Dear St. Martin’s Parishioners,
St. Paul reminds us, “You are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.” How do we appropriate the grace of a new life in the Spirit, passing from sin to holiness, from death to life in Christ? I’ll let the renowned spiritual author, Fr. Jacques Philippe, be the guide for this one.
The process by which someone accesses his or her profound identity, a true self-knowledge of his or her mission and the grace that goes with it, is far from being a tranquil, linear process of progressively acquiring qualities, competences, and so on. It is often paradoxical, in the logic of the gospel: one must be lost be found. There will be many trials, failures, humiliations, painful austerities, and even lamentable falls (as happened with St. Peter). It is a way that throws light on the poverty and radical helplessness that is our lot. This is necessary so that the artificial and willful part of our identity, composed of presumptions, illusions, narcissism, and egocentric quests that reside in all of us, is radically eliminated. The superficial “me” must die so that one’s true identity is revealed. Paradoxically, it is in accepting one’s poverty that we discover the marvel that we are in the eyes of God. But we must go through deep levels of misery to discover the holy and intact kernel of our personality, which is no other than God’s singular love for us and the singular love that, out of pure grace, he gives us the possibility of sharing (Fire and Light, 90).