September 12, 2017
It is he whom we proclaim,
admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
For this I labor and struggle,
in accord with the exercise of his power working within me.
Dear fellow pilgrims,
The above quote is an excerpt from today's first reading. I greet you after feeling the sting and awkwardness of being admonished, and rightly so. I deserved to be admonished, to be made aware of my own wrongdoing, and especially so, because this is an area where I have been resisting to be taught. In my own resistance, however, I have developed an area full of contention, hard to access and change, impossible to correct and perfect.
Paul, here, in the first portion of Colossians, talks about the need to suffer for the sanctification of the Church, but also the need to admonish and teach. Living in communities like Frassati, and those of our immediate household as well, are places where we both suffer with and for others, but also, where we admonish and are admonished. And these things are laborious and full of struggle, on both sides of the coin. It is difficult to admonish rightly and out of love, and it is difficult to receive the admonishment and change your course out of love. But, I think it is telling that Paul notes that the labor and struggle are in proportion to the "exercise of his power working" within him, which is to say that the more of Christ's power within us, the more strength we have to labor and struggle over the challenge of living with others with the main goal of their sanctification.
Living the goal of true community, to present each other as perfect to the Lord, in Frassati will bring out these moments for admonishing one another, calling each other on to greater holiness and likeness to Christ. Thankfully, we all have this same goal.
But tonight, instead of talking about how to rightfully admonish, I will merely offer a prayer that we (and ahem, me right now) would learn to be faithfully admonished rather than admonish others. Keeping this attitude makes it less likely that a "plank of wood in the eye vs. speck of dust in the eye" situation will happen.
Jesus, ever humble Lord,
You conceded to the greatest humiliation
So that we would learn the depths of your love.
Help us, then, to remove all obstacles within us
that keep this love from sinking deeper.
Break down our pride and give us self-knowledge and humility,
And build us back up with your mercy and unending grace.
May our hearts be faithful to the change you desire in them,
For You do not rest until we rest in Thee.
Please give us the hope and strength to change our habits
Until they all draw us closer to You.
Praised be to Jesus Christ, the great Teacher