"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples."
There are no better examples than the saints and no better helpers. If my namesake is a saint, I have a friend with God. (2156–2159, 2165–2167)
When praying is like loving, I am invited to love — even if I don't feel anything, even if I'm not looking for love right now. It is like a relationship between two people who love each other. At first my whole being vibrates in the presence of my loved one, but over time love has more to do with a decision than with the feeling of being "in love" every day. It is the same with prayer: I may not feel anything right now, I may not see what is happening inside me, just as I may not see what is happening to the seed that has fallen into the ground, where it is slowly germinating. Today I can choose to love, to enter into this gift of God's love for me.
On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, "They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don't know where they put him." But Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken my Lord, and I don't know where they laid him." When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" She thought it was the gardener and said to him, "Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him."
Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni," which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her, "Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and what he told her.
Through the name that we receive in Baptism God tells us: “I have called you by name, you are mine” (Is 43,1). (2156–2159, 2165)
In Baptism a person is not dissolved into an anonymous divinity, but rather is affirmed precisely in his individuality. To be baptized by a name signifies that God knows me, he says Yes to me and accepts me forever in my unrepeatable uniqueness.
Since I grew up without a father, priests became fatherly role models for me. Over time, I realized that our Lord Jesus Christ was present in them in a very special way. Last summer I had an experience similar to that of Mary Magdalene at the tomb of the Lord: in a confession with an unknown priest, I felt that he knew me better than I knew myself. He reminded me of my deepest identity as a beloved child of God. I felt like Mary Magdalene, who cried because she was "nothing" without Jesus. He had been taken away from her. But in the encounter with the Risen One, her Redeemer and Master - with him, in him, through him - she again became the much-loved daughter of the Father. Through Jesus she became everything because He had redeemed her.
As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named
Mary (who) sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving,
came to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me." The Lord said to her in reply, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."
In meditation a Christian seeks silence so as to experience intimacy with God and to find peace in his presence. He hopes for the sensible experience of his presence, which is an undeserved gift of grace; he does not expect it, however, as the product of a particular technique of meditation.
Meditation can be an important aid to faith that strengthens and matures the human person. Nevertheless, techniques of meditation that promise to bring about an experience of God, or even the soul’s union with God, are deceptive. On account of such false promises, many people believe that God has abandoned them just because they do not perceive him. But God cannot be compelled to show up by particular methods. He communicates himself to us whenever and however he wishes.
Today or in the next few days, find a place where it's absolutely quiet. Sit there and do nothing for a while — like the farmer whom St Priest of Ars discovered in the church, sitting there quietly for a long time. "What are you doing," the saint asked. "Nothing," the farmer said. "I look at him. And he looks at me."
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