“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” (See John 15:1-8 NRSV).
What measurements do we use to determine our growth? The world around us appears to to weigh our growth on how successful we are, or how much money we have, or how much stuff we own. Our society around us bases our maturity and fulfillment from a false-sense of self.
In our Gospel verse, Jesus is telling us that our growth is a matter of God and our relationship with Him. Jesus who is the Incarnate Word is the vine that is rooted in God. Jesus knows each of us so completely and intimately. Everything we are and can become is based on our decision to abide (or remain) in Jesus the vine. The potential of our true-selves is because how we live into our relationship with Jesus the Christ. Jesus, the Risen One has taught us the fullness of God’s love through the Paschal Mystery. God finds each of us redeemed and given new life through Jesus, the vine. In Jesus is our present moment full of life and purpose. It is a contemplative vision to know God’s perspective of us. God sees each of us with so potential in the here and now.
Over these past few months, I have been learning that my many challenges because I am on the Autistic Spectrum, are opportunities for me to let go and allow God to use those challenges to draw me closer in relationship with God. As difficult as my many social interactions can be, my ASD becomes the intimate connection with Jesus, my vine. Through a life of solitude, silence and prayer, my disabilities become an important part of God’s work in and through my life. I only have to put my faith and trust in God with everything I can do and anything I cannot; and let God take care of the rest. It is a learning process. Jesus is more than happy to keep being my greatest teacher using The Rules of St. Benedict, St. Romuald and the Camaldolese-Benedictine tradition as important parts of my learning process.
“Agree you hastening toward your heavenly home? Then with Christ’s help, keep this little rule we have written for beginners” (RB 1980: The Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 73, p.95-96).
“If you have come to the monastery, and in spite of your good will you cannot accomplish what you want, take every opportunity to sing the Psalms in your heart and understand them with your mind” (From the Rule of St. Romuald).
“It was said of Abba John the Dwarf that he withdrew and lived in the desert at Scetis with an old man of Thebes. His abba, taking a piece of dry wood, planted it, and said to him, ‘Water it every day with a bottle of water, until it bears fruit.’ Now the water was so far away that he had to leave in the evening and return the following morning. At the end of three years the wood came to life and bore fruit. Then the old man took some of the fruit and carried it to the church saying to the brethren, ‘Take and eat the fruit of obedience.'” (Desert Fathers and Mothers: Early Christian Wisdom Sayings Annotated & Explained by Christine Valters Paintner, PhD,. p.103).
How are you growing in your relationship with God?
Peace be with all who enter here.
Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB
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