Sunday's Gospel: John 15:1-8
Jesus said to his disciples: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”
I love this Gospel. In it God tells us that He will prune away the bad branches, but He will also prune the fruitful branches so that they will bear more fruit. What does that say? It says YOU WILL BE PRUNED! We all need to be pruned so that we can be a true follower and give God the greatest of our fruits. Hardships are a part of life. These struggles are a blessing to us. We can use them to strip away our bad spiritual branches and grow better spiritual fruit.
We all struggle in this life. There is always going to be a person or situation that tests your will and faith. It is in these tests that we can develop our faith and bolster our spirit. We can pray deeper, read further, and spread the light in the dark. Without fear, we should take these opportunities to grow our faith. (Easier said than done, I know)
In all honesty, I have been struggling, and it seems like I pray and pray and pray and nothing changes. I am hurt. The wound is still raw and I don't see it getting better. Instead, it is festering in my heart. In this situation I am not being the best person I can be. I go through the motions of prayer, but my heart is hard. I have fallen into the routine of prayer without heart. I NEED TO BE PRUNED! Jesus is talking to ME here. He is telling me to cut out this wound so that it can heal cleanly in CHRIST. I can persevere. I can learn patience and forgiveness. But first, I need to look at myself and ask for the forgiveness of my own sins.
Ideally, we need to be willing to be pruned. Instead of just praying for help, pray to BE the help. I think it is about time to take a more active role in my own faith. It is time to move from behind the books and out from the pews. It is time to take this faith to the street and live the way He has called us. It is time to remain in Him so that He remains in me. Every action and thought should be for Him. Get out of the routine and make an effort to focus on Jesus in our daily lives, not just on Sunday.
Dearest Father in heaven, thank you for correcting me when I am wrong, forgiving me when I sin, and loving me as the person I am. Holy Spirit, fill my soul with a fire to follow You and keep me humble in Your will. Jesus, increase in me so that I may decrease. Continue to prune me so that I may remain in You as You remain in me. Amen.