"I ask for the grace to pray and meditate faithfully. I ask for patience, tolerance, empathy, compassion, and gentleness. I ask to abstain from anger, anxiety, arrogance, compulsive behaviour, cynicism, discouragement, and self-importance. I ask to know and follow Jesus more closely, seeking justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly."
2You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. 3All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else.
1) "...children of wrath;" "...you were dead;" "...the course of this world;" "...those who are disobedient;" "...the passions of our flesh;" "...the desires of flesh and senses;" "...like every one else."
2) actually, today, to be "like everyone else" means to be numb, asleep, striving for what media and advertising campaigns tell us to want. It's sad that "flesh" has become identified with "sex" in so much of the tradition. I don't see that in Paul at all. "Flesh" means without consideration, compulsive, autonomic, mindlessness. Suddenly, the passage comes alive and I can see myself in it. Even when I think I am fully awake, I am still asleep, still acting and reacting following the course of this world. More concerned for myself that for my neighbour or the whole. Compulsively reacting to situations out of long engrained habit rather than considering my responses. Thinking first how someone has slighted me in their thoughts or words, rather than wondering what their needs are. Judging others by their actions while expecting others to judge me by my intent. Children of wrath. We are given the option freely to be in the world otherwise. I wrestle with the notion of "obedience/disobedience." But it requires a conscious discipline to change long engrained habits, obedience to a different way of being.
3) What is the invitation in all this? Paul, "Paul" is speaking in the past tense... "Once..." like the 12 Steps... The change has already taken place. Live into the change.
"Holy One, help me follow your course."