St Paul sets out the cutting edge of Christian faith. Those who follow Jesus are not free to do as we please. We are to test our lives against the truth – “for we cannot do anything against the truth”. And there are leaders such as Paul who have been given authority over us “for building up and not for tearing down”.
This runs counter to the dominant permissive culture we live in – one that emphasises personal freedoms at the expense of the welfare of the community. Many people live to a common creed is “If it feels good, then do it!” This is life without restraints; life that does not ask “what is right” ; life that no longer lives “only for the truth”.
We can be different. I recommend the Jesuit spiritual practice calls of a daily examen: this is a moment at the end of each day when we examine our day with the intention of living better the next day. This builds on the instruction of St Paul to “examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith (2 Cor 13:5).
Why not try this tonight: (This is a version of the five-step Daily Examen that St. Ignatius practiced.+
1. Become aware of God’s presence.
2. Review the day with gratitude.
3. Pay attention to your emotions.
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
5. Look toward tomorrow.
For details about each step of the Examen, read How Can I Pray?
Fourth Sunday after Trinity35 The Cost of Servanthood
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 219.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.