A Thought from the Bishop’s Chapel — Wednesday, May 13

I have always noticed how pruning is an important part of caring for a garden or a yard.   Pruning involves removing certain parts of a plant, like branches, roots or buds, for a number of reasons.   The gardener might want to shape a plant, remove dead growth, improve the plant’s health, or prepare for transplanting.   Regardless, in doing these things, the gardener is increasing the yield and quality of the plant. We must keep pruning and its benefits in mind as we read what our Lord says about the vine and branches.

Our Lord is vine, and the vineyard belongs to the Father (cf. John 15:1).   The Divine vine grower removes the dead branches that yield nothing.  With those branches that are healthy, He prunes them so that they yield even more fruit (John 15:2).   And what is the pruning hook that cuts away the unneeded or harmful?  The Word of the Lord.  “You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you” (John 15:3).

To remain connected to the Lord is what keeps us alive as Christians.  Only in this way do we bear any fruit.   Sometimes this faithful connection to the Lord can be painful.   After all, the Word of the Lord exhorts us, admonishes us, at times to put aside something we want to do but which would be harmful to us and to our relationship with the Father.   Let us remember, pruning is a cutting away of something useless or harmful to the life of the plant.   For those who are pruned, however, fruit comes forth and is seen in the abundant response to prayerful asking.   “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you” (John 15:7).