In today's Gospel, Jesus teaches us how to live as authentic Christians. He says . . . "Abide in me as I abide in you." (John 15.5). The word "abide" has interesting connotations. It speaks to us of:
When you really think about it, this is an amazing concept. Imagine actually letting Jesus live in us. Imagine living our entire lives so connected with him that his life actually becomes our life.
The Catholic Catechism puts it succinctly: "Christ enables us to live in him all that he himself lived and he lives it in us" (n. 521).
Is this not the highest calling imaginable? Yet how few even believe it is possible. How few allow Jesus to actually live his life in them day by day.
It is important to grasp that the catechism says, "Christ enables us. . ." Abiding in Jesus is not something we can do on our own. It is Christ who enables, empowers and gives us the grace to live in communion with him.
The author Andrew Murray says it beautifully: "It is a work he does for us - the fruit and power of his redeeming love. Our part is simply to yield, to trust and to wait for what he has engaged to perform."
Over and over, the saints speak of the humble attitude of trust as being essential on our journey with Jesus. If we are willing, then he is even more willing to do his divine work in us. He is the vine. We are the branches that receive from him all we need moment by moment.
'I am the vine, you are the branches.'
This very moment when we let go to Jesus, he is working. Right now, as we read these words, he is present through his Holy Spirit. All we need to do is trust, believe and surrender again and again.
This is why when Jesus appeared to St. Faustina, he told her to teach the world this simple prayer, "Jesus I trust in you."
What a simple summary of our calling in life! What a simple but profound way to call Jesus into action here and now! Jesus lavishes grace and mercy on every soul that trusts in him here and now.
Last night I was really tired and my three-year-old son asked me to "come and snuggle" him. So I chose to go even though part of me didn't want to. Because I knew it was the right thing to do. Because I knew Jesus wanted me to be with my child.
So I played with his stuffed rabbit, told stories, and we laughed and tussled. It was a perfect time. Because both my son and I were aware of the love which unites us.
We deepened our bond because the source of all love was with us. Jesus was in the experience.
Whenever we let go of our will and put our trust in Jesus, he comes and lives the experience with us. In that moment our life becomes redemptive. We are in communion with the love and mercy of God.
Listen to the words of Jesus to St. Faustina from her well-known diary, "Take these graces not only for yourself, but also for others; that is, encourage the souls with which you come in contact with to trust in my infinite mercy. Oh, how I love those souls who have complete confidence in me. I will do everything for them."
Isn't that a wonderful way of way of saying "Abide in me and I in you"? No matter where we are in life it is time. Time to abide and trust in Jesus. Time to let Jesus live in us - through all our joys, heartaches, struggles and pain. Time to let go and let Jesus take control. Time to become what we truly are . . . the heart, mind, words and deeds of Jesus living in the world today.
Yes, we are called and we are chosen. He is the vine and we are the branches. Jesus we trust in you. Here and now. Now and forever.