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    This just came to my attention through somebody else’s observation.  In the following verses, Jesus tells us to abide in Him:

    John 15:4-9

    Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.

    So we are told many times that we are responsible for abiding in Christ. At one point there is a double command of 1. abiding in Christ, and 2. allowing his words to abide in us.  But nowhere in this passage are we told how to “abide in Christ”.  What does it all mean?

    But then we flip over to John 6:56

    He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

    Notice it mentions ONLY His flesh and blood, which can only be received in the Eucharist according to Catholic teaching. Is this the answer to how we abide in Christ? Is it the only way we can abide in Christ?


    David W. Emery
    @David W. Emery

    Jennie, I ran a search of the various forms of the verb abide in the Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition (RSV-CE2) to see where it occurs in the Bible. Here is the list of occurrences relevant to your question:

    John 5:38.
    John 6:56. (Your second reference.)
    John 15:4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 16. (The passage you quote at length.)
    1 John 2:6, 10, 14, 17, 24, 27, 28.
    1 John 3:6, 9, 15, 17, 24.
    1 John 4:12, 13, 15, 16.
    2 John 1:2, 9.

    Of note is that the apostle John is the only biblical author who uses the word in a spiritual sense. By comparing the different contexts, you should be able to arrive at some sense of his teaching.

    Keep in mind that John is the mystical disciple, the one “whom Jesus loved” most intimately (John 13:23; 20:2; 21:7, 20). He is the one who, according to tradition, as an old man preached one thing only: “Little children, love one another.” Love is not only his byword; the intimate love of and union with the divine Christ is the summation of his life.



    Howard Hampson
    @Howard the Pilgrim

    Amen to what you both have said.  I have found that living the sacramental, prayerful Catholic life is entirely about abiding in Jesus.  Sometimes it takes my breath and my words away in awestruck wonder.  I become intoxicated with the divine mercy, love and grace flowing through all that Jesus has provided for me through and in his Church.

    The Anima Christi seems fitting here.

    Soul of Christ, sanctify me
    Body of Christ, save me
    Blood of Christ, inebriate me
    Water from Christ’s side, wash me
    Passion of Christ, strengthen me
    O good Jesus, hear me
    Within Thy wounds hide me
    Suffer me not to be separated from Thee
    From the malicious enemy defend me
    In the hour of my death call me
    And bid me come unto Thee
    That I may praise Thee with Thy saints
     and with Thy angels
    Forever and ever



    So from those passages you listed, David, I can see that abiding is dependent upon faith (John 5:38); upon eating his flesh and drinking his blood (6:56); by allowing his word to abide in us (15:7); is proven by the fruit we bear (15:5) in imitation of Jesus (1 John 2:6); by orthodoxy in our beliefs (1 John 2:23-25); by living a life of love towards one another (1 John 3-4); by not sinning (1 John 3:6,9).

    So when I was a Protestant, I tried to do most of those things.  I loved His word and knew it. I tried to conform myself to Him in the best way I could and my choices did bear fruit. I tried to be orthodox in my beliefs but found that difficult because there was such a confusion of beliefs within the Protestant realm, but I held fast to what I knew was true and just did the best I could with the confusing parts. I tried to practice the law of love. What I could not do was know ALL the truth, because the Protestant theologies were schismatic in the very least, and heretical at their very worst.  Also, I could not receive the Body and Blood of Christ as asked by Him, because it could not be offered due to the schism and heresies taught.  Their NOT having valid orders was probably a great grace in the sense that at least I wasn’t eating and drinking unto condemnation. Ignorance was bliss in this matter.

    But God in His grace met me where I was at.  I think that is the best part of this whole journey to Rome. Wherever I was at, if I honestly came to Him even in error and complete ignorance, he extended His grace towards me and blessed me in spite of myself.  I remember actually praying that prayer as a mother.  It was along the lines of, “Lord, I have four kids and I know that I’m doing it all wrong in many ways. Please bless my kids in spite of my effort rather than because of it.”  And being a good Father who loves to give good gifts to His children, He did just that.

    He extended that even to my faith and my knowledge of my faith. I really, REALLY wanted to know the truth even if it was dangerous, or confusing, or alienating, or just plain terrible. To me, it was very important that I knew it.  I knew God could not work or bless within the framework of a lie, and so being greedy and hungry for truth, I was always trying to make sense of what I read and always trying to discern the truth.  Lo and behold, I found it in the most unlikely of places in my mind, the Catholic Church!

    I’m still amazed that he entrusted me with those few nuggets of truth right at the beginning of my conversion. I know He knows the end from the beginning, but from my human point of view, it amazes me. I could have turned away in fear or disgust having been conformed to excessive bias against the Church for the better part of 35 years. But I didn’t!  And think that is because I had learned to trust in God implicitly, and I sensed very much that there was a God-thing going on which led me down that particular path.

    And now I can truly abide in Him and He in me in the most literal of ways.  I like literalism.  After all, I was an evangelical Protestant. 😉


    David W. Emery
    @David W. Emery

    Well put, Jennie. It is a powerful statement of your faith.

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