A fruitful life comes from staying close to Jesus, pope says
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI told pilgrims May 6 that their lives will be fruitful and have meaning if they live in union with Jesus Christ.
"Dear friends, every one of us is like a vine, which lives only if it is growing every day in prayer, participation in the sacraments, in charity, in its union with the Lord," said the Pope in his midday Regina Coeli address marking the fifth Sunday of Easter.
"And he who loves Jesus, the true vine, produces fruits of faith for an abundant spiritual harvest."
The Pope spoke to large crowds in an overcast and drizzly St. Peter's Square, reflecting upon the words of Jesus, as recorded in today's Gospel of St. John; "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser."
In this passage, the Pope explained to pilgrims, Jesus reveals himself as "the true vine of God, the true life" who "with his sacrifice of love gives us salvation" and "opens the way to be part of this vine."
And just as Christ is in God the Father, so his followers "carefully pruned by the words of the Master, are united in a profound way to him, becoming fruitful branches, which produce an abundant harvest."
The Pope then quoted the 16-17th century Swiss bishop St Frances de Sales who, in his Treatise on the Love of God, observed how in nature "the branches united and joined to the trunk bears fruit not by its own virtue."
Similarly a Christian who is "joined by love to our Redeemer" will produce "good works, taking their value from him, merit life eternal."
Pope Benedict explained that this union occurs in baptism when "the Church grafts us as branches into the paschal mystery of Christ, into his own person."
From there on, he said, "it is essential to remain united to Jesus, to depend upon him" because "without him we can do nothing."
This proposition, however, does not contradict a belief in the freedom of man, said Pope Benedict. He highlighted the 5th century writing of St. John the Prophet from Gaza who told an enquirer that "if a man inclines his heart to the good and asks God's help, he receives the necessary strength to accomplish his work."
Therefore "the freedom of man and power of God go together" as the good act is "possible because the Lord is good" but "it is fulfilled, thanks to his faithful."
Before going onto pray the Regina Coeli, Pope Benedict concluded his comments by commending those present to Mary, the mother of God.
"Let us beseech the Mother of God that we might remain firmly grafted in Jesus and that all our actions may have their beginning, and their fulfillment, in Him."
— CNA/EWTN News
Photo by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald. Join her on a pilgrimage to Rome http://charlotteadlimina.tumblr.com.
Father Patrick Winslow: What can we learn from Pope Francis?It appears as if popes have something on their mind when first elected. One might call it a diagnosis and a proposed remedy for current ails. With Pope John Paul II, it was a message of hope to a world filled with fear. One can still hear him...
David Hains: Close that unhealthy health centerThe Gosnell abortion mill in Philadelphia and A Preferred Woman's Health Center in Charlotte have something in common: little regard for human life. It should come as no surprise that women are being mistreated in these facilities since...
Peggy Bowes: Honor thy mother: Devotions to Mary"We never give more honor to Jesus than when we honor His Mother, and we honor her simply and solely to honor Him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek – Jesus, her Son." — St. Louis de Montfort,...
Father Shawn O'Neal: In this debate, remember Church teaching on human rightsAs a means to develop a comprehensive plan to reform our nation's current immigration system, a group of senators has introduced legislation formally called the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013."...
Father Matthew Buettner: Radical ChristianityRecently, the Boston Marathon came to an abrupt end when two bombs exploded near the finish line. Three young people died in the explosion, including an 8-year-old boy who received his first Holy Communion just 11 months ago. Along with these...
The Poor Clares: Joy and sacrificeSt. Paul was a man passionate with zeal and consumed by love for God and desire for the salvation of souls. His actions and words were geared toward one purpose: the claiming of souls from the dominion of the devil, and the deceit used by him...
Brian Williams:The honest 411 on Vatican III recently had the opportunity to take a class about the Second Vatican Council offered through a diocesan adult education program. While much was covered within a relatively short span of four classes, one subject occupied much of our time...
LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
Vatican II called for post-conciliar liturgical adaptationsThe April 26 Catholic News Herald commentary entitled "The Honest 411 on Vatican II" discussed a participant's experience at an adult education series in the diocese. The course, "The 411 on...
Warrior saints are found throughout historyRegarding the April 26 letter criticizing St. Nicholas of Flue, I am disgusted that an American would insinuate that a soldier who distinguishes himself or herself in combat is not following...
Who would be worthy?In a letter in the April 26 Catholic News Herald, St. Nicholas of Flue was referred to as someone who "did not follow those teachings" of Christ because he defended the faith with his sword and...
MOST POPULAR STORIES
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy