the echo of St. Paul’s lament

August 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

Saint Paul Writing His Epistles, 16th century ...

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At the time of writing, my heart is heavy. It is heavy because I am keenly aware of my failings, of not having done all the good things I set out to do.

I have not kept my house tidy, as I resolve to do during my free days. I do not visit my grandparents because it is always too hot. I do not support emotionally my aunt who is sick. I have not replied to my lonely friend to Vancouver though I feel sad for him quite frequently.

At first when I sensed this heaviness, I hardly knew why. I guessed it was something to do with having to do readings which I dreaded badly. And I still think it’s part of the reason. But as I picked up my journal and was writing halfway, it came to me. I was upset and deeply regretful that I had been pulled into doing nothing when I wanted to do so many good things. Particularly, I was upset that I hadn’t spend enough time with the grandparents because when I went there today for Mama’s birthday I sensed that they missed me.

St Paul writes,

“So I find that this law is at work: when I want to do what is good, what is evil is the only choice I have. My inner being delights in the law of God. But I see a different law at work in my body– a law that fights against the law which my mind approves of. It makes me a prisoner to the law of sin which is at work in my body. What an unhappy man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is taking me to death?” (Romans 7:21-24)

I think I could have written that too, since it’s exactly how I feel. But I do not think I would have continued as St. Paul did with

“Thanks be to God, who does this through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (Romans 7:25)

This is why Paul is recognised as a saint and I am not.  Because if I wrote that, I would have probably ended that with something closer to ‘Life sucks’.

As I read the bible and some of the verses surrounding that part (I didn’t start off with reading that part though, but with a random flip of page to Romans 4), I think that that God is calling me to have


After all the very first thing I read was

“When God promised Abraham and his descendents that the world would belong to him, he did so, not because Abraham obeyed the Law, but because he believed and was accepted as righteous by God. For if what God promises is to be given to those who obey the Law, then faith means nothing and God’s promise is worthless.” (Romans 4:13- 15)

The second thing that spoke out to me was (brackets mine),

“everyone has sinned and is far away from God’s saving presence (at which point I think that this describes me) But by the free gift of God’s grace all are put right with Him through Christ Jesus who sets them free. God offered him, so that by his blood he should become the means by which peoples’ sins are forgiven through their faith in him.” (Romans 3:23-26)

I am feeling more cheerful now. The bible does comfort doesn’t it? As St. Augustine writes, it is through the sacred books that God comes and speaks with His children.



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