May 22, 2021

St. Paul uses the psychological “I” a lot in his writings.  He has classic lines like, “I have been crucified with Christ” (Gal 2:20) and “I have fought the good fight” (2 Tim 4:7) and “I can do all things through Christ” (Phil 4:13).  In an age when people generally recognize the problem of having a “big ego” (literally “I”), but don’t seem to know what to do about it, or simply try to annihilate it or avoid it, it is refreshing to hear how Paul strives to align his “I” with Christ.  Indeed, Paul spent three years in Arabia (Gal 3:17-18) after his powerful encounter with the risen Christ (Acts 9:3-6) so that he could be purged of all of his negative emotions, false perceptions and sensory attachments, with a new “I” emerging out of this milieu as a more authentic expression of his humanity.  Paul invites us to undertake this same kind of psychological journey of conversion that puts a positive spin on the “I,” so that with David we might proclaim, “O God, you are my God, for you I long” (Ps 63:1); with Mary, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord” (Lk 1:38); with Magdalene, “I have seen the LORD!” (Jn 20:18); with Christ, “I thirst” (Jn 19:28); and with the Church, “I believe.”  Ave Crux, Spes Unica.

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