Photograph by Cathie Horrell
What follows are reflections on the writing of St. Paul. His letters in the New Testament are the basis of a faith that would eventually be called Christianity. Some of them are familiar. Both famous and infamous, as Paul was himself. Paul, a Hellenized Jew, was a lightening rod of controversy then and remains so today.
At the beginning of this Lent I chose to read Paul’s letters in chronological order to see if reading them this way would contribute to a better understanding of Paul and thereby of ourselves as people of faith. What follows in these Posts are reflections on his letters, not only as important historical documents of the Christian faith, but more importantly the role they play in bringing to light the Christ as the enduring reality of our lives today. It is my hope that these readings will aid us in a better understanding of Paul, ourselves and our faith lives, lives lived in Christ.
The following prayer from Ephesians is, I believe, the heart and soul of what Paul is about; the growth of the hidden Self, what I deem the Christ-self, is more significant for us today than ever before. It is also I believe, the summation of St. Paul’s experience and thoughts of the Christ-event he was so passionate about sharing with others.
This, then, is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural, takes its name:
Out of his infinite glory, may he give you the power through his Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and that, planted on love and built on love, you will with all the saints have the strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depths, until, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God.