“I am pleased to rest in your heart and nothing will stop me from granting you graces.” The greatness of God floods my soul, and I drown in Him, I lose myself in Him, I am melting away in Him…
Diary of St. Faustina, par. 1136
What’s wrong with Paul? He seems to be out of sync with the others, today. Isaiah has a joyful message from God: “Lo, I will spread prosperity over Jerusalem like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent.” Jesus sends out 72 missionaries and they return rejoicing over the works they accomplished in His name. In the Psalm we declare, Shout joyfully to God, all the earth, sing praise to the glory of his name; proclaim his glorious praise. Today’s readings are filled with rejoicing, exultation, peace and joy, all except St. Paul who tells the Galatians, and us, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” It’s a dismal thought, indeed. What’s wrong with him?
One can only wonder and marvel at the revelations that Paul must have received during his encounter with Christ while on the road to Damascus and later has he spent time in blindness. He seems to bear a vision and understanding of Christ’s teachings that are beyond anyone else’s when he explains, for neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision, but only a new creation. Paul understands this “new creation” as Christ’s gift to each of us through the sacramental life of the Church. Our own actions, words and chants—the works of human minds—are, as they have always been, without power. They are mere human inventions. Of singular importance is the presence of Christ in our lives, which we receive through the graces of the Sacraments. He is no longer dead. He has risen. He is alive. He is with us. He is especially with St. Paul who now bears the marks of Christ’s crucifixion, the Stigmata. The Grace of the Sacraments is the “overflowing torrent” Isaiah promises. That is what Paul understands and that is why we can “cry out to God with Joy.“