By Kathleen Billings
We have a small family vineyard on our property, lovingly named “Frutto Della Vitae” Italian for Fruit of the Vine. When the month of August rolls around each year, we harvest the fruit of our labor. It is a joyous time and a full -blown family affair, including our very own grape stomping. For our children, eating the grapes is their favorite part of harvest time, but stomping on them with their little feet is a close second! My husband and I also enjoy eating the delicious grapes fresh from the vine, but our favorite “fruit” from our harvest is the fine wine that we make from our grapes.
God as our creator, sees our potential and provides us with everything necessary for us to grow into what He desires for us to become in cooperation with His grace.
As the viticulturist, my husband has to ensure that each of our grape vines are properly cared for so they can grow into what they are meant to be. He knows that each vine has the potential to bear abundant fruit, so he provides them with everything necessary to give them optimal opportunity. The vines need sun, water, pruning, placement, protection from birds, protection from disease, and protection from nasty beetle bugs that want to eat the leaves on the vines.
God is the viticulturist of our lives. He ensures that we have everything necessary to grow in holiness and live up to our full potential so we can bear abundant spiritual fruit in our lives. God puts people in our lives to bring us closer to Him and He takes people out of our lives that perhaps are drawing us away from Him and into sin. He gives us the Church as our guide, the Sacraments as our spiritual tools, and the body of Christ as our support system. He protects us from sin to the extent that we allow Him to do so. Since we have free will, we can either choose to deny God access to the protection of our soul or we can purposefully choose to allow Him to lead us away from the disease of sinfulness which produces poisonous fruit.
About the Author:
Kathleen Billings is married to her best friend, a mother of five beautiful blessings and three more souls in Heaven. She has a BA in theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Together with her husband, Troy, they began and direct a vibrant parish based Marriage Ministry called BAM – Building Amazing Marriages. Kathleen has a personal blog entitled seasonsoftheheartandhome.com where she writes about living her faith, in every season, as a wife and mother amidst the ordinary moments each day that God wants to make extraordinary. She is a regular blogger on marriage for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Website and is also a contributing author to the book “Amazing Grace for Mothers.” Kathleen has been an active Catholic speaker for the past 20 years – speaking at days of recollection, retreats for women, retreats for married couples, evenings of reflection and women’s groups.