(July 9)

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15: 1-5)

Just stay connected to Me, the Lord says to us, and you will “bear much fruit,” even though your “fruitfulness” will at times be painful. Because the Father “prunes” us throughout the “birth-pains” of our personality, which is both tested and developed by the cross-carrying “vocation” we share with our Lord Jesus Christ. But if we choose to self-isolate, and dis-connect from Christ’s cross-carrying Way, we will “do nothing.” Perhaps even a whole lot of “nothing.” And that’s a bad thing, because “doing nothing” breeds fear.

But it’s a good thing, whenever we are called to share of ourselves, or to “bear fruit” from ourselves, according to our vocation, even as we make ourselves vulnerable both to the acceptance(s) and rejection(s) of that self-offering. We are “pruned” in a painful process that leads us to bear even “more fruit,” if we maintain our focus on the One who called us to our particular vocation. Lord, help me to open up to Your call today, that I may “bear much fruit,” rather than “do nothing.”