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 15, 2006

The struggle

At the end of today's first reading (1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22b-27), St. Paul talks about Christian life and ministry as if it were an athletic contest and that even he, a true superstar athlete in the apostolic league, fears being "disqualified" (risking the ultimate "penalty box").

St. Paul writes of the athletic practice of discipline and of how he strives to train his own body.

Part of this discipline would seem to be "doing without" various things, much as a successful athlete might do. Part of this discipline might also be the flexibility of personality (while always remaining faithful to the truth of Christ) of which St. Paul writes ("I have become all things to all"): reaching outside his comfort zone in order to reach people with the saving message of Christ.

Part of this discipline is also the ministerial suffering to which St. Paul often refers, especially as he would tell the Corinthians in his second letter (1:3-7) - something most appropriate to remember on this memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our affliction,
so that we may be able to comfort
those who are in any affliction,
with the comfort
with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings,
so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

If we are afflicted,
it is for your comfort and salvation;
and if we are comforted,
it is for your comfort,
which you experience
when you patiently endure
the same sufferings that we suffer.

Our hope for you is unshaken;
for we know that as you share in our sufferings,
you will also share in our comfort.

So too must we practice appropriate discipline and even embrace the infinitesimal share we may have, by the grace of God, in the sufferings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - through whom we gain the greatest victory.