Memorial of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest

To read some spiritual writers of recent decades, you might get the impression that the keeping of the commandments is an entry-level affair, as if it is a concern primarily of children and of recent converts, but that after some time and some maturing as a Christian, the focus is put on loftier things, like relationships, prayer techniques, and theological concepts.  It is not that these authors will come right out and say that God’s commandments are irrelevant, but that they have a consistent tendency to direct their readers’ attention elsewhere.

St. Paul was not such a writer.  Again and again, he pounds away at the importance of God’s commands.  He “charges” his readers (Cf. 1 Tim 6:13) to keep God’s commandment “without stain or reproach.” Again and again, he calls upon God as his witness, and he calls upon Jesus Christ as his witness, as he imposes the obligation of obeying God’s commandments all of the time, avoiding even the appearance of an infraction.

His point is not that we should have an obsessive mania over our sins, but that we engage in a responsible and whole-hearted process of overcoming them, with the help of God’s grace.  This is why St. Ignatius, in his spiritual exercises, so strongly encourages a regular examination of conscience.

September 23rd, 2017