Live a Fruitful Life
Have you ever been sick? Not the typical stuffy nose and cough, but to the point where you felt light-headed and unable to really move from the couch? We’ve all been touched by this form of sickness every now and then in our lives. For me, it’s usually the worst kind of bug that puts me on the couch for days, not the best result for someone who’s always on the go and can’t stop moving. However, when we go through these times of sickness, the break can be somewhat enjoyable (as long as there’s enough good rom-coms to watch). It can give us time to breathe, rest and recover fully, bringing fruitful results hopefully sooner rather than later.
In taking time for peace, patiently allowing your body time to recover, you get stronger, and are back up on your feet in no time. However, if you don’t take this time, and properly take care of yourself, it can take longer than you’d hoped to feel like yourself again. The results won’t be as fruitful. Do you take the time needed to properly take care of yourself and your everyday health, so as to bring fruitful results?
When it comes to being fruitful, we think more closely about the freedom which God grants us to do so. When it comes to taking care of ourselves and being the best version we can be, we think more about the choices we can make, the decisions we must face in order to be fruitful. Do you remember the days where you weren’t afraid to take your coat off in early spring? The sun was shining, you wanted to play with your friends and run around, so you throw off your coat, not second-guessing yourself as to if it is actually warm enough to do so. Then you end up catching a cold, but, it was worth it. The feeling of freedom, no restrictions or limits on what you believe you can do. Think back to those days. Do you still feel the same feeling of freedom waking up in the morning now, or do the stresses and worries of the day hang over you too much to allow any room to breathe?
Pope Francis states:
Just because God created us in his image, we have also received from him the great gift that is freedom. If it is not used well, freedom can lead us away from God, can make us lose the dignity with which He has clothed us. This requires the guidelines, the guidelines and also the rules, both in society and in the Church, to help us to do the will of God, thus living according to our dignity as human beings and children of God. When it is not shaped by the Gospel, freedom can turn into slavery: slavery of sin.
(Address to the ministers of the German language, from the dioceses of Germany, Aug. 5, 2014).
God gives us this feeling of freedom through His grace, through quiet time in prayer, worship and reflection. When we don’t use this freedom wisely, we fall into sin and fail to bear good fruit. We feel more free when we give our worries to God and try not to do everything alone. In order to be truly fruitful on earth, we need to recover this feeling of freedom, and learn to give our complete selves to God and His will.
In the book of Matthew we read:'Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, `They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, `This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: `The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.” When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. But when they tried to arrest him, they feared the multitudes, because they held him to be a prophet' (Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46).
This reading talks about how the Kingdom of God will be with the nation that produces fruit, that does God’s will. So often, we limit ourselves and decide not to take on challenges because we’re afraid of all of the ways it could go wrong, not taking a leap because you’ll get less sleep, someone else can do it better, you’re afraid to fail. We don’t give ourselves the chance to bear good fruit, to aim to succeed. We take on less opportunities because we feel afraid to fall and fail, and let that weigh over us and become a valid excuse to not challenge ourselves, to be less evangelical and more isolated. Is it that we are too firm in our everyday routines that we don’t want to change and challenge ourselves to do more, or is it a lack of trust that God will guide us through?
When we properly invest ourselves in faith, and take the necessary time to pray, to attend mass, the Sacraments, care for others and ourselves, we bear fruitful results (more so than when we rush through without using caution). Just like when you’re sick and you need to rest and take care of yourself to get back on your feet, when you’re struggling in your life and trying to push through to the next day, it’s important to trust in God, to be patient and take that time to pray and ask His aid. You simply can’t do it on your own, and you notice how much more fruitful your life can be when you take the necessary time, focus and energy to build that relationship with God.
You can’t hope to bear fruit when you don’t care for the tree, so how can you hope to live the best life you can without having God by your side? Today take some time to pray and ask God to help you work towards living a fruitful life.
Today we pray:
Thank You for showing me what it means to live a fruitful life. Help me to continue to work on being in relationship with You and use my freedom wisely. Help me to make You the centre of my life.
I pray in Your most holy name, Amen.