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Book of the Month: Schola Caritatis: Learning the Rhythms of God's Amazing Love

  Starting a new feature for the next several months called Book of the Month.  I will present one of my books and tell you a little of the ...

Saturday, March 16, 2024


More is not always better, especially when you are talking about the spiritual life.  When it comes to life with God, quality always seems to be more important than quantity.  Jesus knew that, which is where the whole idea of pruning comes in. (John 15:1-2) 

Pruning is about decreasing quantity in order to increase quality.  It is about making space for beauty.  Pruning is the difference between growing a hundred good roses, as opposed to growing twenty-five great ones.  Thus, the act of pruning is about God cutting away the old and lifeless parts of us in order to bring about more beautiful fruit.  Which means that when God prunes us, it is to make us a more beautiful expression and reflection of his goodness, love, and creativity.

The word for prune, in the Greek, is kathairō, which also means to cleanse or to purge.  It is a necessary part of growth, both for a plant and for a heart and soul.  A thing can only grow if there is room to do so.  Space must be made.  Pruning is about making that space.

The saints of old understood this.  They often referred to this stage of the spiritual growth process as purgation.  It is one part of a three-fold pattern: purgation, illumination, and union.  Thus, the soul must first be purged of the many things occupying it, in order to make room for something more beautiful to come about.  The old state of being might have been okay for a time, or for a season, but in order for a new season to begin, the old must be done away with.  Autumn leaves must fall to the ground before the leaves of spring can arrive.  And so it is with a soul.

The great part is that we are not solely responsible for this pruning, it is in the hands of the Gardener.  He knows just how and where to do it, and he has very gentle hands.  He also has a vision of the beauty he is making room for.  All we need to do is to trust him, to be open and receptive and responsive to his divine touch.

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