Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Branch on the Vine

What can a Childlover do without Christ if all good works are done through Christ? It becomes clear that all a Childlover can do without Christ is carry on in his sin, either in ignorance of the truth or in purposeful disobedience. We pray of course for those who are doing bad by children that they will be inspired to change their ways, but we should also pray that those who are doing good by children without acknowledging Christ may be inspired to realize that their good works have a source, and that it is not with them but is "through Christ through them." Christ teaches us in the gospel that all good works are done because Christ is working in each one of us, whether we know it or not.

Those who sin against God's children (any child)--those who delight in defiling children or even just in stripping away the dignity of a child--are those who are denying Christ's ability to work through them. Christ likens people like that to "dead branches" for which the natural response is to "prune away" and discard. They have no life in them and are no good to the plant. After these, the branches that are left and are accepting the vine (which is Christ), the Divine Grower (which is God) begins to work on those people (or Childlovers) that are doing good by children so that they may produce "good fruit" (so that they may mentor kids, pray for kids, and be otherwise charitable and good role models for them). The message here is that we can always be better people, for ourselves and for children, but only so long as we are open to "being bettered." 
"Jesus said to his disciples: “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." JN 15:1-8
The Father planted this vine, and wants each branch to produce good fruit. If you accept Christ, you will never wither like the branches that don't accept him will be tempted to do so. Just like the branch on a vine shouldn't delude itself into thinking that it is independent of the vine and that its life comes forth from itself (which would lead it to wither away), the Christian Childlover should know where his life and his capacity to bear good fruit in the world comes from. Life and good works come from God, as Christ teaches thus: 
"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." JN 15:1-8
It's true that many Childlovers don't accept Christ, and yet do well by children, but the very desire to do well by children itself comes through Christ (from the Father, by the Holy Spirit), whether they accept it or not. Many may also say they believe in Christ and work in Christ, and yet do horrible harm to children. Christ explains this mystery to us: "By their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:16) and "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:35). By this it appears that anyone (regardless of what they think or profess) who ever does harm by a child, or treats a child with anything less than the dignity they would reserve for God Himself, is in fact a withering vine in disguise and is bent to be pruned away and cast into the fire. The message is simple: respect the dignity of children, and you will be doing Christ's work, whether you accept Christ or not. But if you do accept Christ as well, then even greater will your work reflect back on you, as Christ then says: 
"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.” JN 15:1-8
By this it appears that God will give special attention to those branches who both do the works that are pleasing to God (respecting and loving children purely and without giving in to the temptations to mistreat them) and humbly, respectfully, and joyfully accept the life of Christ that is in them. Why does God grant special graces to those who believe? Because as Christ teaches, when you bear much good fruit for the Divine Grower (through acts of charity and love) rather than for your own sake, that is how the Divine Grower (who grew you) is glorified. If one doesn't believe that God is glorified through their good deeds, they believe they are the source of their good deeds, and they are just like the branch that is rejecting the Vine, and rejecting the Grower, and will be just as tempted to wither away at any moment without the life and nutrients that are needed for life. But if one accepts the Vine, and produces good fruit for the Grower, they are guaranteed to never wither.

Grace and peace be with you. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Horizons for Homeless Children:

Horizons for Homeless Children:
Please consider helping homeless children.