…persevere in prayer.
Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Romans touches on nearly every theme of the Christian life. Today’s passage from Romans proclaims the mystery of the Church as Christ’s Body. The diversity of the Church’s members serves her unity. The Church’s diversity is willed by God for the sake of her unity, to foster that unity.
From this consideration of the Church as one body with many members, St. Paul moves to a rapid-fire consideration of many virtues that mark the Christian life.
Many of the virtues that ought to mark a Christian’s life come through simple fidelity to one’s calling from the Lord. Yet we know that each person is called in many different ways. Whether one reflects on a calling that takes the form of a vocation such as marriage or consecrated life, or a more specific and perhaps temporary calling based upon work, such as teaching or works of mercy, these varied callings are “near occasions of grace”, so to speak. They all and always find their proper measure within the setting of the Church.
Other virtues that ought to mark a Christian’s life come from struggles and challenges common to all Christians. Many of these struggles are due to sin. St. Paul addresses these also in today’s First Reading. “Endure in affliction.” “Persevere in prayer.” “Bless those who persecute you.” Through these common challenges, we are called to have compassion on our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to recognize our common struggles as sinners: children of Adam and Eve. Thanks be to God for the New Adam, Jesus Christ, into whose life He calls us.