"'For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?' [The gardener said to the owner,] 'Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.'" -- Luke 13:6-9
by Sister Renee Delvaux
Have you ever attempted to revive an "almost dead" potted plant? You pamper it along with new soil, plant food, proper watering, just the right sunlight. Yes, you give the plant a boost and a second chance. As plant lovers suggest, you then talk to it and wait … patiently!
God is truly the gardener in our lives. He is constantly pruning, watering, and fertilizing us so we can produce fruit. He talks to us in many subtle and not so subtle ways! He never gives up on us, never condemns or rejects us. Even with all of our weakness and failures, he still works in us to make us more fruitful. God is filled with the ultimate compassion and love for us.
chapter 11, US Catholic Catechism for Adults
"... striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." -- Ephesians 4: 3-5
by Sister Laura Zelten
In describing the Church, the Nicene Creed states, "I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church." (The term "catholic" with a little "c" is correct. See more below.) The four words used to describe the Catholic Church -- one, holy, catholic and apostolic -- were chosen with great care. They are commonly called the marks of the Church, and each one describes something essential about the Church and its mission. The Church has these qualities because of Christ who, through the Holy Spirit, makes them real in the Church.
The Church acknowledges one Lord, confesses one faith, is born of one Baptism, forms only one Body, is given life by one Spirit, for the sake of the one hope. The foundation of the Church is the Holy Trinity; thus, the unity of the Church reflects the unity of the Trinity.
To be holy is to be united with God. With Christ as her head and the Holy Spirit to guide her, the Church strives to be the holy people of God.
In its generic form, the word "catholic" means "universal." The Catholic Church is universal because she has a mission from Jesus Christ to the whole human race. People of all races, all nationalities, all ages, and all personalities are not only welcome in the Church but they enrich the Church with their diversity.
Apostolic means that the Church is founded on the Apostles, those who were close to Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit to pass on the essential truths revealed by God through Christ.
What a great image, a garden in the dead of winter! Thanks Renee!