So That Your Fruit Should Abide


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April 7  

 I’ve heard it said that penance sanctifies more when it is chosen for us by God, than when it is something we choose. Relinquishing control and giving trustful surrender to God’s will merits great grace—and is, frankly, the only way to be happy.

I spent five years of my motherhood in crippling depression and anxiety. This was partially due to hormonal changes of pregnancies and postpartums, but the underlying cause was not being able to accept traumas that had happened in my past. I had lived in denial until I had no choice except to face the facts. It was a crushing weight. I went through those years struggling for the will to live, wanting to crawl into a hole and never come out. Only knowing my kids needed me kept me from doing that. I sought spiritual and professional help, and God threw me lifesavers of grace until finally the tsunami had drained away. One of the lifesavers was this verse I read during Eucharistic adoration:

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my Name, he may give it to you (Jn 15:16).

Through this verse, God opened my eyes to see that he had intentionally and lovingly chosen and appointed me for my life—exactly the way it is. He allowed a traumatic past that I would never have chosen, because he knew that through merciful healing, I can bear eternal fruit and become a more powerful intercessor. When I read the verse, I was given the grace to accept the events of my life exactly as they were. I was given the strength to stop wishing things had been different, and instead, to go and live. I was able to accept the trauma of my past because he had accepted it for me.

God knows what is needed to perfect us and make us abundantly fruitful. He believes in us and refuses to let us sell ourselves short. He calls us to greater heights than we think we can handle. We may feel shaky and unsteady at these heights, but all we have to do is trust him.

We did not choose for the COVID-19 virus to exist; we did not choose for schools and businesses to shut down, for Masses to be canceled, for the countless crosses and sorrows that we now face. But the all-wise, all-loving God has chosen and appointed us for seasons and events that we would not choose. Let’s embrace our present situation with trust, so that we can go and bear lasting fruit, and so that whatever we ask the Father in Jesus’ Name, he may give.

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