About this blogger:
Richard J. Clark is the Director of Music of the Archdiocese of Boston and the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. He is also Chapel Organist (Saint Mary’s Chapel) at Boston College. His compositions have been performed worldwide.
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“Gerard Manley Hopkins once argued that most people drank more liquids than they really needed and bet that he could go without drinking for a week. He persisted until his tongue was black and he collapsed at drill.”
— A biography of Fr. Gerard M. Hopkins (d. 1889)

Who Likes to be “Pruned”?
published 25 October 2013 by Richard J. Clark

OHN 15 CONTAINS SOME OF THE MOST well known lines of scripture, especially the first verse, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.” Yet, there are a few lines that I find intriguing—ones that are often overlooked—lines that are calling us to serve God.

John 15: 2: He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.

So it seems we are pruned in order to bear more fruit. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being pruned. I don’t like improperly imposed limitations, dealing with challenging personalities or situations—all the while knowing that I perhaps inflict difficult challenges on others. As musicians of liturgical music, challenges to the integrity of the sacred liturgy and sacred music are never in short supply.

But pruned we are again and again. Somehow, we must refine our people skills and find creative ways to catechize. Somewhere in all of these challenges we often refine our musical skills just when we thought our music was threatened. Ultimately, this pruning leads to a refinement of the soul.

So another verse I find most intriguing is John 15: 16: “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain…”

That God chooses us to serve leads to a bigger picture. What is our path in life? What does God want us to do in order to serve Him? God indeed, while often painfully slow in his response to our prayer (and for good reason), knows what is best for us and always answers our pleadings. This leads to Psalm 16 (15):11:

“You will show me the path of life, the fullness of joy in your presence, O Lord.”

There are times in life when our path is uncertain or does not make sense in the eyes of humankind. But in verse nine, the psalmist gives us hope:

“And so, my heart rejoices, my soul is glad; even my flesh shall rest in hope.”

Free Download | Psalm 16 (15):
Communion Antiphon for the Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (Nov. 3rd):
PDFNotas mihi fecisti | Communion Antiphon | 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time