Day 15: Practicing

Does one who drinks

wine from the cup

become a vintner

with but one sup?

He must work the soil

of which will be planted;

his vineyard of passion

to be shared and decanted.

Does one single vine

birth richly that fruit?

For the vintner knows

plants must share

their root.

He must line the rows

with vines entangled;

they support one another

so their fruit will be ample.

Does he stop after

he shares all but a taste?

A vintner knows in absence

fruitfulness misplaced.

So, relentlessly he tills

and cultivates the grapes;

nourishment overflowing

vines forever embrace shape.

Before you begin your day:

Some friends of mine and I were having breakfast one morning. We were discussing the previous week. One of the women was speaking of her current struggles. She concluded with, "But, you know I am a practicing Catholic."

What a profound thing to say. Is it not so pure? Often, as I'm sure you do, I tend to beat myself up for the trips and falls of the week. As if I'm supposed to walk the road with perfection? I place myself in a boxing ring with fault and his relentless teammate guilt. And, since its two against one, I relinquish my will to fight.

Do you consider yourself a master or expert of anything? Have you worked in your profession for many years - do you ever make mistakes? Is there ever more to learn? Or are you a parent? Tell me this isn't a continuous learning experience. If you are an expert in this field, please contact me immediately!

My husband has worked in the Financial industry for over twenty years. Still, he must study and take tests for the renewal of his right to do so. Furthermore, the rules and regulations change, requiring endless amounts of scrutiny and modification. We haven't even considered the fact that he wishes to share this knowledge with his company. Improvement demands consistent innovation and dedication. I suppose this is why many professions are deemed "practices." A doctor is one member of a medical practice; a lawyer, a partner in a law practice, and so on.

Do you feel you are a practicing Christian? And if so, do trainees not have to offer continuous effort to the process? Do they ever stop learning? Cease working toward refinement? Refrain from seeking to understand? Recognize the undeniable potential for growth in a fall?

All of this begs: How could one accomplish any of these tasks alone?

Would this sort of life-long dedication not plead for a community? Should the knowledge acquired therein continue to pass forward? Thereby returning what we once received - support, encouragement, and aid?And, if this practice is something we appreciate, love, and desire to share, should we not thank He that first shared with us?

During your day:

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 every one 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.

(John 15: 1-5)

Galatians 6: 9; Hebrews 6: 11; James 1: 2-4; 2 Peter 1: 3-8

Throughout your day:

INHALE: I am a practicing Christian.

EXHALE: Help me to bear fruit.

(repeat as many times as needed)

Before you end your day:

O Lord of the vineyard, we adore you.

Help us to drink in Your knowledge. Remind us it takes perpetual practice. Work the soil of our hearts. Plant within a passion to share, for a single vine alone cannot produce fruit. Be the vintner of our minds, root deeply within, entangle our thoughts. May the fruit provided be offered, and may it never cease. For in absence fruitfulness becomes misplaced. Relentlessly till and cultivate our souls until Your nourishment overflows. Forever embrace our shape. Amen.

Goodnight; sleep well; know you are blessed.


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