Wednesday, May 9, 2012

“Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.”

(Gospel Text Jn 15:5) 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
In the battle between good and evil, there is no “middle ground.”  We are either fighting on the side of Christ or against him.  As Blaise Pascal taught, man is in the middle between God and nothingness, and he must choose between the two 
Many of us do not like to make commitments and we pray, “God, I will follow you, as long as you don’t ask too much of me,” or “Jesus, I love you, but don’t ask me to do something I am uncomfortable with.”
Christ is not calling us to live ordinary lives, but rather extraordinary ones.  He is calling us to be uncomfortable because in our discomfort, we will depend on him even more.  I think that is what it means to be holy and a hero.  The saints and all the holy men and women who have gone before us are the heroes of our Faith.  They each overcame their discomfort.  Mother Teresa moved halfway around the world and began caring for the sick and dying in the poorest area of the world, but we do not need to move to Calcutta, India to be uncomfortable.  We need only to examine those areas in our own lives that we fear.   Perhaps we fear standing up for our faith because others might see.  Perhaps we fear talking about our faith because we don’t think we know it well enough.  Perhaps we fear praying grace before eating our meals in the cafeteria simply because no one else is. 

We are all part of a spiritual eco-system. Jesus is the vine, God is the gardener, and we are all the branches. A responsible gardener works in the garden. You can’t just plant stuff and then leave it alone; gardens take work and care. The branches that are not fruitful are lopped off so the energy can be put into the productive branches. Even the branches that do bear fruit are pruned so they will bear even more.
There's going to be some cutting in our lives. We either let God cut us back, or we cut ourselves off from Him. Take the cut; don't make the cut.

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