Lectio Divina 2021-04-30

One

V9 = NOW remain in my love.

Jesus tells us to love him now. He is with me in this very moment loving me and smiling at me. I need to do the same. Brother Lawrence was a 17th century Carmelite friar who wrote a book called Practicing the Presence of God. He was ever mindful of God. He invited God to be present in the smallest things he did each day.

I need to stop and enjoy his company now. Typing this ten minutes later because I have spent the time just being in Our Lords presence. I wasn’t praying I was just present. It was an interesting time and I feel refreshed and peaceful. I want to surrender my heart and mind to God now and remain in his love.

Two

“He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit“

The Father wants to prune those things in my life, that are preventing me from having a deeper relationship with him. He wants to work deep within my heart to draw himself closer to me. But how many times do I resist his efforts and go my own way?

Lord help me to be more open and let God prune those things that stop me from having a deeper relationship with my Father in heaven.

I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me and help me to understand more clearly those things in my life which need to be pruned.

Sending God’s richest blessings to everyone.

Three

“make your home in me as I make mine in you”.

… Christ is my husband, wife, mother, father, brother, sister, friend, child…. And I am his husband, wife, mother, father, brother, sister, friend, child.

We rejoice in each other.

Four

Friends

There are many mentions here of “abide”, which is a permanent arrangement.

Contrast “dwell” which is temporary: e.g. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us”, literally “tented among us”. Came and went.

But abide is used e.g. in Corinthians “these three abide: faith, hope and love”.

There is something lasting about this abiding, an interdependence without which we are useless, cut off and disposed of, like unfruitful branches being pruned out.

But if we abide, we bear fruit and become disciples.

This is why we are here – this is our calling.

Blessings

Five

‘We are the branches‘

We are a continuation of the vine the bits that reach out. All that Jesus is, flows from the vine into the branches, which reach out and bear fruit that people can see and use. We receive all our sustenance from the vine –

  • His Love
  • His Word
  • His Grace
  • His Healing
  • His Strength

The list is endless

No wonder Jesus says that if we go without it we will shrivel up.

His words are food for the spirit at all times, easy and difficult. I claim God’s promises over my life, I want not only to read the word but let it sink in deeply. His word is like seed, seeds need watering and Jesus tells us how in the passage, he says abide in me, to stay close, to open our hearts, to study his word, to meditate on them asking the Holy Spirit to help us so that we can produce amazing fruit. Lectio is an excellent way of soaking in the word of God and producing rich fruit which helps each other.

God bless you all

Six

“You cannot bear fruit unless you remain in me………………..you can do nothing without me.”

My Father’s Glory is shown by your bearing much fruit and in this way you become my disciples.” The message couldn’t be clearer.

God bless you all. Always in my prayers.

Seven

Greetings in the name of Jesus.

Verse 5 says ” I am the vine and you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

I am thinking of the fruits of the Holy Spirit here…Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Self control etc. I think there are 9 or 12 but I’ll have to check. I know there are 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit. Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Fortitude, Counsel, Piety, Fear of the Lord.

Without Christ living in us, we cannot produce those fruits. They are not fruits that can be borne in our own strength. We are therefore like the branches of a tree, if we are not connected to the main tree trunk through which we get our nourishment then we are dead.

To be Christ-like we have to be connected to Jesus Christ, know Him through the Word and keep in constant touch with Him through prayers, thanksgiving and meditation.

Let us all be mindful of the presence of God with us at all times and remain with Him and He with us always. Amen.

God bless us all.

Pax et Bonum.

Eight

Remain in

Eight times in eight short verses Jesus says these two words. They light up in my mind like a neon sign. He promises that if we remain in him, he will remain in us.

A life remaining in him means growth, change, surrender, acceptance, love, faith, courage, peace, connection, inclusivity, healing, freedom, joy, humility……. in other words being co-creators in a world where the currency is love. We provide the willingness God supplies the power.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.

Nine

“Make your home in me as I make mine in you.”

The use of the word “as” here reminds me of how it is used in the “Our Father”:” “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” I cannot fully explain it, but it seems to imply one action depending on another, taking place simultaneously and reciprocally.

What an invitation! Or is it a commandment, part of “Love one another as I have loved you.”?

Is it addressed to everyone? I know Christ is in all, but “being at home” suggests something much more intimate, more personal. Maybe a longing on the part of Christ but sadly remaining unfulfilled in respect of many?

What a promise also! If our longing is to abide in him, he will surely abide in us: we need never doubt. He needs only our desire.

“Remain in me.”

The thought comes to me that in “good families”, the children never really leave home. Having imbibed all that their parents have to pass on, their life path may take them away geographically, but in heart and mind, they never really leave and return physically as often as they can. However, even good families can have black sheep. Though these wander off at some point in life there is always the open door waiting for their return. Some of us more than others will have had the experience of the spiritual black sheep but have taken advantage of the Prodigal Father’s ever open door. Praise him!

Being at home with Christ must be deeply linked with being at home with others; having a heart open to others. We might call this hospitality of the heart, but as circumstances allow, it seems we must extend it practically. We read in 1 Peter 4:9: “Welcome one another into your homes without complaining.” I don’t think this means just for a cuppa (though important!). Peter goes on: “Serve one another with the gifts each of you received thus becoming good managers of the varied graces of God.”

I don’t consider we are being called to stay within the committed Christian community in our hospitality but to move towards any who have lost their way: we are called to invite everyone to come home. More especially if we are selves have ever strayed. We are called to evangelise as part and parcel of our baptismal consecration. Oh, dear!! There is so much here asking for an examination of conscience; there is always much room for improvement!

“Dear Lord, how can I thank you for wanting so much to be at home in me and having me at home in you? Thank you for the many times you have called me home. Let me not keep your call to be loved intimately to myself but share it with all to whom you guide me, in the way you guide me. Let me not erect walls of defence or be afraid because of my inadequacies but let me trust that, purely because you are at home in me, you will speak for yourself through me.”

Ten

“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you” (MSG)

I think about the times when I have been away from home – on holidays or for any other reasons. I enjoyed the time I was away but was always glad to be home again. For most folks home is where we belong, where we are comfortable and everything is known and familiar.

How can I make myself “at home with God”

Jesus is saying that he is the whole, true vine and we are part of the whole – human and divine are not separate. Wherever I go and in whatever I do Jesus is there with me. How do I spend my time, who do I spend time with and do I live a life that honours this?

God’ s love flows through us from Jesus the vine. The out pouring of this love produces good fruit – the fruits of the spirit – “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control” Galatians 5:22-23

I am looking around my garden and thinking about the times I have pruned back some of the plants – quite severely at times, to make space for and encourage growth. There have been times in my life when, in hindsight, I have been “pruned” too. Those times were hard but I can see how they helped my spiritual growth.

I pray that I too will bear good fruit, remain connected to the vine and allow God’s love to flow through me to reach others.

Eleven

So many times in Lectio a very well know Gospel takes life in a crystalline way and I wonder how it is possible I haven’t seen it like that before.

The same happens today. It was not one word that caught my attention, but these phrases: ‘pruned by the Word… spoken to me’; ‘for cut from me you can do nothing’; ‘make your home in me, as I make mine in you’, and I realised all of them are just one single truth.
Farmers, gardeners know that to revitalise a plant, it is needed to prune it correctly and at the right time. Similarly, I need to have cut off all the dead bits, those that don’t produce a good fruit to bring new life to the plant, me. But I never have envisioned that Word of You, spoken so many times to me, pruning me, removing all those lifeless shoots. Isn’t this exactly what Lectio Divina does to me? Your Sacred Scriptures penetrate me, prune me, with a knife sharpened by Your Word. Plus, in the process, they renew me, lead me closer to the origin, that is You, my God, and put me in intimately relationship with You, Lord, the source of Life.

In the same way that a finger severed from the body died and don’t serve for anything, so I am when I am separated from You, my Lord. I can’t do anything on my own if I lack the life that runs from the body, You; or in today’s comparison the sap from the plant that doesn’t reach the branch.

In some translations appear: ‘Remain in me’, ‘Abide in me.’ Well, in my Bible appears ‘make your home in me, as I make mine in you’, ( the beauty of Lectio), and this translation seems to be more appropriated for me today. How marvellous it is this invitation: make your home in me, ground in me, take your life from me. You, Lord, feed me, give me life; you are my strength; only in You I can be myself, only in You I have sense, without You, I am nothing.

And then’ I make mine (my home) in you’. Isn’t obvious? Only by You living in me, I can produce the fruits you like me to bear. For all comes from You.

You are the True Vine, we are your branches, please Lord, prune us, renew us, give us new life in You, for we too can bear fruit in plenty. In Jesus Name I pray.