Only God can bridge the gap between himself and us, and he does this through the gift of the Holy Spirit, who leads us to Christ. As Pope Francis points out, getting to know Christ better involves learning to think as Christ does- to join him in seeking what he seeks and loving what he loves.
Just as the branches “remain” in the vine, and the vine in the branches, so our heart is rooted in the mystery of God. We have a life which wells up in us from a source too deep for us to plumb. We have a heart that is not just created by God and then abandoned to us for us to make the most of; we have a heart which is constantly being created and sustained by the newness of the life of God, just like fruitful branches on a vine.
The Good News is that Christ-in-us draws us into himself. In the Holy Spirit, we share in Christ’s personal existence, which is the Life of our life. The vital exchange between God and us established on that first Pentecost continues throughout time. This does not mean that we merely think of Christ or lovingly cherish his image; what exists in us is the living reality of Jesus. As St. Paul confesses, “Our life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Each personal encounter with Christ means allowing him to live and work in us. Even more he invites us to love as he loves. There is no deeper love than to go to the point of giving oneself for God and for others, holding nothing back of ourselves for ourselves. Whoever lives a life rooted in God chooses to love in this way. A heart resolved to love will radiate goodness without limits.
For our part, I suggest three things as our response to Christ living and “remaining” in us:
·With the “ear of our heart” let us listen to his Word, that is, to Jesus himself, for it is he who “cleanses” and remakes us, just as he did his first disciples.
·Let us be still with him in prayer, allowing our gaze, our heart, to be drawn to him.
·And finally, God invites us to love as he loves. There is no deeper love than to go to the point of giving oneself for God and for others, holding nothing back of ourselves for ourselves. Whoever lives a life rooted in God chooses to love, and love in this way. A heart resolved to love will radiate goodness without limits.
The only sure way to renew a real friendship with Christ, is to “remain” in him. He alone, the “true Vine,” will keep us from becoming all “straggly and tangled, turned in on ourselves and getting in our own light.” Without him we can do nothing. With him we need not fear the future, for in the Risen Christ all things are “gathered up, things in heaven and things on earth.” Our life, our world, our “remaining,” are ever in his hands, and his is a tenderness that never disappoints.
Photo by Brother Brian. Excerpts from Sunday's Homily by Father Dominic.