Reflections on Sacred Scripture

by Cyndi Cain

Putting on the mantle of virtue

"Put on therefore, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, patience...whatever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."

Colossians 3: 12, 17

       Saint Paul's Letter to the Colossians, the second reading for this past Thanksgiving Mass, is one worthy of our attention throughout our lives, whether young or old, whether it be Thanksgiving or any other day of the year.

      The Epistle of Paul to the Colossians: (3:12-17) is the perfect designer outfit for all who proclaim Christ as Lord, God and Savior, the Only-Begotten Son of God.

      Forget todayís fashion statements, designers, those of the past, those yet to come. If we put on the design created for us by God, then we would have no fear of, nor danger from, immoral fashions at any stage of our lives; in this epistle Paul tells us, as he told the Colossians to "clothe yourselves with heartfelt mercy, with kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another; forgive whatever grievances you have against one another. Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you. Over all these virtues put on love, which binds the rest together and makes them perfect." He goes on, a little later, to state: "In wisdom made perfect, instruct and admonish one another."

      Oh, if we could see how off the mark we are in our lives, for we are not clothed in this manner and do not consider it very important. What Paul speaks of in the beginning of this epistle are the Eight Beatitudes, the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, the Two Great Commandments. This is how we are to be clothed, and all of the above are wrapped up in love. Not human love, mind you. Divine love, which is God, comes from Him, and abides in us.

      Look again at the line "In wisdom made perfect admonish one another." Ah! Wisdom, the pearl of great price. Wisdom made perfect! Do we make it perfect by exercising our supposed wisdom? Or, does God perfect Wisdom, which is His to give, by the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit day in, day out, one moment at a time.

      You see, were we all to clothe ourselves in Christís design, as explained by Paul, then Wisdom would be the thread that held our clothing together, and this Wisdom would continue to be perfected, strengthened by the Holy Spiritís action upon us, so that never would we seek to be judgmental, uncharitable, or the like. In turn, were any of us to be admonished in the manner described by Christ, explained by Paul, we would not turn a deaf ear, nor would we turn defensive. Rather, we would humbly seek to amend our fault, so that our garments were always in compliance with Christís Light, Way, Truth, Love and Mercy.

      Weíve just completed the national holiday we call Thanksgiving. Now, we turn toward Advent. What better way to thank God and to prepare for the coming feast of Christís Birth, then by putting on the garments that God wishes to clothe us in, to perfect us in them, so as to bring forth His light in us to all whom we meet.

      Then there would be peace - His peace. Then there would be unity - His unity. Then we would have Heaven on earth!

November 1997