St Bridget | 23 July 2021
Today is Friday the 23 July, the Feast of St Bridget, in the Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time.
The community of Taizé sing Da Pacem Cordium: “Give peace to our hearts”. As I listen, I might join in this prayer, asking the Lord for peace in my heart, asking God to help me still myself for a moment, so I can listen to his gentle voice, speaking to my heart.
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of John.
‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunesto make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 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. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.
One of the best known images from the Gospel of John is that of the vine and the branches. When the branch is detached from the vine, it produces no fruit and is useless. Jesus took that image and applied it to himself … and to ourselves in relation to Him … There are moments in every life when we feel detached … from each other … from God … maybe even from ourselves, our better selves … Just for a moment, try and remember what that detachment felt like.
Maybe there is a very good reason for this detachment, or maybe it’s something that was painful and still is painful to recall. Taking care not to judge yourself, become aware that the God of healing, the One who describes himself as the true vine, is reaching out to you in love, longing for you to end your detachment … from Him … from other people … from yourself … hear His words spoken as an invitation to you now, “abide in me as I abide in you” …
As you listen again, try and listen out for and focus on the word ‘abide’.
Jesus then went on to tell us about something even greater, about how whatever we will ask, when we remain attached to Him, will be given! The reason for this is quite simple: it’s because the Father will be glorified in this. How might you glorify the Father in your daily living? What is your discipleship like at the moment? Talk heart-to-heart with the Lord about these things...
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.