May 14, 2006

Getting a Pruning

Fr. Cantalamessa's homily for this Sunday's gospel of the vine and the branches is so beautiful that I don't even want to write my own reflection. Zenit has a translation.

He explains that to live is to choose, and to choose is to shut out other options. If we don't choose what we want to be about our lives will be dissipated among too many things, and we won't bear much fruit. We must prune our lives so that our fruitful branches will bear even more fruit!

This really speaks to me as I approach my final vows as a friar. This permanent profession of the religious life in obedience, poverty, and chastity shuts out a lot of other possibilities. It is a letting go of many other goods, the loss of which I grieve now and will no doubt grieve in the future.

Pruning gives more life and energy to fruitful branches, that they might bear even more fruit. If I have found myself fruitful in the Lord in my religious life, why wouldn't I desire to have other possibilities pruned away? How can I not strive to be single-minded in the path that has proved so fruitful?


Crescentius of Iesi said...

Our dear brother, Raniero, indeed wrote a beautiful reflection on the Gospel reading for today. I also enjoyed the insight into your own discernment process my brother.

This Gospel always brings to mind the gift of fraternity. "You are the branches..." I am part of a larger whole. With Jesus as the vine, my brothers and I become self-expressions of Jesus. I find this self-expression in community. This is also cause for some fear. At times I do not trust in my brothers.

I think Paul felt this in the first reading when the other "branches" were afraid of him, not believing him to be a disciple. I feel that Paul was also afraid of them. Paul was always bold and brash... but he did not go and confront the others and try to prove that he was one with them. Instead Barnabas "took charge of him and brought him to the apostles..." It was 'the other'(Barnabas) who worked on behalf of Paul to graft Paul to the community. Barnabas took charge, pruned away all mis-conceptions and grafted a mighty branch.

If this fear that Paul and the apostles felt would have continued Paul would have remained outside of the Apostolic ministry and maybe would have dissipated into history. I thank God for my brothers and sisters who at times need to take charge and bring me places where I fear.

+Crescentius of Iesi

friar minor said...

With such reflections, Crescentius, and with your duties as general clearly at an end, you ought to get your own blog and publish your thoughts.

Hit the "get your own" button at the top of the blog screen