human living. We need to be aware and protective of ourselves spiritually. 

Pomegranates are a symbol of the Church and God's spiritual gifts: The Church is the friends of Jesus gathered around him in the obedience of faith and love - working with Jesus to establish and extend God's Kingdom-Rule.

The Pomegranate tree possesses brilliant flowers without fragrance: We often approach a flower that has gotten our attention only to be disappointed to discover it has no fragrance. Why is it so often that we live in disappointment - that we feel it is never enough?

Sometimes the pomegranate is said to be the fruit of the tree of knowledge: The Genesis story tells us that our original downfall was/is our desire for knowledge and power. It seems we have an inability to let God be God.

The top of the pomegranate fruit is surrounded by rising parts that resemble a crown. The perfect kingdom: We create kingdoms, empires, realms, caliphates. Some pastors are kingdom builders. The Jesuit Fathers have as their motto: "To the Greater Glory of God."

With the fruit burst open, the pomegranate is called a symbol of concord, truth and frankness: These would be the character traits needed of world leaders who might someday set out to create a world of peace where families and orchards can grow and the planet heal of war.


  1. Thank you for introducing us to the symbolic meanings of the pomegranate. A symbol transforms abstract concepts, ideas and beliefs into tangible things that we can understand. The pomegranate plant is evergreen throughout the year, which lead us to attribute to it the immortality of the soul; the pomegranate as the symbol of eternal life.

  2. The beautiful thing about pomegranates is that it's use in religious reference transcends Judaism, Christianity, Islam and even Chinese culture. It really does unite us through it's symbolism. Maybe we should keep in mind that our roots are not so different and we should let them intertwine.

  3. The fresh pomegranate requires much work and patience to eat. There must be some symbolism in that also. The labor is great, but the reward is even greater.

  4. There's a story told about a priest who went to visit a convent early one morning to offer Mass for the sisters. He celebrated the Mass and on the way out he came upon a sister on her hands and knees scrubbing the hallway floor. He said to her, "Sister, you work too hard." She looked up at him from under her headgear and replied, "Heaven isn't cheap you know" A lot of people think you have to break a sweat to live spiritually. Maybe the spiritual message of eating the pomegranate fruit is: Just keep at it - steadily.

  5. But to have a clean heart can be difficult, so for some of us, to live a good spiritual life, does require the hard work that might break a sweat as you say. It is harder for some of us than others. You might have worked it out to a slow and steady pace, but I haven't mastered that yet

  6. If you try to grow plants fast - lots of fertilizer, turn up the heat, turn up the light - you're not going to get good plants. The spiritual life is more like nature - slow growth, slow ripening, slow bloom. Apples, melons and tomatoes don't happen fast.