by Sister Margaret Mary Halbach
The Gospel for this week comes from the Gospel of John. When Jesus speaks to His disciples, He says, " I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower: He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit."
What a beautiful thought given to us for reflection! How much greater a connection do we have with the Lord by being on the same vine with Him. This imagery is close to our hearts and hands. We Sisters are familiar with the pruning of vines on our land. Years ago, we were known as the "Farm Sisters" who lived on a farm and lived off the land for our sustenance. Yes, this imagery is familiar to us.
Speaking personally, having the Lord do the pruning of us if we do not bear fruit in our lives can be a painful experience ... yet can bring about much more fruit than we would ever have known on our own.
At the end of a day of doing pastoral work in a parish, I say "What did the Lord want to accomplish through me today?" The days may have felt withered and unproductive yet the Lord speaks to others through us easier when we are not in the way with our feelings.
When we think that we have not done things according to schedule ... that may be the way the Lord likes it. He prunes us in HIS TIME.
The thought of the vine connecting us with Jesus is a wonderful reflection for prayer. Each day of my ministry has been powered by the growth found in prayer with the Lord. Ministry with God's people could not have happened effectively without realizing that the connection with the Lord has to exist. It doesn't happen in the absence of the Lord.
At the end of June, I will be changing my ministry. With the grace of the Lord, I will have ended 55 years of working in His vineyard. I have met and shared with many grace-filled people who work there also. I thank you and continue to pray for you. May we always remain attached to the vine ... always allowing each other to prune us with the help of the Lord. Together we make a difference in our world.
The Lord's Peace be with you!
Sister Margaret Mary, thank you for your faithful witness as a disciple of Jesus and as a member of our Community. How many persons have benefitted from your dedication and service! I praise God that you have been one of the branches the has held fast to the Lord!