Last spring, I built a garden for the first time in my backyard. I flourished various categories of veggies: beets, cucumbers, acorn squash, carrots, shallots and, of course, tomatoes. I learned a lot about gardening and gained a greater appreciation for the natural environment. And in some small behavior, I savor the labors my forebears cuddled to survive for hundreds of generations. Gardening even increased my appreciation for some of the agricultural comments in the Bible. I didn’t prune a grape vine, but last-place summer, I snipped my tomato plants. To cut off all those little shoots went against my inclination that “more is better.” But, at the advice of my green thumb father, I pruned the diverges. Limbs that were already standing result then produced large-scale, savory, red tomatoes in abundance. Pruning made already worthwhile forks even more fruitful.
So , now that I have done the project, I understand aims of a vinedresser: to snip the branches that is the fruit. For the disciplines to bear fruit, they must remain in the vine, or the stem, which allows the flower to draw life from the flora. The life of the plant bears fruit through the discipline; the chapter doesn’t bear fruit on its own. The Apostle John educates his books to desire “in deed and truth” and “not in statement or speech.” Faith without duties is dead. It is not enough to “say” one is a disciple, or to check a container on a sketch that “says” one is Catholic, or to merely “think” that the precepts are important. To be a disciple, one must believe and love and follow the Lord from the extents of the heart all the way out to the actions of the body. Then, the field will remain in the vine. To remain in the vine, the follower must live his or her life in Christ. The disciple must trust in the Lord and His commandments in order to observe the commandments in daily life.
Sometimes, when I discover a command, or a belief of the Church, I require someone to prove to me “why” I should follow it before I am willing to follow it. The world is, I won’t understand the “why, ” until I do the “do.” For example, St. Paul says, “pray without ceasing.” And until I actually try to pray without ceasing, I won’t understand why this commandment is worth following. I think here is where faith is important. I may not understand all the “whys” for all the things I need to “do” to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. It’s ok. First, I need to learn to rely the Lord, to rely His Word: to have faith. Not a blind sect, but a sect that attempts understanding. And then, as I walk in His commandments, I will understand His precepts. If I wait until I “understand” before I begin to “do, ” I will not understand and I will not bear fruit.
So, I pruned my tomato plants and they suffer outcome. Our spiritual life-times is required to be pruned as well in order for us to bear fruit. The command is set out in the Gospel for pruning is related to “catharsis” which signifies “to purify.” In our life in Christ, we remain in Christ: in faith and in deed. The Father will prune us, He will refine us. Pruning may come in the form of trials and tribulations from the outside. Or snipping may come from within when we willingly drive sinful thoughts and practices from our natures. But , nonetheless, if we remain in Christ, and say His commandments, He will give us His life in return, and we will bear much return: love, exhilaration, peacefulnes, persistence, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
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