The angel brought me, Ezekiel,
back to the entrance of the temple of the LORD,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the façade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the right side of the temple,
south of the altar.
He led me outside by the north gate,
and around to the outer gate facing the east,
where I saw water trickling from the right side.
Then when he had walked off to the east
with a measuring cord in his hand,
he measured off a thousand cubits
and had me wade through the water,
which was ankle-deep.
He measured off another thousand
and once more had me wade through the water,
which was now knee-deep.
Again he measured off a thousand and had me wade;
the water was up to my waist.
Once more he measured off a thousand,
but there was now a river through which I could not wade;
for the water had risen so high it had become a river
that could not be crossed except by swimming.
He asked me, “Have you seen this, son of man?”
Then he brought me to the bank of the river, where he had me sit.
Along the bank of the river I saw very many trees on both sides.
He said to me,
“This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.
Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.”
I love this image from Ezekiel. He speaks about the river flowing out from the temple. Any tree or living creature that stays close to the river flourishes and produces abundant fruit.
This reading comes from the Old Testament, but the analogy is true for us Christians. Jesus tells the woman at the well, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)
When we stay close to Jesus, the source of life-giving water, we find new life and we bear abundant fruit. If that is the case, how do we stay close to Jesus? As you may have picked up by some of my previous posts, I am a big supporter of the Cursillo movement in the Catholic Church. Cursillo is a Spanish word that means “short course” in Christianity. Cursillo teaches that there are three legs of a tripod that are essential in the spiritual life – prayer, study and action.
And I just did a parish mission on Matthew Kelly’s book The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, in which he interviewed thousands of Catholics around the country who were deeply engaged in their faith. He found that only 7% of American Catholics are what he would consider “Dynamic Catholics”. These 7% have four things in common:
1) Prayer – A regular prayer life that helped develop their relationship with Jesus Christ.
2) Study – On average they read 14 minutes a day from a good Catholic book (Bible, Catechism, spiritual reading, etc.)
3) Generosity – They were generous with their time, talent and treasure, as well as their love, compassion and mercy.
4) Evangelization – They wanted to share their faith with others.
Cursillo’s method and Matthew Kelly’s research really match up. Prayer and Study are identical. Cursillo’s action can be summarized by Kelly’s generosity and evangelization.
So how do we stay close to Jesus, the life-giving water? It is through a life of PRAYER and STUDY. These things are not just going to happen. As Kelly says, “We don’t fall into good habits”. We must be intentional. We must have a plan.
Take time to ready Matthew Kelly’s book. More importantly come up with a daily plan of prayer and study. This will deepen your relationship with Jesus and give you a life of peace and joy that is abundant. You will be like the trees planted beside the living waters that bear fruit, even during the drought.
Do I have a daily plan of prayer?
Do I speak to Jesus every day?
Do I study my faith daily?
What is the latest Catholic book that I have read?
For some ideas of great Catholic books, go to Matthew Kelly’s website www.dynamiccatholic.org . They will only charge you shipping and handling.
Have a blessed day,