One Minute Reflection – 22 May – Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter C, Gospel: John 15:1-8 and the Memorial of St Rita of Cascia (1386-1457) and St Julia (5th Centrury) Martyr
“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” … John 15:1-2
REFLECTION – “Holiness is like a sculpture. Leonardo da Vinci defined sculpture as “the art of removing.” The other arts consist in adding something – colour to the canvas in painting, stone on stone in architecture, note after note in music.
Only sculpture consists of removing, of taking away the pieces of marble that are in excess, so that the figure can emerge that one has in mind. Christian perfection is also obtained like this, by removing and making useless pieces fall off, namely, desires, ambitions, projects, carnal tendencies that disperse us and do not let us finish anything.
One day, Michelangelo walking through a garden in Florence saw a block of marble in a corner protruding from the earth, half covered by grass and mud. He stopped suddenly, as if he had seen someone and turning to friends, who were with him, exclaimed: “An angel is imprisoned in that marble, I must get him out.” And, armed with a chisel, he began to work on that block until the figure of a beautiful angel emerged.
God also looks at us and sees us this way – as shapeless blocks of stone. He then says to Himself: “Therein is hidden a new and beautiful creature that waits to come out to the light, more than that, the image of my own son Jesus Christ is hidden there, I want to bring it out!” We are predestined to “be conformed to the image of his son” (Romans 8:29).
Then, what does He do? He takes the chisel, which is the cross and begins to work on us. He takes the pruning shears and begins to prune us.
We must not worry ourselves thinking of what terrible crosses He may send us! Normally, He does not add anything to what life presents us in terms of suffering, effort, tribulations. He makes all these things serve for our purification. He helps us to not waste them.”…Father Raneiro Cantalamessa OFM – Preacher to the Papal Household
PRAYER – Holy God and Father, help us to discern through prayer and meditation what You truly want of us. Then enable us to offer it to You and indeed, to offer ourselves and all we have and all we are, to You. When You bring us sufferings to mould us closer and make us more like You, help us to accept them and offer them back to You. Following Your divine Son, let us pick up those crosses in peace and love. St Rita of Cascia, you prayed so earnestly to give yourself totally to the Lord and suffer for Him, please pray for us, amen.