Recently, a lot of things in my life are reminding me of the one thing. I was at a nursery last week to buy some seeds and spoke to a gardener. He spoke about the right soil and the right depth for the seeds to grow. I planted some cabbage and eggplant seeds in the compost tray at home. Not too sure when I’d see growth, but the papaya tree I’ve not been paying attention to is starting to flower and bear fruit.
Tonight Franz and Reny took me to a friend’s home to celebrate the Eucharist and have supper. There were nine people. We reflected on John 15, where Jesus says: “I am the vine, you are the branches… when you remain in me, you will bear much fruit.” What is a fruitful life? It struck me that in order to be fruitful, the vine has to be pruned, to be cut back.
I am more and more aware of how much I want to go in many directions, do many things, meet many people, be involved in many situations. But to be fruitful I have to stay close to the source of life and allow myself to be cut back. This is something I cannot do for myself; it must be done by the Word of God. It’s the Word that tells me that the grain of wheat has to die in order to bear fruit. Maybe it’s first of all a question of becoming attentive to when and where the cutting is taking place, and recognizing these times and places as times and places of fruitfulness.
— Henri J.M. Nouwen, Circus Diary (Part II): Finding a New Way to Catch a Glimpse of God