“Love is repaid by love alone.” ~ Saint Teresa of Avila
Today we move from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, having read a short verse from the 5th Chapter yesterday https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/On-Licentiousness-and-Life-in-the-Spirit, to the beginning of his Letter to the Ephesians (1:1-10). It is here that we will stay, with but one or two exceptions, for the remainder of the month of October. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians was one of his “prison letters,” this we know by virtue of the fact that he will make reference to his imprisonment in the passage that will be proclaimed eight days from now (Ephesians 4:1-6). This was not Paul’s only visit to the Graybar Hotel. He states that he has “suffered, even to the point of being chained like a criminal,” in his 2nd Letter to Timothy with his martyrdom firmly at hand https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/The-Unchained-Word-of-God. There would be other prison stints for Paul, most notably in Philippi and Rome, which were to be expected in accordance with the fulfillment of Scripture (John 13:16).
The 4th largest city in the Holy Roman Empire with an estimated population of 200,000 citizens, Ephesus was the capital of Asia and it’s boundaries were generally considered by historians to have synched up with what is now modern day Western Turkey. Paul would spend 3 years here, by far his longest residency. Will he engage in name calling as he did with the people of Galatia https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Who-You-Callin-Stupid ? Well, you’ll have to stay tuned to find out.
“In Christ we have redemption by his Blood,” Paul proclaims in this introductory passage, “the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us.” Paul knew that Jesus saved the world not through his stories, or his miracles, or even his teachings, but through his suffering. Throughout time, many historians have been tempted or even inclined to view Jesus’ Crucifixion simply through the lens of history; just another man dying a brutal death on a cross, as many did during Pontus Pilate’s reign. But it’s not.
Through Jesus, we are being made holy by the Holy One Himself. We are in fact becoming saints (small “s” saints but saints nonetheless). Through perseverance in prayer, putting off the things of this world and acquiring good and holy friends, we move ~ day by day ~ closer to our eternal destiny.
“We can only learn to know ourselves and do what we can - namely, surrender our will and fulfill God's will in us.“ These were the words of the great Saint Teresa of Avila, whose Memorial we celebrate today. “God dwells within you,” she would often proclaim, “and there you should dwell with him.”
In these days of fear, uncertainty, divisiveness and discord, may we all take a moment to reflect upon whether or not we are living in a manner worthy of the call that we received (Ephesians 4:1). Saint Paul suggests the virtues of humility, gentleness, patience, and an ardent desire for unity of the spirit through the bond of peace. “One body and one spirit,” as Saint Paul urges the Ephesians.
One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.