“I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.”
Made Fruitful by Love
It’s important for us first of all to receive God’s love, before we can give it away. We need to stay connected to that love, in tune with that love, in communion with that love.
-Br. David Vryhof
Throughout this series we’ve noticed the deep connection and intimate union between Jesus and the one that he calls Father. And we have seen that in Jesus’ understanding the fruitfulness of his life and ministry is entirely dependent on maintaining this union and communion with the Father. He says, “I can do nothing on my own.” And he teaches his disciples and us, that our fruitfulness also depends on this living union with the Divine Life. And that to be fruitful, to produce works and character that have lasting influence in the eyes of God, we will need to abide in him as he abides in us.
I remember when I was in college, I worked with children who had special needs. And I remember one evening being at supper and watching a young boy who was struggling to cut a piece of meat, but his hands lacked the strength and coordination to be successful in the task. And finally he looked up and asked for help. And one of the staff members came around behind him, wrapped her arms around his, put her hands over his, and helped him cut the meat. And I thought that was an apt image for our relationship with God. When we realize that we can do nothing on our own, that we are dependent on God’s life and strength within us, then we yield ourselves to that strength, and God’s strength becomes one with our strength, so that we can’t tell where our strength leaves off and where God’s strength begins. It all becomes one.
John says, “We love because he first loved us,” so it’s important for us first of all to receive that love, before we can give it away. We need to stay connected to that love, in tune with that love, in communion with that love. So today, we invite you to take into your prayer this image of the vine and the branches. And consider how dependent branches are on the vine for their life and for their fruit. Consider how the vine grower may need to prune the vine to make it more fruitful. Bring this metaphor into your own life and ask yourself, “How do I stay connected to this source of life and light? What interferes with that connection? What stops the flow of that divine energy and how can I remain in intimate union with Jesus?” That connection is the source, the key, the secret, to our fruitfulness.