Monday, May 7, 2012

Devotion for today: prune us and help us live!

Let us take a look at this past Sunday’s readings.
Scripture for meditation: 1 John 3:23-24
His commandment is this: we are to believe in the name of his son, Jesus Christ, and are to love one another as he commanded us. Those who keep his commandments remain in him and he in them.

Christ tells us: John 15: 1-5
“I am the true vine and my Father is the vinegrower. He prunes away every barren branch, but the fruitful one he trims clean to increase their yield. You are clean already, thanks to the word I have spoken to you. Live on in me, as I do in you. No more than a branch can bear fruit of itself apart from the vine, can you bear fruit apart from me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who lives in me and I in him, will produce abundantly, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

Deacon Tom Yehle of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, VA shares this wisdom: … It is this life that Christ speaks of in today’s Gospel. Here he does not call us only to believe in him, but to become one with him as branches on a vine are one with the vine. It is the life given us in Baptism and renewed in the Eucharist. It calls us to follow the commandments, to become one with the risen Lord in obedience to God and service to one another. Just as the branches receive life through the vine, so too do we when we draw close to Christ and live our life more closely with him. And as the vine branches bear fruit, so too do we when we follow the way of the commandments that God marks out for us. As Christ was obedient to God in going to the cross so that we may have new life, so too do we find the path of new life along that of obedience to God…. The pruning or chastising or humiliation or great and perhaps even enormous sacrifices that we are often called to make on behalf of life and love of God and the Church are often the places where God wishes to prune us. This pruning may be painful at first, but it is done so that we may grow back stronger, stronger in ways that matter, ways that bear great fruit in our world that lasts beyond our abilities to comprehend. So let us seek to follow Christ and draw close to him. Let him be not the copilot, but the captain of your life. Let him strengthen you in the sacraments and prayer and community and living a life that patterns itself on He who loves us (Excerpts are from Sunday’s homily, St. Ambrose Parish, May 6, 2012).

Prayer: Father and Vine Grower, you planted your vine in the hardened earth of sinful humanity and caused it to grow through death to life. Unite us in Christ, in faith and love, that we may bear much fruit. We ask in his name, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen. Magnificat Magazine, May, 2012)

My thoughts: I have been working in my garden this spring, have planted some pretty flowers, have pulled many weeds, have pruned my bushes and trimmed my trees. Everything is beginning to look beautiful. It is hard work on my part, but the end result is truly worth it. Our souls are God’s garden. He is hard at work, planting new graces, pulling out the weeds of sin, pruning us of our prideful ways and trimming back our selfish desires. The end result, a beautiful heart filled with the beauty of God’s love living in us, is well worth the effort. Let us provide the fertile soil for God’s handiwork. Let us bear the pain of letting go and letting God…and let us remember what Deacon Yehle told us in his Sunday homily, “Let us live a life that patterns itself on He who loves us.”
Our prayer to God: The branches I cut off my trees died when I left them on the ground, severed from their life source. Once God has pruned us, let us leave the sins and imperfections behind us, and let them die. Then let us fill the empty spots with the new life which will enter from our life source: Jesus Christ himself. Ahh, just feel the beauty growing in your heart! Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, help us to become a breath of life in this dying world. Help our hearts to bear fruit and flowers which we can share with our fellow man on this journey of life. Let us bring forth beauty, goodness and kindness wherever we go. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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