A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Individualism has its place: each one of us is a unique gift from God and a certain amount of self-sufficiency can facilitate self-giving.

Both of today's readings, however, illustrate that individualism has its limits.

St. Paul was assuredly one of the greatest Apostles: a profound theologian, a powerful speaker, a tireless traveler, and a worker of many miracles. Moreover, he was called to be an Apostle by the extraordinary and direct action of Jesus Christ himself.

And yet even he knew that he was only one person in a wider Church and so in today's first reading (Acts 15:1-6) he and Barnabas touch base with the Apostles in Jerusalem to make sure that his efforts would not be in vain (cf Galatians 2:2).

If even the mighty St. Paul can do this, how much more should shy away from "doing our own (righteous) thing" - how much more should we be diligent in staying on the same page as the rest of the Church.

And then we have that wonderful Gospel (John 15:1-8, repeated from Sunday) - a warning against excessive individualism and a call to deeper communion:

Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.

I am the vine, you are the branches.

Whoever remains in me and I in him
will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.

Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want
and it will be done for you.

By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.