Week 5 Day 5: Being Pruned

Week 5: My Relationship with Creation
Workbook Exercise: My Creation Collage

Watch: Week 5 Day 5: Being Pruned
Where could your life be pruned to bear more fruit?
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Transcript of Video:

My own experience of being pruned is that, though I can present myself in prayer more likely than not as being willing to be pruned, the actual pruning happens out in the world as I am rubbing up against other people. So this is another way where I am not in control of the pruning and sort of living in community, but not just in community, and all my interactions with other people – noticing what brings me joy and happiness in my interactions with other people, what rubs me the wrong way, quite literally and figuratively, and where are those rough edges and where are the things that need to be cut away in order to allow my movement through this life to go more smoothly, and seeing that as God’s invitation to grow and to change and not as sort of the external circumstances or as this person is acting up or doing this. That it’s God showing me where these things are that need to be removed or cut away.

– Br John Braught


  1. David B Damon on October 8, 2021 at 08:57

    Many areas of my life need pruning. Perhaps the biggest one is recognizing that a plant doesn’t prune itself – the Gardener does. The Gardener knows what needs to be pruned, how much, and when. I read something yesterday about St Francis, who was counseling a despondent monk worried about the sin in his life. Francis encouraged the monk that to be pure in heart he should look to Jesus and focus on Jesus, rather than looking within and trying through self effort to become pure in heart. This message resonated with thinking about the pruning I need done in my life; I will try to look to Jesus the Gardener to prune me in His time and in His way and not try to prune myself.

  2. Lisa Bartoli-DeAngelis on April 4, 2019 at 16:43

    One of my faults is taking things too personally when someone says something or does something mean or detrimental. I tend to think on it…pick it apart…analyze it to death. First how dare they hurt me…and then what is wrong with me. So this is something that could definitely use some pruning or at least a change in attitude. That not everything should be taken to heart. Maybe stop and just take a deep breath and realize that person is loved by God as I am. And be at peace with that. And also not to be afraid if I need to confront a situation at the right time and place. So hopefully mend fences and not build bridges. Of course this may not be possible or even healthy and to accept that as well.

  3. David W on December 10, 2017 at 07:21

    I have had a tendency to become very enthusiastic about new ideas, new activities or new opportunities. Sometimes, when the “newness” wears off, It has happened that I drop the “new”, and go searching for “newer.” I have made progress in the struggle to overcome this, but there is still work to be done. I want to prune away this vague restlessness and realize what is good and worth keeping in every new idea, situation, opportunity or personal relationship……to be more accepting and mindful of what is really important.
    With God’s help I strive daily in the right direction.

    • Chioma A. Nwaogu on February 5, 2021 at 21:31

      I need the pruning fork of the lord to prune me and draw more into the love I need in my life and not be drawn into the many other loves, that detract from my relationship with God, myself, my neighbor and creation in general. I need to be more caring and gentle in my attitude and be more open and optimistic that a life with God in the spirit, is the best for me and it is sweet and viable.

  4. Stan Lewis on March 13, 2017 at 16:07

    I think that the complexity of my life–the clutter is what needs to be pruned, so that i can focus on what is truly important–what we created for: relationship.

  5. Jaan Sass on November 20, 2016 at 00:07

    Watch: Where could your life be pruned to bear more fruit?
    I could listen more to others around me. I could also be more aware of my surroundings and myself and those I love and creation around me.

  6. Linda on June 14, 2016 at 09:25

    I need fear pruned away. I try to help my pruner prune it but the allegory doesn’t allow for much participation other than I must bear some fruit. Maybe I need to go deeper lectio divina into this mystery and see how a plant produces fruit. It it work? Not really, all the nutrients are provided by the soil, weather. But what if the nutrients aren’t there. Well, the Pruner will still come and give another chance by digging around me deep and putting dung. Well, have you ever dungged a plant? It isn’t that pleasant a task for the gardener. The gardener has to have patience just to deal with the plant. The dung has age somewhere else or it will stink and burn up the plant. Well, if God has to go to so much trouble over me, perhaps this allegory will indeed give me some trust and I can let go of fear for a while. I’d like to make it to complete abandonment in joy. It’s a journey.

  7. Debbie on March 13, 2016 at 17:50

    What do I have to let go of. Nothing. I manage by life by constantly dropping those things that I really don’t need. It allows me to be open to possibilities.

  8. chuck griffis on March 13, 2016 at 14:40

    I should prune away my obsession with sexual stuff and physicality, so that this becomes a fitting piece of my good life. And likewise, I prune away unrealistic expectations of a person who is moving into my retirement years, and accept what I can realistically accomplish. I would like to prune away those things that I allow to distract me from the joy in life, and focus on what brings me to my goal–being a source of loving assistance to my friends and family and humanity.

  9. Stan on March 11, 2016 at 21:13

    Brother John truly said it all. Part of tending a garden is pruning it to help keep it healthy and growing vigorously. And yes, I have my own ideas about what I feel needs pruning in my garden.

    But only the Master Gardener truly knows where our individual lives need pruning. And indeed, God prunes us through the words and actions or others. So I must be open and receptive to how I’m being pruned, and give meditative thought to the nature of my wounds, and accept God’s guidance as how best to prune my garden in a way which is healthy and more fruitful.

  10. Kristi on March 11, 2016 at 06:31

    I think there are definite areas in my garden plot which have developed Negative and toxic elements in the form of friends who always seem to be unhappy or trying negative attention to themselves that they realize it or not. I feel used sometimes as the friend will always be there to listen no matter what. When those friends don’t reach out to me treat me or with the same respect I have to wonder what purpose that serves in my life . My friendships are precious and few so I really need to manage carefully what I allow in my life . I know but I can letting go of a few of them would be extremely difficult but at the same time I think it would open me up to more positive healthy new growth .

  11. susan zimmerman on March 10, 2016 at 20:22

    …actually I have pruned a grape vine for the last fifteen years and the vine never gets pruned, while the branches always get pruned backed to ‘one’ sprout…never really wanted to bear ‘more fruit’ just wanted the fruit to get bigger and better…not ‘more.’ …also the vine must look good next to the rest of the garden/lawn…hence back to one sprout, which eliminates flopping grape leaves down the fence.

    …no ‘more’ fruit in my life but i also know the fruit that is present is better than fifteen years ago…there is ‘lots’ of wine/juice and then there is ‘good’ wine/juice and a plant that looks very happy shading my serpentine garlic.

    ..while Spring pruning i sing to my grape vine…”Israel is my vineyard and I the Lord will tend this fruitful vine…everyday I’ll water it both day and night I’ll watch to keep all enemies away…I’ll watch to keep all enemies away…chorus Hallelujah hallelujah praise the Lord…Hallelujah Praise the Lord!

  12. Eugene Wright on March 10, 2016 at 14:33

    I am aware that there are areas in my life that need pruning but I don’t know if I can do the pruning. Only God can do that and I am concerned that if I were to try to do any pruning I might miss very important areas to prune and then prune areas that I shouldn’t have. I pray that as I develop and grow in my search and constantly pray that God will cleanse me from all unrighteousness, I will with Gods help be perfectly pruned. I know that I have bad habits that need to be pruned; eg procrastination, being an introvert, easily aggravated especially by stupidity, the problems with my marriage and the like.

  13. a city monk on March 10, 2016 at 13:16

    There are the many ways that I create friction… judgmental, criticism, sarcasm,anger… that quick horn honk of a thought or word that disturbs the peace. That instant when I scream I’m ok and you are not so hot. There are so many ways to be loud! to disturb, to distract.

    Before there is fruit, there must be flowers.

    Perhaps every time I become aware of a moment in which I chose to be less than God’s will for me and experience remorse and contrition and respond to the grace to amend my life…maybe a flower begins to bud and then maybe to blossom.

  14. Russell on March 10, 2016 at 11:47

    I find this process difficult. On the one hand, I feel a lot of my life is productive for the Kingdom. And I know that the Gardener is in charge of the pruning. So, if I were to petition the Gardener, I would ask that my unfruitful ego and self-criticism be a possible branch that could be sacrificed. I would ask for my impatience to be trimmed way back. I would pray for the activities that sap my energy away from the work of His will be clipped. And I would look for these signs of pruning in my self-respect, my priorities, my relationships.

  15. Muriel Akam on March 10, 2016 at 11:47

    I need to prune away many things but with God’s help and these Lenten meditations I’ll be guided in the right direction.. I need to cut down time spent on worthless activities – too much media and spend more time on the talents that I’ve been given.

  16. Winifred on March 10, 2016 at 11:20

    pruning for me could be the external (ie: getting rid of the clutter or lovingly putting away the child’s paintings for safekeeping now that he is a man), so that the internal (the calm mind, the outpouring of any love that’s stuck, the clear thinking) can flow in celebration of the present – a present that is the sum total of all that has come before, so the past is never really “lost.”

  17. gwedhen nicholas on March 10, 2016 at 10:38

    My tendency toward silence could be pruned. Or maybe the pride I feel that I am silent most of the time, but when I do say something it has some weight. I am struggling right now with a desire to remain that way, and the feeling that God wishes me to be more outgoing; to interact more,so that the fruit God causes to grow in me would become sustenance for those with whom I interact.

    • gwedhen nicholas on March 10, 2016 at 17:03

      ps It is only in giving and sharing the fruit with others that bearing the fruit at all makes any sense. What is the point of bearing fruit if we keep it selfishly to ourselves? None. G.

      • Stan on March 11, 2016 at 20:56

        Silence truly can be golden. And, (at the risk of sounding cliche), actions do speak louder than words.

  18. lizCongdon on March 10, 2016 at 09:30

    Noticing what annoys me brings learnings. What in someone else is annoying me today? I view that in a mirror. What in me do I see reflected? It is easier to hate something in someone else than in oneself.

  19. Robert on March 10, 2016 at 09:30

    Respect. When I am not treated with respect, it rubs me the wrong way. It is not important someone agrees or disagrees with me. I always extend respect to others no matter what. Also, it is not necessary that we are friendly. But, when I am shown disrespect, it deeply affects me.

    • lizCongdon on March 10, 2016 at 10:13

      Your comment about respect made me ask myself what being respected looked like. It takes many forms. I agree about not being respected.

  20. KMB on March 10, 2016 at 08:56

    I am in a drawn out situation where I need to keep details that justify my choices secret, with only a few trusted helpers. The abuser (not me) has ‘become’ the victim and I (the long time compliant victim) have ‘become’ the apparent selfish one inflicting pain on innocent lives. I am learning silence, and the true shalom peace of Jesus’ presence like never before. I am experiencing more pruning of my felt needs: to be understood, for justice and the approval from former ‘friends.’ The earthly verdict remains to be seen. And I am gaining strength as I learn to redirect and keep my eyes tenaciously on Jesus, trusting him more with all the outcomes, including the final judgement where I leave my desire for vengeance to Him.

  21. K.D. on March 10, 2016 at 08:45

    Holding onto other people as if they were mine. Letting go of my attachment and security placed in certain relationships has been a painful pruning process, but one that opens up other areas of my life for growth (and fruit!)

  22. Bobbi on March 10, 2016 at 08:43

    I am conscious of some of the places where I need pruning. One that I consciously prune away at is judging; I am continually taking the log out of my own eye. The major pruning, however, gets done when I hand the pruning sheers over to God and surrender Thy will be done. Only God can cut away all the thorns of which I’m not even aware.

  23. J. Todd on March 10, 2016 at 08:19

    Anger, frustration, slander and malice. When I don’t get my way. Use of direct and harsh language. Profane irruptions when I deem other people less than worth of God’s love and mercy.

  24. Bill Spies on March 10, 2016 at 07:58

    That’s hard to answer since I don’t feel to have any control in that pruning. Events in my life have done the pruning, at my various work places, interactions with people otherwise as well. Now it seems that in my retirement years while I rather spend time seeing new places with my wife, events keep that from happening. Instead I have focused on helping my church, my community. It’s very fulfilling, but not something I planned to do, it instead just happened from events in my life.

  25. Jane on March 10, 2016 at 07:24

    Today’s message helped me remember a pruning that took place not long before I retired – there was some criticism leveled at me by a person in my work world. Although I knew the person was somewhat off base (because they didn’t know the whole story), and I accepted that there is always someone who isn’t happy at a given time, it made me bristle in a way that I thought, this incident helps me confirm my decision to retire. It helped me experience in the moment how I didn’t have as much patience as I once did to for dealing with disgruntlement, and I was ready to hand over the reins of my work to someone with fresh eyes for all that the job entailed. And having pruned the job from myself, I was ready to explore who I am, apart from that job. Parenthetically, I didn’t prune away the people I loved who were in my work world and have enjoyed staying in touch with them. I have been very happy in retirement and two years into it, am still discovering much about myself, and the “new shoots” that a growing in my life.

  26. Neil Ellis Orts on March 10, 2016 at 07:17

    Some version of this question has been on my mind for a while. I have to say, I don’t much care for it.

    Middle age seems to be a time of grappling with what you haven’t done yet and what you’d still like to do and realizing that there’s a lot to let go or else none of it will get accomplished. I’m realizing that there is a lot that can not reasonably expect to accomplish anymore and so there are hopes and dreams getting pruned in order to focus on some that remain reasonable.

    Yes, I don’t much care for this question because what needs to be pruned are a lot of things that I’d hoped to accomplish so that some other things can still be done. But so it goes. It’s going to be all right. I do think the Spirit is in the mix, so something is going to be a blessing.

    • a city monk on March 10, 2016 at 13:24

      quite so… its accepting that at 70 I’m not going to be any of the myths I created about myself. But I still can’t throw away the artifacts…ok I accept I am never going to be prom queen but I’m not ready to throw out the dress and the shoes, I would have worn IF…
      God grant me the grace to clean my closets…

      • Neil Ellis Orts on March 11, 2016 at 07:22

        I hope you still put on the dress now and then, though . . . 🙂

  27. Jim V on March 10, 2016 at 06:26

    Work is a place of pruning. I have put a lot of my time and energy there and the fruit is not nearly proportional to the energy. In fact it might be negative fruit or stolen fruit.
    The other place is just slough and junk that I spend my time on at home. That could be enriching or quality time with family and friends.

  28. alma on March 10, 2016 at 05:37

    So many terrible things happen every day that we start wondering whether the few things we do ourselves make any sense. When people are starving only a few thousand miles away, when wars are raging close to our borders, when countless people in our own cities have no homes to live in, our own activities look futile. Such considerations, however, can paralyze us and depress us.

    Here the word call becomes important. We are not called to save the world, solve all problems, and help all people. But we each have our own unique call, in our families, in our work, in our world. We have to keep asking God to help us see clearly what our call is and to give us the strength to live out that call with trust. Then we will discover that our faithfulness to a small task is the most healing response to the illnesses of our time.

    Perhaps too often I let overwhelming burden distract and paralyze my prayer life and make me miss the point that small things do matter in life.

    I thank God for reminding me of this, through this morning’s meditation on Hebrews 6: 7 (NIV). “Hand that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.”

    I pray that God will continue to help me discover all those areas of my life that yet needs to be pruned.

  29. Suzanne on March 9, 2016 at 21:39

    The frustration and irritation that resides within me is what I would like pruned. While these have always been part of my life, I feel as if God is pulling back the curtain so to speak and revealing these tendencies. The fruit would result in more peace within myself.

  30. Ruth West on March 9, 2016 at 12:10

    Thanks for this thought as I go about my daily chores. I pray that God shall prune me today, show me those things in my life which need to be cut away. I had my roses pruned in the fall. How effective it was! I have lovely new growth on those bushes, whereas, if I had not had that done, no doubt, the ugly stubble would mar their growth.
    May God be in my mind and in my understanding today as He shows me my needs.
    May God bless you.

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