I was struck today by the letter of the Apostle Paul to Timothy. At first it was his bold proclamation that caught me:
For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as ransom for all.
How powerful it is to hear St. Paul make the profound but also simple proclamation: Our faith is in One God & One Mediator, Jesus the Christ.
Further, I noticed where he expressed his wish that in every place we should lift up our hands in prayer, without anger or argument. I thought about how easy it is, sadly, for those of us called to communicate Christ to the World to forsake Christian faith, hope, and love, for the path of anger, resentment, and argument.
It is possible to disagree and not be consumed by anger, but it requires virtue.
What virtue specifically? Meekness.
Meekness is not a virtue whereby we become a doormat. Indeed, the Christian understanding of meekness is one whereby the power, peace, and wisdom of the Holy Spirit is allowed to temper the spirit of anger within us. A Catholic Dictionary defines meekness as the virtue that moderates anger and its disorderly effects. This requires great strength! A strength that is beyond man, left to his own resources. The same dictionary also says that meekness is a form of temperance that controls every inordinate movement of resentment at another person’s character or behavior.
What is resentment? The word comes from the Latin sentire, which means to feel. Re-sentment then is to re-feel a real, imagined, or perceived wrong. The will is involved in it, it stirs up anger, destructive feelings, and sets us apart from those we are called to offer our lives as a loving gift for.
After reading this passage by St. Paul in the letter to Timothy I reread it and saw something I never noticed before. He asks us to offer our supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings, for everyone that we may live a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity.
We are called to a quiet and tranquil life? …
Every member of the body of Christ is called to be a temple of the Holy Spirit whereby the presence of God is within us in a way such that transforms us. The power, presence, and wisdom of God enables us to match the hardship and trials of life with serenity, interior peace, and compassion towards others. But we have to seek Him.
A quiet and tranquil life is not the avoidance of difficulty, challenges, and sacrifice. Perhaps that may be how someone without the gift of faith perceives the means of peace and tranquility. But that is a perception formed according to the terms of the World alone.
As disciples of Jesus, we seek a quiet and tranquil life on the terms of God. That means we seek the peace that can only come from Christ: The One Mediator of God. United to His Body we have an advocate and guide who lacks no power: the Holy Spirit.
When we are lost from the peace of Christ it means we are caught up in the World, putting things before Him. As Catholics we share the faith of St. Paul, that we are called to live a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity.
Reference for today’s reading: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/091817.cfm