Galatians 2:1-2, 7-14
During this Jubilee year of St. Paul the Apostle, his letter to the Galatians gives us insight into Paul’s character. Paul was a courageous man who lived without compromise. In the Acts of the Apostles Chapter 24 we see Paul held by the governor Felix in Caesarea Maritima. Paul was held there for some two long years. Felix was waiting for a bribe, but Paul would have none of it. He would rather suffer the horrors of a prison cell than compromise his values. In fact, when he spoke to the hedonistic governor, he spoke of "self-control," something Felix needed, but the last topic that would have led to Paul’s freedom. Paul’s character shines again in today’s reading when he confronted the pillar and rock of the Church, Peter. Ever the champion of our freedom in Christ, he confronted Peter about his hypocrisy. Paul’s courage impelled him to speak nothing but the truth to political leaders as well as popes. Where did Paul get this audacity?
"Teach us to pray," we hear the disciples ask Jesus in the Gospel. I have been studying the prayers of Paul the apostle in his many epistles for some talks I am presently giving. I call Paul’s prayers "wisdom" prayers. Rather than praying for release from suffering, he prays to grow in character from his trials. He never asks to be delivered, but rather to be rooted in God’s love. Yes, we need to be "taught" how to pray "according to God’s will." It is the Spirit who helps us in our weakness.
Paul’s courage, character and non-compromising virtues were developed. Through prayer he saw God at work for good in all situations. We too can have the courage to be forthright, courageous and self-controlled as we discover who God is and ultimately who we can be through prayer.
Fr. Cedric Pisegna, C.P. is a missionary preacher, author of 12 books and creator of the TV program Live with Passion! airing in many cities. You can learn more about his ministry at: http://www.frcedric.org/