Saturday, November 06, 2010

Getting ready to fly (again)

I'm almost packed and my talks are almost finished (sort of). But I couldn't let today's readings go without a comment! Besides, the liturgy responded so well to my needs at this point, it practically held a megaphone to my ears. And on top of that, the priest used the prayers in honor of Mary, "Mother of Divine Providence." Which just about sums it all up.
Paul is thanking his beloved Philippians for the supply package (and helper!) they sent. (If you were in a Roman prison, food was not included with accommodations!) But Paul says that he is happier for the Philippians' sake than for his own. As for himself, he has learned "the secret": it is that  Jesus is really all he needs.
So you don't see Paul worrying about himself. He does worry, but it's "anxiety for the Churches" and for his "children." In his own regard, Paul fully lives the attitude Jesus enjoined on us in the Sermon on the Mount: "Do not worry about food or clothing; Your Father in heaven knows all you need. Seek first his kingdom and righteousness, and all the rest will be given you in addition."
This is the very passage our Founder used as the basis of a very substantial prayer that he composed in about 1919. I think it is significant that our Founder used a very Pauline term for the prayer: he called it the "Secret of Success." It is the same secret Paul shared with the Philippians. And just as Paul is certain that his own deepest needs will be amply met by God's generosity--right up to the greatest, most foundational need ("the surpassing good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord"), Paul assures the Philippians (and, today, me), "My God will fully supply your needs, in accord with his great generosity in Christ Jesus."
It's not a secret; it's a promise!

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