The parable of the sower
With a large crowd gathering and people from every town finding their way to him, Jesus used this parable:
‘A sower went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some fell on the edge of the path and was trampled on; and the birds of the air ate it up. Some seed fell on rock, and when it came up it withered away, having no moisture. Some seed fell amongst thorns and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some seed fell into rich soil and grew and produced its crop a hundredfold.’ Saying this he cried, ‘Listen, anyone who has ears to hear!’
His disciples asked him what this parable might mean, and he said, ‘The mysteries of the kingdom of God are revealed to you; for the rest there are only parables, so that
they may see but not perceive,
listen but not understand.
‘This, then, is what the parable means: the seed is the word of God. Those on the edge of the path are people who have heard it, and then the devil comes and carries away the word from their hearts in case they should believe and be saved. Those on the rock are people who, when they first hear it, welcome the word with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of trial they give up. As for the part that fell into thorns, this is people who have heard, but as they go on their way they are choked by the worries and riches and pleasures of life and do not reach maturity. As for the part in the rich soil, this is people with a noble and generous heart who have heard the word and take it to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance.’
Source: Jerusalem Bible
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Facing difficulties in prayer
2729 The habitual difficulty in prayer is distraction. It can affect words and their meaning in vocal prayer; it can concern, more profoundly, him to whom we are praying, in vocal prayer (liturgical or personal), meditation, and contemplative prayer. To set about hunting down distractions would be to fall into their trap, when all that is necessary is to turn back to our heart: for a distraction reveals to us what we are attached to, and this humble awareness before the Lord should awaken our preferential love for him and lead us resolutely to offer him our heart to be purified. Therein lies the battle, the choice of which master to serve.
2730 In positive terms, the battle against the possessive and dominating self requires vigilance, sobriety of heart. When Jesus insists on vigilance, he always relates it to himself, to his coming on the last day and every day: today. The bridegroom comes in the middle of the night; the light that must not be extinguished is that of faith: “‘Come,’ my heart says, ‘seek his face!'”
2731 Another difficulty, especially for those who sincerely want to pray, is dryness. Dryness belongs to contemplative prayer when the heart is separated from God, with no taste for thoughts, memories, and feelings, even spiritual ones. This is the moment of sheer faith clinging faithfully to Jesus in his agony and in his tomb. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if dies, it bears much fruit.” If dryness is due to the lack of roots, because the word has fallen on rocky soil, the battle requires conversion.
For the leader. On stringed instruments. A maskil of David.
Listen, God, to my prayer; do not hide from my pleading;
hear me and give answer. I rock with grief; I groan
at the uproar of the enemy, the clamor of the wicked. They heap trouble upon me, savagely accuse me.
My heart pounds within me; death’s terrors fall upon me.
Fear and trembling overwhelm me; shuddering sweeps over me.
I say, “If only I had wings like a dove that I might fly away and find rest.
Far away I would flee; I would stay in the desert. Selah
I would soon find a shelter from the raging wind and storm.”
Lord, check and confuse their scheming. I see violence and strife in the city
making rounds on its walls day and night. Within are mischief and evil;
treachery is there as well; oppression and fraud never leave its streets.
If an enemy had reviled me, that I could bear; If my foe had viewed me with contempt, from that I could hide.
But it was you, my other self, my comrade and friend,
You, whose company I enjoyed, at whose side I walked in procession in the house of God.
Let death take them by surprise; let them go down alive to Sheol, for evil is in their homes and hearts.
But I will call upon God, and the LORD will save me.
At dusk, dawn, and noon I will grieve and complain, and my prayer will be heard.
God will give me freedom and peace from those who war against me, though there are many who oppose me.
God, who sits enthroned forever, will hear me and humble them. For they will not mend their ways; they have no fear of God.
They strike out at friends and go back on their promises.
Softer than butter is their speech, but war is in their hearts. Smoother than oil are their words, but they are unsheathed swords.
Cast your care upon the LORD, who will give you support. God will never allow the righteous to stumble.
But you, God, will bring them down to the pit of destruction. These bloodthirsty liars will not live half their days, but I put my trust in you.
Source: The New American Bible