Wednesday, June 25, 2008

You Will Know Them By Their Fruits

May grace and peace be yours in abundance
through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

His divine power has bestowed on us
everything that makes for life and devotion,
through the knowledge of him
who called us by his own glory and power.
Through these, he has bestowed on us
the precious and very great promises,
so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature,
after escaping from the corruption that is in the world
because of evil desire. For this very reason,
make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,
virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control,
self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion,
devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love.

- 2 Peter 1:2-7
The above passage was from a reading at Daily Mass earlier this month. It is a passage that has remained with me throughout the days since. And today, among many others, I have been feeling movements of the heart and the grace that is indistinguishably of the Lord. I haven't remained faithful in my love to Him these days. I have filled my head with doubts, with failures of my heart and failures of my mind. The greatest danger is the lacking of trust in Him and in His plan for each of us.

The most debilitating failure of all is that lack of trust. Once the trust is gone in a relationship, how can either of those involved be able to find common ground with the other? The relationship enters the period of a storm, a raging storm. It enters turmoil that cannot be escaped from natural means, from temporal means. For forgiveness is not a temporal way of life. To forgive is to "lose" something that one once possessed, a claim against another. And so line up the claimants, one might say. Yet, in forgiveness there is salvation. In forgiveness there is trust. In trust there is faith. In faith there is hope. In hope there is love. And in love there is God. And with God, nothing is impossible. No power or principality, no height or depth can come between us and God, between us and His love.

So what will come of our actions in this life? What are our fruits, if you will, of what we sow now in our thoughts and in our deeds? How do we treat the others in our lives and think not only of our concerns but the other in our midst? As Jesus had said:
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but underneath are ravenous wolves.
By their fruits you will know them.
Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Just so, every good tree bears good fruit,
and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,
nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down
and thrown into the fire.

So by their fruits you will know them."

- Matthew 7:15-20

If we are to remain in Him, through the storms and through the troubles, then we must love. If we have not love then we are nothing. We are merely a clashing cymbal or a resounding gong. It means nothing if we gain all the things of the world but do not have love. It is in this love that the good fruits are found. I read recently in a discernment book a particularly charming quote from St. Thomas More, whom I could go on for hours, and it simply states a very succinct axiom which reads: "In the end it is not a matter of reason, it is a matter of love."

In all actions patience and love are required. We cannot fulfill through actions with which we are not first filled with. So love could not—and still cannot—be simply reasoned into existence. It requires faith to come into existence. It must come into existence in the form of Man to redeem what was lost in the actions of our free will, to redeem what Man truly is supposed to be—an image of the Divine.

And so there is but one thing to do then and that is love. May you find trust and peace in what the Lord has given you this day.

Peace be with you.

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