The Men's Academy: Academy Briefs
Academy Brief: Pruning Never Ceases
Stay closely connected to Christ, that Solid Vine by becoming a more ardent follower; submit to the
constant pruning of the Father; and you will give Him great glory. God be with you.
In the Gospel reading, Jn 15:1-8, for the 5th Sunday of Easter, Jesus says “I am the true vine, and my
Father is the vine grower” (v.1). We the faithful are the branches. And the Father’s prunes us so that
each one “bears more fruit” (v.2). There are effective lessons for men here as regards God’s ongoing
pruning and the need to stay connected with Christ.
John Chrysostom explains even the best of men require pruning. Every branch that bears good fruit,
must be pruned to bear more. Trimming allows further shoots to proceed from the branch. More
fruit, more pruning. But being clipped hurts; the cuts feel like being abandoned by God. On the
contrary, it means more attention. In His Love the Heavenly Father prunes, cuts, and trims—like He
did to His Only Begotton Son—in order to make us stronger, more dynamic, more productive. As
God wants to see abundant, ongoing growth, the pruning never ceases. A tough fact of the Christian
And importantly, the branch must remain on the vine for growth and productivity. As Jesus says,
“apart from me you can do nothing” (v.5). But in men there’s an inclination to think productivity is
by sheer effort. Men have a intuitive desire to take the credit. To believe our success is a result of
our own performance. Could it be vanity? Pride?
Why is it so natural to reckon that success rests upon us? Or that God somehow needs our labors to
bring about His Will? Ultimately, bearing fruit is staying connected with the Christ the Vine. St.
Augustine says, “he who thinks that he bears fruit of himself, is not in the vine.” All good work
proceeds from Christ.
Brothers, Jesus asserts “By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be
my disciples” (v.8). Stay closely connected to Christ, that Solid Vine, by becoming a more ardent
follower, submit to the constant pruning of the Father, and you will give Him great glory.
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Up Next in Season 1
Academy Brief: More Time Outdoors
Most men require more time outdoors. Take care to get frequent open-air exposure. Brisk
walking invigorates the body. Clears the head. Opens up the spiritual life. And proves
Recently I took a high impact walk in the La Habra Heights area of Los Angeles county, at one of
Academy Briefs: Lion and Lamb 2
Brothers, as I’ve spoken previously: a man can be summed up in 2 words: Lion & Lamb.
As a Lion, a man leads, protects, and provides. He serves this way for all those in his care. He keeps resigned to fulfill his vocation and to stay the course. In the face of opposition he holds his ground. ...
Academy Brief: Prophet and Pride
Brothers, keep a peaceable spirit in your pursuit of truth. Avoid pride through fixation on your
own views and the temptation to tear others down. A prophet keeps his heart right. God be with you!
The pursuit of truth proves a vital life endeavor. The prophet in every man stands called to seek