Oh Lord, purify me, make me a chalice in which you dwell, offer your sacrifice in me and spread your love through me. Let me shine like gold, adorn me with the jewels of virtue that I may always be open to you. Fill me. Overflow me. Let me be like that most perfect vessel, the Singular Vessel of Devotion, She to whom I cry for protection against the Evil One. I ask this for your glory, for the vessel is nothing without the sustenance inside, the cup nothing unless it is filled. Oh Lord, purify me.

Give me a word, Abba

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Living under the shadow of the fig tree.

I was intending to write this yesterday, but never got around to it.

August 24th is the Feast of St. Bartholomew, who happens to also be named Nathaniel and is my patron saint. I have known the story of his martyrdom since I was al little child (he was flayed alive), but it never seemed to bother me. Yesterday, I read this article by Fr. Z. which discusses St. Augustine's commentary on the story of St. Bartholomew. St. Augustine talks about how Christ saw Bartholomew (or Nathaniel) under a fig tree and that the fig tree is the tree that Christ cursed for not bearing any fruit. Most of us know the interpretation that Christ, when he met Bartholomew, called him a "true Israelite, a man without guile", and that he was being facetious because Israel was anything but guileless. However, there's more to the story than Jesus's awesome sense of humor. What St Augustine said got me thinking about living under the shadow of sin. Sin is a curse (and its origin is related to a tree), and we live under that curse from the moment of our conception. However, Christ calls us out from under that Tree of Sin and instead to the foot of the Tree of Life. And how does He do this? Well, for Nathaniel (or Bartholomew), He used Nathaniel's friend Philip to bring him the good news. He often does the same for us. He uses our friends to tell us when we are under the Cursed Tree because we are often blinded to our own faults with blaze forth for the rest of the world to see. We can then be led to the Tree of Life to worship God. And that is one lesson to be learned from the great story of St. Bartholomew.

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