Monday, June 8, 2015

Grace and Peace

Today we begin our reading of the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians. He opens by wishing them two things: grace (charis) and peace (eirene). These are the two states in which we as Christains are called to live constantly.

To keep us in a state of grace he has given us the sacraments, especially Eucharist and Penance. But how do we remain in a state of peace?

Here the challenge is greater. We allow things and people around us to pull us out of our state of peace. We replay past conflict. We worry over the future. Despite what the gospels tell us, we fear that somehow our own sinfulness and imperfection will make God love us less.

For this reason St. Paul follows up his greetings with two fold description of God. God is

  • The Father of mercies
  • The God of all comfort
The world St. Paul uses for comfort paracleseos come from the same root as the title used for the Holy Spirit (the Paraclete). It comes from the verb "to call to one's side". God calls us to his side, and remains by our side. And he remains by our side as the Father of mercies, like the Father in the prodigal son.

I find it interesting that St. Paul uses the word mercy in the plural. God is not the father of mercy but the Father of mercies. No matter how many sins we have, his mercies are even more.

The source of our peace is not found in the approbation of others or the lack of conflict with others but in this certain knowledge.

I stand constantly in the shadow of God who constantly pours his grace and his mercies into my heart.

Perhaps we need to repeat this over and over and drill it into our heads and hearts.

Mercy, comfort, grace, and peace

This is the God of Christianity