Wednesday, May 09, 2012

"You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you."

For a few moments, I thought I might take a picture of my bedroom to show its utter disarray, at least by my standards. I have some slowly-being-filled-with-books boxes on the ground, my laundry is all over the place, and there is an unprecedented amount of dust on my Darth Vader mask. If it says anything, it testifies to the fact that the end of the seniors' last week of school (tomorrow is prom) and that I play a role in making sure things go off smoothly. Just yesterday, in fact, I
  • taught five classes...well, almost five. I had to ditch my 3rd period class five minutes in when I was summoned to a meeting (only good things)
  • Processed another $10,000 in Prom checks and Cedar Point money (Frosh trip in June)
  • Ordered food for, and hosted, a lunch for three freshmen and three seniors (more pizza than normal people could dream of eating, just enough for voracious students)
  • Went to a Kairos team meeting
  • Acted as greeter and tour guide for Assistant Principal job applicants
  • Worked on my application to Boston College's School of Theology and Ministry
Not that this is a lot by the standards of a regular person's workday, but for a high school teacher I found it to be quite a bit to handle!

So, this morning, I woke up a bit early and turned to today's Gospel reading. In the wake of yesterday's chaos, I retain hopeful for a semi-smooth day. The words that struck me, though, title this post:
"You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you."
Jesuit formation is very long. Usually 11 years from entrance until ordination, it may be asked whether the length of the program is worth it. Today, deep within my heart, I felt something "click" into place...or back into place...that brings me peace and excitement.

What is the word which prunes us? What is the word spoken to each one of us that prunes us, shapes us, severs dead limbs and encourages new growth? What is the word spoken to us by the Christ that calls forth life? I cannot help but to think that it is a simple Yes. If I can describe these years, it could be summarized simply by the phrase that "I have come to know the grace of yes."

Jesus Christ is the Word made Flesh; He is the God's 'Yes' to Mary's 'Yes' uttered on behalf of humanity. His 'Yes' is spoken to fearful and broken hearts, giving them the courage and the hope that life is stronger than death, that good will conquer evil. Christ's 'Yes' promises that at the edge of the darkest night there plays the first rays of the morning sun, the light that will chase away darkness and bathe creation in the splendor of the new day. Christ's 'Yes' to friendship, to each of us, allows us to drop those things, those lifeless branches, which hold us back and tap into the true source of our lives. Christ's 'Yes' prunes away the old and makes way for the new.

I am not living the life I ever wanted. How could I ever have imagined a single day like yesterday, let alone the experiences I have had these years? Impossible. I am living the life I desire, a life of 'Yes' to friendship with Christ, a relationship that impels me...or drags me...into new and wondrous experiences. I am living a living inflected and etched by the "grace of yes" and I hope to continue to be pruned by this grace in the years to come.

Each of us, I suspect, feels something deep within, a stirring that wants to cry out YES (not in some When Harry met Sally way, mind you). Perhaps it could our collective prayer to find the strength to utter, even if near-silently, a quiet 'yes' to God's friend request, a 'yes' that inaugurates a journey not of wants met but desires enflamed.

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