Today, I took the opportunity while sitting in a waiting room to catch up on a few articles and back episodes of Catholic Answers Live. During the discourse of a particular answer, the guest of the day quoted a verse from Scripture that struck me so firmly that I paused the audio and did some additional reading before continuing.
And I live, now not I; but Christ liveth in me. And that I live now in the flesh: I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered himself for me. —Galatians 2:20 (Douay-Rheims Bible)
Saint Paul writes this particular chapter of Galatians to recount a disagreement with Saint Peter. The chapter outlines the issue: they were preaching to two groups of Gentiles (one adhering to the Mosiac Law calling for circumcision and one no longer observing this Law) and Saint Peter interacted freely with one group but withdrew from them out of fear when the other group arrived. Saint Paul spends the back half of this Chapter outlining a discussion that is somewhat contentious in Christian circles about justification by Faith or works alone.
The Catholic Church has a quite common “yes and” way of thinking on this topic… justification by Faith AND works both. More on that in a different article.
Living for Christ
What struck me about this verse is how strongly it is worded. Saint Paul says that he no longer lives as himself any longer, but Christ abides in him. The fact that Christ abides in him enables him to live truly in that gift. Saint Paul tells us, in implied fashion, that the life he led before was self-centered. Now that Christ dwells within him, Saint Paul must live in the faith and practice of the Son of God, lest he throw away the very grace of God that he was given.
To me, this reinforces how important it is to evaluate whether I am making smart choices that bring me closer to God. The temptation is there to do the easy thing, the self-centered thing, take the action that won’t ruffle feathers or offend sensibilities. Christ calls us to more than that. He calls us to live in the knowledge that He loves us and died for us. I struggle personally with advocating against “hot button” contentious topics because I know it is going to draw me in to a heated argument (sometimes with friends), and I know the Truth that Christ would have me say. Because of that I am tempted to let the argument go past, say the easy thing to preserve the friendship.
My prayer is that during this Year of Faith I will find the best way to share the Truth and let the old me that is afraid die away, and with Christ abiding in me the Truth will come out.