This is a blog that I post to several times a week although not necessarily daily. These reflections are triggered by the scripture found in the lectionary used by many Christian denominations. While I am part of the Catholic tradition, these posts are not --or rarely--sectarian. I try to put myself in the space of a of Jesus Christ and listen to words that come to me as I read and pray the scriptures. Each post also includes a photograph. These rarely have any connection to the content of the post but are simply pleasing images that I capture as I make my pilgrimage through life.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The fundamental choice: Life in the flesh or life in the spirit.

U. S. Capitol
"It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on." Galatians 5:18-21  Translation from The Message.
Paul is trying his best to tell the Christians in Galatia that there are two roads for their lives.  One way is to remain in the flesh, i.e., to remain in all the inclinations, passions, addictions that revolve around oneself.  The other way, the way of Christ, is to be open to the work of the spirit of God in us and seek a life organized around justice and love.  That is a fairly abstract statement and the typical bible translation uses words and phrase that seem foreign and remote to us, at least to me.

The translation of The Message, on the other hand, tries to uses words and constructions that are more idiomatic to 21st Century English-speaking people.  That rephrased list above is powerful.  It shows what a life would look like if we gave full reign to our individual self interest and discounted the lives and desires of others.  It is not pretty.   Even though I struggle with all those inclinations and urges, I can honestly say that I do not really want to live a life described above.

Left to my own devices, however, I think I tend to drift in that direction.  The other path of the spirit is truly the one I desire but it requires focus and commitment and not just a one-time commitment but one that I have to renew every morning as I begin my day.  Whatever are the failings of the past, I can start each day with the intention to walk the path of justice and love and to allow the Divine One to work in and through as far as I am able.

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