I often think I have it tough. But, all it takes to jerk me back to reality is to read about the lives of the Apostles and the saints.
In today’s reading from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians (2 Cor 6:1-10), St. Paul gives us an idea of what life was like for the Apostles. They had to endure through “afflictions, hardships, constraints, beatings, imprisonments…”, by employing the virtues of “purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, …. love and truthful speech”.
The Apostles were treated as deceivers but yet they spoke the truth; as unrecognized and yet they were acknowledged; as sorrowful yet always rejoicing; as poor yet they enriched many; and, as having nothing yet they possessed all things.”
Paul’s letter is evidence that he and the Apostles practiced what Jesus preached in today’s Gospel (Mt 5:38-42) about retaliation. They didn’t resist being persecuted. Their mercy for others let them set aside the old law of “an eye for an eye” and let them “turn the other cheek”. And, when someone needed help, they went the extra mile.
It’s evident that, from the beginning, living the life of a Christian was a spiritual dichotomy.
I may not be persecuted like the Early Christians. But, I still experience a spiritual dichotomy in my life. Since becoming Catholic, I have found an interior peace like I never knew could exist. But, because I am called to spread to others that peace and joy found only through the love of Jesus Christ, I may never be totally at peace again. At least not in this life. And, that’s okay.
“Dear God, thank you for giving us Your Son, Jesus, to lead us to You. Thank You, Jesus, for showing us the way to the Father. And, thank You, Holy Spirit, for filling me with Your love and peace, and for the fire that has burned yet healed my soul. Through Your grace, I pray I may be an instrument for enlightening others to Your love. Amen.”
(A Spiritual Dichotomy was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)
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