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branchesAnd Jesus said: "I am the vine, you are the branches."

The scene outside my window: blue sky, bright sunshine and a small tree with new, tiny green-yellow leaves coming on its branches. I gaze at it and ponder this ‘branchness’ in Jesus, ‘my branchness’ in Jesus.

There is a slender trunk supporting all the branches.

Surely that is Jesus!

The branches, however, are doing what branches do -- branching out. They are fairly sturdy close to the trunk. They have some substance. But as they move out from the trunk, they become more fragile, wispy, even; ineffective for supporting a rambling squirrel.

Okay, I will choose to be a branch close to the trunk. I will stick close to Jesus, drawing my strength from him. I will be a sturdy branch and let those more fragile ones reach out more into the blue of the sky.

But then as I gaze awhile longer I see that those new tiny green-yellow leaves are coming on the more fragile wispy branches, coming out not from the one I have chosen to represent my ‘branchness’ but from the ones farther away from the trunk.

Oh dear, Jesus also invited me to bear fruit!

Is Jesus asking me to be a branch that risks moving out to the outer edges of this tree in order to sprout the fruit of those tiny, yellow-green leaves?

But this would mean becoming smaller, more fragile, wispier, even! What if a bumbling squirrel comes along and walks on me? Or even a heavy rain or a strong wind? I could be damaged or broken.

Can I really risk being that vulnerable in order to bear fruit?

I continue to gaze at the tree and ponder the ‘branchness’ to which I seem to be invited on this crisp, sunshine-bright morning. Am I called to experience the newness of yellow-green leaves?

In time, it comes to me that as the tree moves out from the trunk, even the smallest most vulnerable branches are connected through all the other branches to the trunk. 

I surrender my ‘branchness’, thick and sturdy or small and wispy, to the Lord of the Universe and all Creation. I will be what I am; I will do what I do, connected to a solid trunk in faith and trust. Fruit will come. I will claim my place in the Communion of Saints.

By Sister Rosemary Fry

Previous Wisdom Wednesdays

April 28, 2021: Living One Day at a Time

April 21, 2021: The Blessing of Pope Francis

Out of deep respect for those who have cared for these lands since time immemorial, we are committed to tread lightly on the land, protect water as sacred, and affirm our desire for right relations with all Indigenous Peoples. - From our CSJ Land Acknowledgement

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