“All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord.” Psalm 22:28
1 John 3:18-24
by Sister Joseph Fennimore, OSB
Somewhere in the early years of my life as a Benedictine sister, I experienced an extremely strong insight, as if a bucket of water was suddenly thrown upon me. I became acutely aware of the fact that in order to become holy and achieve salvation, I had to take Jesus Christ as my model in all ways. I had to follow in his footsteps, imitating his example, seeking his graces and help to carry out and live my vocation.
The above relationship to Christ is what is expressed in the Gospel for this Sunday. Jesus said, “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.” The life of the vine flows into the branches. Because of this life-giving sap, the branches bud, bloom and grow fruit. This sap coming from the vine is the main source of the life in the branches. It only takes a little thought to see very plainly what the result is for the branches if they are broken off the vine. They wilt and wither. They dry up and fall. They are without life and no longer identifiable. The person disconnected from Christ and his way of life is a dead branch, no longer capable of living authentic God-life and passing this life on to others.
Following in the footsteps of Christ and imitating his actions leads us to accept and live out what God asks of us, through his invitations and commandments. Through these we reach out to others, love them and together move closer to God. This is the fruit we bear, not because of our own power and strength, but because we are connected to the Vine, Christ, and have his Spirit working in us.
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“It is love that impels them to pursue everlasting life.” Rule of Benedict 5: 10
“Remain in me as I remain in you, says the Lord. Whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.” John 15:4a, 5b