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I Am The Vine

    

Published 2017-10-19


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A couple of years ago I read a great little book entitled, The Vinedresser’s Notebook, by my good friend, Sister Judy Sutera, a longtime member of the Mt St. Scholastica Benedictine Monastery in Atchison, Kansas. Judy is a brilliant scholar, but she claims in this book that her greatest education has been in the monastery vineyard.

When first entering the monastery years ago Judy, young and easily distracted, she was assigned to help an older sister who tended the grape vines in the large monastery garden. It turned out that both the vineyard and the vinedresser were sources of great wisdom—spiritual as well as practical. 

Grape vines have become so domesticated that unattended they will produce only foliage and no fruit. The Vinedresser says, “They weren’t meant to fruit on their own.  We are responsible to help form and shape their growth.” It is up to the aspiring vinedresser to learn when and how to make judicious and substantial cuts. “Do you want to keep everything, then expect nothing?  Cut. And then cut some more,” is the advice of the seasoned Vinedresser. Judy applies this wisdom beyond the vineyard, “We will not wake up someday and find everyone around us loveable, but we can prune away our impatience and intolerance, and our bad habits and behaviors, and practice the discipline of love.”

Also, “We are what we think about. If we let go of what is not spiritual we will be slowly but surely transformed.  When an elderly sister was asked the secret of her apparent calm and happiness, she replied, ‘It started when I realized I didn’t have to have an opinion about everything.’ One of the favorite metaphors in the Bible for the people of God is a vine and God is imagined by Jesus as a vinedresser who prunes the vine, so it will bear more fruit.  Jesus even says, “I am the vine, and you are the branches.”

Today may you draw life from the Vine and bear much fruit!

Peace+,
Jim




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