The unique story Jesus tells about the seed that grows in secret is an important reminder about how growth in virtue and holiness are essentially caused by grace. We can be under the illusion that our becoming holier or better people is somehow up to us. Sometimes we priests even hear in confession, “I haven’t been the best version of myself.” I would like to tell those people, for one, that it isn’t up to them how and when they become the best version of themselves. Second, I would like them to know that only God knows what we will become – so we couldn’t possibly know what the best version of ourselves looks like. “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall later be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” Grace is not something that we can either control or muster by our willing or trying. Grace does its own work just like the life and growth of a plant: all is contained within the seed, we can help make sure the conditions are present for growth to happen, but that growth happens from a vital cause hidden within the seed.