I held the garden clippers in my hand and watched the branch drop to the ground amongst the fallen autumn leaves. I continued to scrutinize the crabapple tree for branches that were crisscrossing, rubbing against each other, or making the tree imbalanced. Anxiety rose up in me as I went to cut each branch; I did not want to kill the tree.
I had researched that crabapples do best when they are trimmed of nearly one third of their branches each year. This tree’s first years of blooming in my yard brought plentiful blossoms in the spring and the red fruit in the fall, but its flowers and fruit had been scarce this past year.
“I hope that will work,” I said aloud and put the clippers away.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus gave a parable describing Himself as a vine and us, His disciples, as the branches. The Father is the vinedresser who prunes the vine.
“He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit” (John 15:2).
I am like my crabapple tree, some years bearing more fruit than others. I open myself up to the Lord’s pruning hands when I pray, and I see ways He seeks to prune me each day so that I bear more fruit. He is ready to prune me with the smallest sacrifice of my time for another, the offering of physical suffering I cannot escape, obedience to the Church’s laws regarding fasting and abstinence, and in so many other ways.
If I submit to His pruning and accept the grace which flows from the vine of Christ, I will become like my crabapple, covered in white blossoms the following spring and heavy with fruit in fall.
Sister, the Lord is waiting to prune you as well. Remain close to Him and allow Him to strip you of everything that keeps you from loving and serving Him. Our love of Him is shown in the good fruit we bear. What do you need to be pruned of?
God, I trust in You to prune me gently.
Thank you for being here.
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