A Parable and A Pruning

“For Whom the Lord loves, He chastens. And scourges every son whom he receives.”
                                                  ~Hebrews 12: 6-11~

How about that for some good news, huh?

On the receiving end of a tough situation, St.Teresa of Avila exclaimed: “If this is the way You treat Your friends, no wonder you have so few!”

St. Teresa was a little exasperated, and who could blame her? No one is a big fan of troubles, or of being directed away from where they want to go. 

A Modern Parable

We had some bushes that were overgrown. The branches inside the bush were bare; the outer branches had very few leaves. I decided to cut it all down to the stump.

I could have left the bushes alone. But I wanted to give them a chance to be renewed. The plants did roar back to life, healthy and budding in the warming Spring temperatures.

Jesus does the same thing with me. The Good Shepherd wants me on the right path. He wants me in the healthy and full life of the Spirit.  

If the things I don't need aren’t cut back, my inner life would become as barren as those interior branches. Apart from him, my faith and works are as sparse as the leaves on the outer branches. Instead of the love of God filling and spilling out of me, I’d produce less and less fruit.

The Pruning

I wanted to go on a retreat. I poked around the Internet, trying to find a retreat center located in a rural setting. I was looking for a ‘silent’ retreat. It would give me some time to be alone with the Lord. A Spiritual Director would be on site, ready to meet daily, to discuss my prayer life.

Every time I picked a date for the retreat, something would come up. I couldn’t get the time off, or one of the kids was coming home from college on break. I never found one that easily slid into my schedule. I finally gave up.

Looking back, I believe that it just wasn’t the right time for me to go. My life at home was busy, so my place was there. Jesus did not want to me to leave. He wanted to bless me in my work at home.

I thought I had it all figured out, right down to the type of retreat I wanted. But I was getting frustrated at every turn. Every new plan I had was quietly chopped to pieces. God knew exactly what I needed. I needed to be home.

Like St. Teresa, I’m sure I’ll have plenty of pruning experiences in my future. Can’t be a saint without them. At the time, they won’t make any sense at all. But with his light and understanding, I’ll see his gentle leadership.

I’ll probably get a little exasperated. But I’ll get over it. I’ll need to, because the next pruning spot has been chosen.

And here we go again….

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