“Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.” // John 15:5
Scooping up tomato after tomato, my five-year-old son proudly displayed his plastic container brimming with . . . green tomatoes. He’d tossed in a few (green) strawberries for good measure and hollered out the back screen door at his older sister, “I picked everything, and I did it before you did.”
I grabbed my phone, looked up “green tomato recipes” as I vaguely remembered a 90s movie about frying them, and discovered it looked like too much work for my afternoon that should have been spent finishing the fertilizer in the garden, turning the compost, and prepping lunch for a teeming hoard of kids under the age of nine.
“Set them on the counter,” I said more gruffly than I needed to. “Next time you have to wait. WAIT until they are red, okay?” He shuffled outside, a bit crestfallen and bellicose. I should have been gentler, I peered out the window to make sure things weren’t full-scale WWIII outside before turning back to my meal prep.
It’s the most elemental of principles about growing things: they have to stay connected to their life source or they die, fail to bloom, ripen, be that delicious tomato you want to sink your teeth into.
It should be the most elemental principle of the spiritual life: stay connected to God or die. And yet, I’m so busy and you are too. Staying connected to God feels as improbable as my kids not skirmishing while I’m mid-honey-and-butter sandwich crafting.
Yet I don’t want to waste away on the counter of my life like these sorry garden creations, poised for greatness and cut down in their green youth. I do want to change and grow and go into this relationship more fully, be fed God’s love, and have it to give. I really truly do.
If you do too, consider this week one small spiritual practice of visualizing opening the doors of your heart, swinging ‘em wide open, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, beating wildly in His chest on His throne. Heart to heart, praise and adore Him. Stay connected. It’s the only chance at true, eternal life.Heart to heart, praise and adore Him. // Nell O'Leary Click To Tweet
* Optional readings for Saint Bridget of Sweden