The Church thinks that St. Paul is the saint for everyone. If you doubt that this is true, think about this: almost every Sunday of the year, the entire Church listens to a reading from one of the Letters of St. Paul. Perhaps we don’t always think about this, since all of the letters in the New Testament are identified by their authors’ names except for those written by St. Paul. He wrote so many that they are, instead, identified by his audience’s name. Maybe that makes us wonder, what do we have in common with the Philippians or the people who lived in Galatia two thousand years ago?
As followers of Christ, we have a lot in common with the people of the first century and of every century since. St. Paul’s spirituality is present in every spirituality in the Church that has developed through the centuries: To live Christ (cf. Gal. 2:20). This sentiment is expressed in many different ways, but the core remains the same: that we live in Christ, through Christ, with Christ.
- Rejoice in the Lord always! (Phil. 4:4)
- [God] chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love (Eph. 1:4).
- I can do all things through him who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13).
- We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose (Rom 8:28).
- Christ Jesus has made me his own (Phil. 3:12).
- If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything eles? (Rom. 8:31-32)
- I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I live now in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Gal. 2:19-20).
- Love is patient; love is kind…. Love never ends (1 Cor. 13: 4-8).
June is the month that we Paulines dedicate specifically to St. Paul. Blessed James Alberione, the Founder of the Pauline Family who recommended St. Paul as our patron and father, gives us many good reasons why devotion to St. Paul can help us. This is just one that I found this morning:
St. Paul entered so deeply into the spirit, the love, and the doctrine of the Divine Master that…he is recognized as his most faithful disciple and most authoritative interpreter.
I think the reason why St. Paul is taken for granted is that his spirituality is so foundational to our lives as followers of Christ. Would you agree? Do you have a favorite quotation from St. Paul, or a favorite letter?