God our Father, by the Death of your Son, you planted the seed of the tree of life deep in this earth. By his Resurrection, you gave it light and warmth. By the gift of the Spirit, you water it with the waters of life that flowed from his side on the cross. May our lives bear its fruit, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.—Magnificat, July 23, 2018
Original piece by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash.
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I think of the metaphor of a family tree, where the trunk reaches upward into branches, which themselves sprawl out as twigs, which finally yield stems that bear fruit. Fruit is commonly used in biblical imagery to represent the good works and faithfulness made possible by God’s grace.
We are all children who have a calling. I think of each child as a shoot growing outward from their parents, the source. What is that shoot to become? A twig? A branch that yields a whole line of future generations? Or perhaps a stem producing fruit?
Certainly, parents themselves can directly bear much fruit for the kingdom of God, not merely through their descendants. A parent/spouse should always be primarily aimed at serving God, though they secondarily have massive responsibilities in parenthood and marriage. It’s a beautiful path in life.
But I write this to encourage those who are perhaps discouraged at not having a partner. It’s a very real possibility that God is calling you to be a fruit of your family tree… that the line ends with you in a very fruitful way, a single man or single woman pouring out your resources not in forming a localized family but rather in bolstering the broader family of Christ’s pilgrim Church here on Earth. A vocation like this can be done either clerically or as a layperson.
It’s also possible that this period of being single is a temporary phase God has blessed you with to help you grow into a better version of yourself and to develop a deeper relationship with him, 1-on-1. It could be a time of preparation for married life in your future.
In faith, you can recite this prayer from the Magnificat with joy to ask God that, whatever your role in the family tree, you are ultimately doing it in service of bearing fruit for his kingdom, which is such an incredible gift and task that he invites us to partake in daily.