Abide in Christ

“Christ at 33” (detail) by Hofmann


“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” (John 15:1-4).


In these few short words, Jesus explains the way to spiritual progress is through Him. Our path is to say yes, to surrender. When we remain in Christ, we acknowledge that God is the source of all that is good, including the good that He calls me to do.

So often we struggle and make no progress… then in frustration we wonder why. The answer is simple. What is it that I am afraid to lose? What the Lord offers is so much more than anything I have. So let go! What is it that I am afraid of? Let go!

In the image of the vine and the branches, we see clearly that our life is from the Lord. Everything that is good comes from Him. If we surrender and bear fruit, the Father will work in us to produce more. So surrender already!

Here is a translation I really like of a prayer that can help us surrender.

Sucipe (Receive) by St. Ignatius of Loyola

Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O lord, I return it. All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.

Amen.


Into the Deep…


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About the Author

Deacon Mike Bickerstaff Editor-In-Chief, ICL

Deacon Michael Bickerstaff is the Editor in chief and co-founder of the The Integrated Catholic Life.™ A Catholic Deacon of the Roman Rite for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Deacon Bickerstaff is assigned to St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church where he is the Director of Adult Education and Evangelization.

He is also the Founder and President of Virtue@Work, where he provides Executive and Personal Coaching, Mentoring and Organizational Consulting. Deacon Mike has 30+ years management consulting experience in senior executive leadership positions providing organizational planning and implementation services with a focus on human resource strategy and tax qualified retirement plan design, administration and compliance.

He is a co-founder of the successful annual Atlanta Catholic Business Conference; the Chaplain of the Atlanta Chapter of the Woodstock Theological Center’s Business Conference; and Chaplain of the St. Peter Chanel Faith at Work Business Association and co-founder and Chaplain of the Marriages Are Covenants Ministry, both of which serve as models for similar parish-based ministries.

He and his wife have two married children and three grandchildren.

NB: The views I express on this site are my own. I am not an official spokesman for either my parish or diocese.

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