Friday, November 20, 2009

Philemon Passages

I read Philemon today and found some beautiful passages I enjoyed alot.

"I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother... I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do your duty, yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love—and I, Paul, do this as an old man, and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus. I am appealing to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become ...I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you...I preferred to do nothing without your consent, in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced. Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back for ever, no longer as a slave but as more than a slave, a beloved brother... Refresh my heart in Christ."

I love the language St. Paul uses. He says he has become this slaves father, and that he is sending his own heart back. It is a beautiful picture of the divine love God has for us runaways of his, the slaves to righteousness (rom.6) who have fled God our master, only to realize that God's love is everywhere, as difficult to escape as the hound of heaven.

On a less emotional, more theological note, I'd like to point out "in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced". This implies that even if it was forced, it would still be a good deed. Meaning teleological/Aristotelian/Thomistic ethics are vindicated here.

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