Jesus said to his disciples: “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.” Jn 15:4-5
We all need Jesus! Jesus connects us with the Father, who gives us the gift of life. Every breath we take is a gift from God, and apart from Him, not only would we not bear fruit, but we would die! We are totally dependent on God, and the more time we spend with Him, the more productive, joyful, and fruitful our lives will be.
I like the image of being a branch attached to Jesus the vine, where the sap is the Holy Spirit. As we allow the Holy Spirit to correct us, teach us and fill us with God’s life, we grow more and more into His likeness and we enjoy the fruits of the Spirit. Attached to the vine, God’s life flows into us and we experience His love, His peace, and His joy. Just as a leaf withers and dies when it falls from the tree, we cannot grow and thrive apart from God. Our world is filled with people who have no hope! Faith is such a gift, we need to cherish it, nourish it and share it!
On a recent trip to Toronto to visit our daughter, Sr. Cecilia Rose, SV, I was struck again by how joyful the sisters are. It is so delightful just to spend time with them! They pray five hours each day, which strengthens them for the work they do and reminds them that they are God’s beloved. Their faces and lives reflect God’s love and they are bearing great fruit for the Kingdom because they abide in God.
We’re not all called to religious life, but we can all thrive by spending time with God each day. A classic Christian folk song comes to mind: They’ll Know We are Christians by Our Love. As we grow in our faith, it shows in our actions, in our choices, and in how we share our time, talents and treasure. Let’s give thanks each day for the gift of life and the privilege of being attached to the vine. God offers us newness of life during this Easter Season. May we strive to deepen our faith, surrendering to the sweet Holy Spirit and making more and more room for God.
Janice Carleton and her husband Jim live in Portland, OR and partner with Passionist Fr. Cedric Pisegna in Fr. Cedric Ministries. She is the mother of 4 grown children and grandmother of 6. Janice also leads women’s retreats and recently wrote her first book: God Speaks to Ordinary People – Like You and Me. Visit Janice’s website at http://www.janicecarleton.com/ or email her at [email protected].