Today’s reflection is based on the optional Gospel reading for memorial (Jn 15:1-8) and the hagiographical reading from a letter by St. Peter Damian in today’s Office of Readings (PL 144, 473-476).
St. Peter Damian was a Benedictine monk who worked tirelessly for the reform of the church. But his first devotion was always to God. A man who did not totally love God and give himself over to God’s mission would never have been able to achieve what St. Peter Damian did. He reformed the monasteries, the clergy and even aided the popes.
In the Office of Readings today, St. Peter Damian wrote “some words of consolation” to someone he refers to as brother. He encourages the brother to remember that he is a son of God, that he need not fear.
“…for God’s chosen ones there is great comfort; the torment lasts but a short time. Then God bends down, cradles the fallen figure, whispers words of consolation. With hope in his heart, man picks himself up and walks again towards the glory of happiness in heaven.”
In this beautiful quote, Damian writes that while we may encounter trials, God is always there to comfort us. All we must do is remember to ask God for his help and comfort.
This ties in perfectly with the Gospel selected to accompany St. Peter Damian’s memorial. We are the branches on the vine of the Father. We are pruned so that we may grow and bear much fruit, but we are always connected to the Father. When stay close to the Father, and allow his words to remain in us—allowing Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to live and act in our lives—we can ask of anything and it will be done. When we are so intimate with God that we live in him and he lives in us, we will only what God wills, so it would be impossible for us not to receive those gifts for which we ask.
“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.”