Fr. Dwight Longenecker: Be Prepared for the Sifting

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June 29, 2020
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June 29, 2020

By Fr. Dwight Longenecker, The Stream, June 28, 2020

Fr. Dwight Longenecker is a Catholic priest, author and speaker. Read Dwight Longenecker’s blog, listen to his podcasts, browse his books and be in touch at dwightlongenecker.comDwight Longenecker’s latest book Immortal Combat-Confronting the Heart of Darkness examines the origins of evil in the human heart and in society.


Dwight LongeneckerWhen grain was harvested by hand, the stalks of wheat would be cut at ground level and bundled. The bundles were then taken to the threshing floor.

This was an open space where the wheat would be beaten with flails — wooden rods with a shorter wooden rod attached with leather thongs. By beating the wheat, the threshing process broke the heads of grain from the stalks and broke the hardened shell around the grains of wheat. What was left on the threshing floor was a mixture of grain and chaff. The chaff was made up of the broken stalks and the hard shells surrounding the grains of wheat.

The chaff was trash. The grain was gold because it would be ground into flour to make bread.

The Sifting

The next stage in the process was sifting the grain from the chaff. This was done one of two ways: the first was by using a large rake called the winnowing fan to lift the mixture and throw it up in the air allowing the heavier grain to fall to the floor while the wind carried away the lighter, useless chaff. The second method of sifting was to put the grain and chaff in a large sieve like basket and shaking it so the smaller grain fell through to the floor and the chaff remained in the basket to be discarded. …

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