A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Friday, September 08, 2006

All things work for good

Romans 8:28-30, one of the selections available for the first reading today, begins with some of the most gloriously optimistic words ever written:

We know that all things work for good
for those who love God...

St. Paul, however, is no Pollyanna: he is painfully aware of the bad things that happen to "those who love God," as he writes a little latter in this chapter (verses 35b-36):

...anguish, or distress, or persecution,
or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword….

As it is written:
"For your sake we are being slain all the day;
we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered."

But as St. Augustine would write some centuries later, [Enchridion, xi]: "For Almighty God… would never permit the existence of anything evil among His works, were He not so omnipotent and good that He can bring good even out of evil."

Perhaps the greatest example of this is found in the long form of today’s Gospel (Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23) - the genealogy of Christ - in which we see a line of very mixed people (some famous, some faceless, some notorious) which would become the ancestral line of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Immorality and evil, of course, are still bad things with bad consequences, but Almighty God can bring about still greater good, as St. Paul says at the very end of the chapter (verses 37-39):

No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly
through him who loved us.

For I am convinced
that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities,
nor present things, nor future things,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor any other creature
will be able to separate us
from the love of God
in Christ Jesus our Lord.