Every spring my wife and I buy flowers for our yard. We try and pick the prettiest and spread them throughout our flower beds. It can be hard work and the flowers seem so delicate as we are planting them. I worry every year how they will bloom. I water and feed them and tend to them by removing any leaves or petals that may have died so the flowers do not have the extra burden. They can grow to be quite beautiful, and I am surprised every year, but it is through the hard work by my wife and I that they look as good as they do. One weekend last summer we had gone out of town and my children were going to make sure the flowers were watered and fed. As with all families there was a little miscommunication, and they all thought the other was watering. Needless to say, no watering or feeding of the flowers took place. In one hot weekend the flowers took a severe beating. They were all wilted and dying. Just one weekend without care we almost lost all of them. We began watering right way and in about two weeks most of them came back.
It is not a coincidence that Christ uses the metaphor of the vines and branches as to our relationship with him. A vineyard, like a garden, needs constant work. The vine provides the life to the branches. The branches need the vine to provide water and food. Take the vine away and the branch will die. Take away Christ, and we surely will die. The waters of baptism and the food of the Eucharist truly sustain us. We use these life-giving sacraments to maintain the garden of our faith. When we have time away our faith can start to wilt. We can be our own gardeners of our faith, but it takes work. We need to meet Christ in prayer and in the Eucharist. The very best thing about our wilting faith is that Christ offers us every opportunity to save it, no matter how wilted it has become. No matter what conditions our faith has endured, it can always be strengthened again by the true vine.
May Jesus live in your hearts forever.