Reflecting on the Epistle of the Joy of the Lord IV

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Philippians 1:9

9: And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,

Paul prays for the people of Philippi and, one assumes, in his place before the Lord for us as well. And the prayer--that our love may abound. With that abounding love, he asks as well a gift that is often given, less often unwrapped, and still less often actually used. He asks for knowledge and discernment. Now, a great many of us, myself among them, think we know a great deal more than we actually do. We credit ourselves with great learning. What those of us proud of our intellectual prowess seldom realize is that we know everything in the world about what does not matter and astonishingly little about "the one thing necessary." The gift that Paul asks for us is knowledge of the Lord and that knowledge is a deep understanding--an intimate view of Love. Thus knowledge deepens our own love, and knowledge otherwise directed, while always fruitful, is not at its most fruitful. What Paul prays for us is the most fruitful gift of knowledge.

This knowledge ends in discernment--because love, and particularly Love Incarnate, is the ultimate discernment. If there is any gift less used than knowledge, it must be the gift of discernment. I seem to be constitutionally incapable of choosing the greatest good. I can choose greater goods, but my will is weak, and I don't seem to be able to choose the very greatest Good, the one Good.

Discernment is sorely needed as we pass into the season of lies and counterlies, of half-truths, and of subtle traps (pun intended) that seek to persuade us to vote one way or another. But discernment is sorely needed for everyday activities. The art and grace of listening to the Lord is something that Christians have too long neglected, relying instead upon their own devices. Discernment is a faculty of the intellect inspired by grace and led by the Holy Spirit, but the intellect must be ready to be led, or discernment cannot occur. And discernment, valuing the greater good in its proper measure and thus choosing the greater good, is something whereby the entire community of God profits.

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Excellent point! Perhaps it is because we get ourselves comfy being Catholic/religious on the outside and forget that the goal is complete conversion, transformation to our core, and thus, union with God.

How much time do we spend in His presence? With our mouths shut? And ears open? Not enough, I'm afraid.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 17, 2004 12:20 PM.

Prayer Requests--17 September 2004 was the previous entry in this blog.

Prayer Requests--20 September 2004 is the next entry in this blog.

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