The Jubilee Year of St. Paul

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Only yesterday did I emerge from my haze long enough to discover that Pope Benedict had declared for us a Jubilee year in honor of St. Paul. I wondered how I might go about making the Jubilee something significant for me and for the community at large.

I have to be honest, coming out of a fundamentalist background, St. Paul was never very high on my list of all-time favorite people. But, I discovered as I grew in my Catholic Faith, part of the reason for that was the way that he was selectively interpreted and sometimes misunderstood. As I came to read his letters for myself with a slowly growing Catholic insight into the meanings, I came to understand him more accurately if still not truly "liking" him.

St. Paul is credited with "inventing" Christianity. I don't think that it was ever part of his purpose to do so; however, it was obviously part of God's plan for him that he should provide some of the foundational truths that would support the fledgling faith when it had been ousted from the synagogues.

I hesitate now, because the enormity of what I would like to do falls about me--but I think I would like to walk through the Letters of St. Paul in the course of the year. Given my own way, you all know which one I'd start with (or at least the three people who still read this on a regular basis do); however, I've decided to try to go through them in canonical order--and that is what causes hesitation. The first of the letters is by far the most daunting and the most fraught with peril. Calvin, Luther, and Barth all wrote enormous commentaries on the Epistle to the Romans. Indeed, it is the thought encapsulated in Luther's commentary that is a lengthy, but still compressed history of the reformation, counter-reformation, and religious strife from then until now. Calvin, of course didn't help, nor did any of the lengthy list of commenters on Romans.

However, as I have no intention of being deeply theological in my approach--wanting merely to share what is possible for an ordinary person with a few study aids--I don't think we have much concern that "Flos Carmeli's commentary on Romans" is likely to break loose with any earth-shaking truths that have not already been said, and said better by many other more capable commenters.

And so the question becomes whether or not to follow through on this venture. I ask it publicly, not so much for an answer as to offer it up to God to see what He might have to say about it. If it would serve His purposes, I would gladly do this despite my own fear of failure. It would be a marvelous way to celebrate the year.

So, we shall see. Until then. . . rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say it, rejoice. Because we can do all things through Christ who strengthens each one of us.

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I recommend that anyone who wants to learn more about St Paul take a look at this talk series from Canberra, Australia’s Archbishop Mark Coleridge “Christ Lives in Me” on St Paul at The talk series is available via digital downloads and hardcopy and is accompanied by a PDF Study Guide. Very interesting and a unique take on the great apostle!



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on July 21, 2008 8:16 AM.

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