Fr. John Denburger, OCSO
31st Saturday in Ordinary Time
St. Paul gives witness to an important truth about life: “…for I have learned in whatever situation I find myself to be self-sufficient.” Paul learned as we hopefully learn that there is no event, occasion, circumstance – whether good, bad, even evil – that God in His wisdom cannot use to teach us something for our life, that is, if we are willing, desirous to be taught, if we take the time to pray and listen. In a response to the Scriptures at Lauds on Tuesday we chant: “Give me a docile heart, O Lord.” – the word “docile” means “teachable” – therefore we pray to be open and humbly receptive.
St. Paul goes on to share a truth that undergirds his life and ministry – a truth that is absolute, all-encompassing – “I have the strength for everything through Him who empowers me.” His relationship with the Lord is one he has learned through God’s mercy and his own docile heart notwithstanding his great learning and his position in the early church.
In this relationship Paul witnesses what a relationship with the Lord must be first and foremost – more than dogma, more than any ritual no matter how sacred – it is primarily and necessarily a personal relationship and one that deepens through total trust and of course, through the faithful commitment of love.
In the letter St. Paul ends with a strong, emphatic statement of faith for us: “My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Do we – you/I – believe this, trust in this? Hopefully we can say with confidence, “Yes, Lord, I have come to believe this!”
We can believe because and only because the Lord has supplied and does supply the gift of faith into us. It is not fantasy to say that we, too, like Paul, can and do experience God’s glorious riches in Christ Jesus.