Friday, May 22, 2009 – Galatians – Magnanimity
This letter addresses the concern that the young flowering church established by Christ was running the risk that accompanies all new endeavors: Before traditions fully grow to embody the original concept of the structure, the possibility of mutation and malformation is present. Paul reminds us that we are adopted by God, that we are sisters and brothers with Christ, before God.
From the MAGNIFICAT evening reflection: As we give thanks for the great work of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and rejoice at his ascension into glory at God’s right h and, let us look forward to the fulfillment of his promise not to leave his people orphans but to send the gift of the Holy Spirit, for he is compassion and love.
This is the sentiment that Paul tries to drive home in his brief letter to the people of Galatia: They – we – have not been left orphans.
Monsignor Romano Guardini (theologian and writer of the last century) is cited in today’s MAGNIFICAT Meditation of the Day, and he addresses the goodness of God’s heart when facing all that is wrong with the world. Your heart is great . . . But God is still greater. The heart that has been lost is great. But God is greater. The heaviness of the heart to which wrong has been done is so great that it must sink. God is the sea of greatness where everything heavy is made light. The wrong that has been done to life is great. God is the creator, and God is life and grace. He is greater than everything . . . [H]e himself, his magnanimity, his creative love, is greater than all this wrong. John [in his Gospel] does not say, “Cheer up, it isn’t so bad after all”. He does not say, “Don’t take life so seriously”. God says, “Give these things their full weight. Then I will come to you. I am God”. And when he comes, the creature will become clear to itself. Its self-importance will be dissolved, and everything will be fulfilled.
Paul reminds us that life will cause suffering, but that this suffering ought not be born alone. We are to take this suffering to God . . . for his goodness is so great that he can handle all the wrong of the world.
God is the creator, and God is life and grace. He is greater than everything . . . [H]e himself, his magnanimity, his creative love, is greater than all this wrong.La Biblia de Américareminds us that this letter is one of the most direct, most personal and most impassioned of Paul’s epistles. It was written as the small, young community began to take steps toward a fullness in Christ, and Paul was encouraging them to listen to the Spirit in order to pass through their crisis. The reality of this letter however, goes beyond the local effect it must had upon the Galatians. It put into play the essence and future of Christianity. For us today it stresses the importance of fidelity to the Gospel story that God has come to walk among us . . . and that we are the adopted sisters and brothers of this God.
And so we pray:
When the world and all its woe presses upon us, when the world and all that is good about it seems overshadowed by all that is wrong, when we are overwhelmed by the enormity of the work and the paucity of our energy . . . let us fall back into God’s heart, God’s magnanimity, God’s goodness. God is greater than all of us. God encompasses all that is good. God and this goodness are greater than all the evil of the world. God is greater than the darkness. God is greater than any sin we might commit either singly or collectively. God is greater than all. Let us rest in this mighty and awesome and great magnanimity.
Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Evening.” MAGNIFICAT. 22.5 (2009): 310-312. Print.
Guarnini, Romano. “Meditation of the Day: Grief Become Joy.” MAGNIFICAT. 22.5 (2009): 309. Print.
LA BIBLIA DE LA AMÉRICA. 8th. Madrid: La Casa de la Biblia, 1994. Print.
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