After having read Paul’s arguments for the law, I started singing the lyrics to the old Temptations song, “War.” Only I modified the lyrics, “Law! What is it good for, absolutely nothing!” Of course, that just means that I was following along with Paul’s train of thought, and going right where he wanted his readers/listeners to go. After all of this arguments, we are left wondering exactly the same question that Paul starts this passage with: “Why then the law?” If the promise God made to Abraham supersedes the law, then why was there ever a compendium of rules and regulations? Why were they necessary, if the way to God could be found through faith alone?
The stark contrast between my beautiful weekend and the reality of Monday morning made me aware of how easy it is to lose the peaceful nature of those moments away from routine, and I wondered how beautiful it would be to experience those moments I experienced on the retreat in the normal routine of my life. I wondered if it would be possible to live in the mindset of the retreat in every moment.
I’ve seen books that hype the new way to experience the divine, new methods for seeking God, new ways to enter into that state of bliss that helps us to commune with God.
And these books always seem to sell well. They sell well, because the old, tried and true methods for finding God have been tried, and found not to be true.
I tried to rationalize, I tried to ignore, I tried to bargain, but for some reason, God kept putting this on my heart, and I finally relented. As I gave the money to my local priest to give to the bishop, I was almost in tears, wondering how this could remotely be God’s plan, seeing as how I didn’t have the money to deal with my own bills.
The trouble with this viewpoint is that it seeks to benefit from faith without putting any work into it. It looks for safety, it looks for rescue and the salvation from eternal damnation, rather than a relationship with God. It is purely practical.