Thursday, December 8, 2011

Called to be Saints

New Testament Challenge – Day 24
Romans 1-8

We are all called to be Saints according to today’s reading from Romans. I thought I would spend a few moments attempting to figure out what that really means because I often hear, “I’m not a saint Father…” normally just before someone justifies their unchristian behavior. But I would suggest that person has the incorrect understanding of what it means to “be” a saint.

I begin with the words “saint” also called holy since the word in Greek is the same – αγιος agios – which epistemologically is α –γι or not – earthly. Therefore the term saint means nothing more than “one who is dedicated to something other than the earth, or in this case God. So in fact we ARE all called to be saints in that we are called to live dedicated to God rather than the earth.

Saint Paul offers wonderful insight into the battle which we find ourselves engaged between doing what God desires (and we too should desire) and what the flesh desires.

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (Romans 7.15-23)

This imagery definitely speaks to the violence and suffering and pain that we experience when we try to do what God desires for us to do. But is also explains what it means when we hear that Christians must suffer.

It isn’t as thought God MAKES us suffer. Rather we are at war between internally trying to do the will of God while trying to subdue our flesh.

And this is what I means to be called to be a saint.

What about “Saints”? Those with the capital “S” have been identified by the Church as worthy examples of those who have fought the good fight and are now resting with God. We are called to be them too….but that comes later….much later.

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