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Fruitful Branches

The image of Fruitful Branches has stayed with me since my weekend work helping form a discernment group at St. Christopher's, Springfield (Va).  Two times during breaks on that weekend, I was drawn back to the sanctuary to revisit the circular chancel space and free standing altar where I grew up as a youth and teenager.  The wooden cross above the High Altar is carved with 'The Vine and the Branches".   How fitting a reminder for all of us.  John 15: 5 says "I am the vine; you are the branches. If one remains in me and I in them, they will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing".


I had worshiped in this church, served at this altar as an acolyte many times, and affirmed my own baptismal vows through Confirmation at the altar rail.  While it was notably cold in the church, I felt a wonderful warmth as I remembered that community that loved me and my family.  It was nice to be back. 

The Diocesan Spiritual Discernment process started in Virginia lists "fruitful branches" as:

       o   Lay Ministry in Daily Life
       o   Lay Leadership - lay persons helping others use their own gifts; equipping the equippers
       o   Diaconate
       o   Religious Orders
       o   Priesthood                       

I enjoy any opportunity I am given to talk with my father about this discernment process.  He has shared a great deal with me about his transition from a 34-year career in the U.S Navy (Capt., USN Ret.) to a Call to the Priesthood.  My Dad graduated from VTS and was ordained 30 years ago.  We both agree there are some interesting symmetries between the journey he took then, and the path I'm on now.  I continue my walk of discernment.  I pray I am open to God's Word.  I try to listen carefully.  I want to be obedient.  I am willing to be led.    

Almighty Father, your Seeking Servant prays for guidance.  Amen.