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Posts Tagged ‘Crete’


Titus 2:1 to 3:7In Conflict with Reality

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Titus was one of Paul’s companions during the evangelization of the island of Crete, and Paul left his young follower to administer to the churches they established there.  In this letter, Paul encourages Titus and gives him an outline for 1) how to best minister to these new communities, and 2) how to maintain the truths brought to them by Christ in the Gospel story1.  This would have been a huge task for anyone but we can guess that it was particularly tricky for Titus who would find that every action he took and every word he spoke would be in direct conflict with the reality of the times.  We might identify with this conflict between doctrines and philosophies we know to be correct, and the accepted practices and activities in our own families, communities and workplaces.  We might want to use Paul’s words to Titus as our own manual for Christian behavior.

In a reflection posted on his website for Sunday, February 05, 2012, Fr. Richard Rohr describes living life fully while at the same time accepting reality In part he writes: “Living and accepting our own reality will not feel very spiritual. It will feel like we are on the edges rather than dealing with the essence.  Thus most [human beings] run toward more esoteric and dramatic postures instead of bearing the mystery of God’s suffering and joy inside themselves. But the edges of our lives—fully experienced, suffered, and enjoyed—lead us back to the center and the essence”.

Rohr continues to explain how we must open ourselves in order to allow God to move into us, in order to allow God to act in and through us.  He makes his point clear that we do not make our own lives but rather it is our lives that form us . . . once we allow ourselves to suffer in Christ.  He writes that as we search for God, God finds us:  “We do not find our own center; it finds us. Our own mind will not be able to figure it out. Our journeys around and through our realities, or ‘circumferences,’ lead us to the core reality, where we meet both our truest self and our truest God. We do not really know what it means to be human unless we know God. And, in turn, we do not really know God except through our broken and rejoicing humanity”.  (Adapted from Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer, pp. 17-19 by Richard Rohr)

As we read Paul’s message to Titus today, we hear the encouraging words that we need as well for as we move through our own reality we will want to know how to find the courage to stand tall against the thinking of the day when we know this thinking is defective.  We will want to have the hope that God will convert false realities into kingdom promises.  We will want to know where to find the faith and patience we will need, when to act with the love and justice that we will require, and how to work with others in charity . . . even those who put obstacles in our way.

Paul describes for Titus how he might guide others as they transform their own lives and their world.  Rohr reminds us that the work is difficult and that we must stand with one foot in the reality of this world and the other in the reality of God’s Kingdom . . . just as Jesus does.

We cannot allow ourselves to be discouraged from this kingdom work for it is the only work that matters.  We must rely on God, follow Christ’s model, and live in the Spirit.  So let us bear the mystery of God’s suffering and joy inside ourselves . . .for this is the only way we will be successful when we find ourselves in conflict with the reality we see around us.


1 We will want to remember that the prescription for Christian living that Paul sends to Titus was written two thousand years ago when the treatment of women and slaves as possessions was a philosophy woven through the thinking of their times.  Slaves were seen as natural possessions of their masters; women were subject to the men in their lives.  For more on slavery and Paul, see the Philemon – The Challenge  and the Titus – Church as Community pages on this blog.

A re-post from February 6, 2012.

Image from: http://travel.ninemsn.com.au/world/655272/off-the-beach-in-crete

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012 – Titus 3 – Prepare

El Greco: The Apostle Paul

El Greco: The Apostle Paul

This brief letter has something to say to us about forming community.  Today we reflect on its third and last chapter.  Titus was an assistant to Paul mentioned in some of his other letters and also in Acts.  He began a Christian community on the island of Crete, and Paul counsels him about how he might advise these early Christians to live among deceivers and heretics . . . these are words we might use today.

Be under the control of magistrates and authorities . . . be obedient . . . open to every good enterprise . . . slander no one . . . be peaceable, considerate, exercising all graciousness toward everyone. 

Paul reminds Titus and us that we have all been foolish, disobedient, deluded, slaves to various desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful ourselves and hating one another.  No one but a saint escapes the downside of humanity.

The upside, the good news is that the Christ has come to walk among us . . . to be one of us . . . to take on our burdens which overwhelm us . . . because he is goodness and mercy in their most perfect form.

What are we to do to reach for such heights?  Avoid foolish arguments, genealogies, rivalries and quarrels about the law . . . After a first and second warning, break off contact with a heretic.  We are to devote ourselves to good works to supply urgent needs. 

The message is clear.  While we strive to follow Christ we cannot expect perfection in or of ourselves.  This perfection can be obtained only in and through Christ . . . because of God’s mercy and compassion and love for each of us.

In this Advent season, when the child comes to live among us . . . we might pause to consider our arguments and our foolish enterprises.  Now is the time to cast off anything which does not lead us to Christ.  It is the time to devote to good works that address urgent needs when all else fails us.  Now is the time to prepare.

Written on December 18, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

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