29th Friday in Ordinary Time
Romans 7: 18 – 25a; Ps 119; Luke 12: 54 – 59
It has been said that one of the signs of spiritual maturity is interior honesty, i.e. being transparent before God. It is truly conversion of heart when one is open before God – living in truth and not self-deception nor rationalization. Of course, to live this transparency, our relationship with the Lord has to be one founded on the truth, the truth that the Lord is merciful, compassionate, forgiving beyond all logic.
In today’s reading from Romans, St. Paul expresses this interior honesty and is clearly transparent to God and to all who hear His confession. He writes, “I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh…For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.”
Notice he does not write in a general way – he does not speak of “we” or “us” or “one” or “whoever” but “I”. He gives us a glimpse into his personal journey of faith. He is certainly a man of good will, of zealous dedication but such good will, even such passionate dedication does not guarantee the right choices.
Like Paul, we are challenged by life and sometimes, we falter and even fall. These experiences can be a source of spiritual anguish in that we love the Lord, desire to serve Him faithfully, obediently yet miss the mark. Paul’s words can be ours, “Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body?”
Of course the deliverer is not another person, certainly not our own self; our failings are a sure teacher of this. But Paul has learned and embraced the truth – the truth that frees, brings peace, hope, forgiveness – with enthusiasm, he answers his own question, “Who will deliver me from this mortal body?” with, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
To know this in our hearts is to know the One who is my Savior.