The reading for today was longer – John 15:1-17. This is a chapter in John which we studied last year and one for which I wrote a reflection for our small group in Scripture study. I have not gone back and looked at my reflection, although I have wanted to do so.
The strongest thought or feeling during my prayer was: I couldn’t help thinking that letting me walk away from the Church for so many years, allowing all that happened in my family, was God’s way of pruning me. He never removed me; he just let me walk away for a while until He called me back. I am so grateful that the Lord didn’t abandon me.
And I pondered the line : “You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you.” I thought of the Apostles who followed Jesus for three years, living with Him, listening to His words, taking them to heart. They were “cleansed” of false ideas, their thinking was changed by being in the Lord’s presence and listening to Him. Except for Judas – Jesus’ words didn’t penetrate him to the core.
And I thought about Peter’s denial of Jesus, how that was a kind of pruning by the Father. God allows us to make our mistakes, but if we truly love Him, He uses those mistakes to “prune us”, to help us become the person He has created us to be.
And I thought of the line “just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine”. So often I had thought that if I had stayed connected to the Church all those years, instead of thinking I could be a Christian without a faith community, then perhaps our family tragedy could have been prevented.
My heart rested: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” I asked with all my heart for a good husband for Erin, a good father for Shamma. And I asked for conversion for Jean Ann and Ted and for all who walked away from the faith. Those are the desires of my heart.
I sense the Lord was telling me: He chose me. It was not my choice. Somehow, somewhere Jesus saw something worth saving in me. I am so grateful. And His words remind me that by accepting the gifts and graces He offers to me, His Father is glorified. What an amazing statement! I am the one who receives such wonders and yet my simple accepting of those wonders, gives glory to God! What a strange and beautiful world this is!
I ended the prayer wanting: Just to be faithful, just to be loving, just to “abide in His Heart.” When reading this there were times that I just wanted to run to Him, sobbing and crying and throw my arms around Him.