When it comes to God’s children, the apples don’t fall too far from the tree:
I desire to be like You
Like any son or daughter
I want to be like my Father (Jason Upton, Just Like You)
Like little kids we are constantly looking in amazement at our Father saying, “Wow! I want to be just like Him someday!” Let’s hone in on a specific way in which we long to imitate Him: bearing fruit.
Let’s get down to the foundations. Just for a second, think of all that is – the Whole of what is – being itself. The great Catholic philosopher, Jacques Maritain, once remarked on how being itself is “superabundant” or “generous” – it mysteriously gushes forth as a kind of overflow into existence. The sheer act of our existence and the existence of everything around us leaps up as a kind of joyfully trembling exclamation mark. ‘All-that-is’ comes crashing into us like a thrilling, long-awaited embrace. At the very rock-bottom of everything is the fact that things (peacefully yet raucously) are – and it is good that they are.
Here’s the point: God’s existence seemingly cannot help but give of itself – His life cannot help but give life. He is (all day, all the time) constantly creating, generating, blooming out to make things alive, to make things be. He is forever bearing fruit. Life at its core is not a sterile heap of stuff roaming along with no beginning or end. Life is tremendously fecund. The mystery that ‘something’ rather than ‘nothing’ exists is drunk with meaning. It manifests an exotic generosity at the foundation of all things.
Moreover, this divine plentitude does not merely give, but (in giving) it gives itself. This looks an awful lot like love. God gives life through His sheer act of love. (Just listen some time – listen to ‘all that is’ – and feel this truth touch, ravish and possess you.)
Don’t we want to do that too? Seeing, hearing and feeling our Father’s loving, plentiful, generative, life-producing cosmic dance all around us, don’t we want to join in? Don’t we want to give ourselves in acts of love that inherently give life? Why else do we innately desire to have children by ‘making love?’ But this hunger of ours doesn’t stop there.
At our best (most honest) moments, we want to give of our whole selves to see others come alive! Chains to be broken, lives to be healed, light to annihilate the darkness, spiritual orphans to become joyful children, etc. There is a movement around us deeper than the ocean currents in which God is drawing all things back to Himself, making all things new – and we want to help! We see our Father building His House and we want to pick up a hammer! We want to help give life and bear fruit!
But how? No need to guess – Jesus tells us in John 15:1-11 (read it).
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. (John 15:1-4)
To bear fruit, we must abide in the love of Jesus. We must surrender to Him.
A hurricane of love is raging over the earth, with his tugging, luring, shouting: Let go, give in, in God’s name give in, all of you together. (Stinissen, Into Your Hands, Father)
Just as Jesus was radically surrendered to the Father’s Will (John 6:38), we must open ourselves to his life. We must give in to His love and let His tremendous fecundity pulse out. This is what the saints did. They abandoned themselves to the torrent of God’s love, let His life pour out of them and, mysteriously, everything they touched was just infected with life and newness.
Do you want to spread that good infection? Do you want to give life by giving of yourself? Do you want to bear fruit? The fundamental, love-producing-life principle of all that exists is on your side. God is on your side (well, more like you are on His side). Surrender to Him. Give yourself to Him. Abide in Him. Then see what amazing things happen…