Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” ~ Albert Einstein
“O stupid Galatians!“ these are the words that kick off the 3rd Chapter of Saint Paul’s Letter to the Galatians and our 1st Reading today (Galatians 3:1-5). As the old expression goes, Paul is about as subtle as the air in a pet shop. “Who has bewitched you?”he demands to know. “Before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?” He goes on to pose a very interesting rhetorical question, one which all of us must ask ourselves. “After beginning with the spirit, are you now ending with the flesh?” Now although Paul asks this question in the context of faith versus “works of the law,” as I read it I can’t help but reflect upon the enormous numbers of Baptized Catholics who have abandoned their faith, a topic I touched briefly upon in the latter stages of last Sunday’s Essay https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Back-to-the-Vineyard.
Fact is, as long as there is even one fallen away Catholic, the Mystical Body of Christ https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Mystici-Corporis-Christi-Revisited that Paul speaks of in Romans (12:5), Corinthians (12:12–27), Ephesians (3:6 & 5:23) and Colossians (1:18 & 1:24) is simply incomplete. We must seek to begin with the Spirit, and end with the Spirit if we are to achieve eternal life. We must encourage others to do the same, taking a page from Saint Francis of Assisi, who implores us to “preach the Gospel at all times....when necessary, use words.”
The name calling didn’t stop with our 1st Reading. In todays Gospel (Luke 11:5-13), Jesus, in an effort to emphasize and put into perspective that which is virtually perspective-proof, God’s unending love for us, asks his disciples “If you then, who arewicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
We’ve chronicled the Gifts of the Holy Spirit at great length, gifts such as wisdom https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Wisdom-with-a-Capital-W, fortitude https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Profiles-in-Fortitude, knowledge https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/More-Knowledge-Less-Outrage and understanding https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/The-Treasure-of-an-Understanding-Heart. The other three are counsel, piety and fear of the Lord. As Catholic Author John T. Stobb points out, “God gives us the ability to be Jesus' hands and feet on the Earth through the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.” These are the gifts that our Lord loves to lavish upon us. These are the gifts he speaks of in today’s passage when he says to his disciples “And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.“ (11:9).
Pray with great ardor and perseverance for these gifts of the Spirit, both for you and everyone you encounter. Do so and you will be considered prudent, wise and prescient. And far from stupid.