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Be Clothed in the Beauty of Holiness! A Meditation on the Virtues in Colossians 3

December 30, 2013

123013-PopeIn yesterday’s blog post, (which was actually a written version of my Sunday sermon), I mentioned that it might make sense for us to look more deeply at some of the virtues In the Letter to the Colossians which ought to be cultivated by a Christian, especially in the family setting.

The third chapter of The Letter to the Colossians, while speaking in a general way about vices to be avoided and virtues to be cultivated, has a particular family focus since it builds to its conclusion about wives being submitted, husbands loving their wives, and children obeying their parents. Because of this, I use Colossians 3 as a central text in marriage preparation.

For the sake of brevity in this post, we are going to focus on versus 12 to 17 which emphasizes the virtues to cultivate. The other verses (1-11 and 17ff) contain wonderful information as well, and ought to be dealt with it another time.

As is often the case, when we look at the words and details in Scripture, it is helpful to look to the Greek text which gives a richer sense of what these virtues really summon us to.

Here then is the text for our reflection, and then a kind of line by line commentary:

Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col 3:12-17)

Note that the text begins with a kind of general declaration of our identity. The simple word “Therefore” articulates the teaching that what we should do, flows from who and what we are;  agens sequitur esse (action follows being). And thus, all the virtues which follow should flow from the fact that we are God’s “chosen ones,” that we are “holy” and “beloved.”

These are not just titles, they are manifest  realities that flow from our reception of the sacraments and inclusion into Christ as members of this Body. These are virtues that are available to us as a direct result of our union with Christ, “therefore” we ought to lay hold of them and love out of them.

The text says that we are chosen. And while being chosen is a deeply mysterious reality for which we can only be grateful, it also means that having been chosen, we are thereby equipped, empowered and enabled to live the virtues that will follow if we will but lay hold of them through the power of God’s grace which owes us.

The text also says that we are holy. To be “holy,” means to be set apart, to be special, to be uncommon. In no way is it acceptable for us to live ordinary lives, or to presume that mediocrity is an acceptable stance for us. No! We have been chosen by God to be set apart. We ought to exhibit outstanding virtue and, as Scripture says elsewhere:  shine like lights, blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine like stars (Phil 2:15). Jesus also summons us to be salt and light (cf. Matt 5). And thus, these opening lines set a kind of foundation that is necessary for all that follows later.

The text then says regarding these virtues that we should clothe ourselves in them. The image here is essentially that of a garment. In many places, Scripture speaks of our life and virtue in terms of a garment.  We are told elsewhere that we are clothe ourselves in Christ, and that we are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ make no provision for the desires of the flesh (Rom 13:14).  Jesus tells the parable about a wedding feast and of a man who came into the wedding feast not clothed in a wedding garment. He was thrown into the outer darkness on account of that because the garment is righteousness (cf Matt 22:1-13).

The book of Revelation speaks of this garment as being given by God to those who are his holy ones (Rev 6:11). The garment we are to put on then is a kind of wedding garment, a garment provided by God, a garment of righteousness (Rev 19:8).  We are to adore the Lord in holy attire, be clothed in Christ and in the beauty of holiness.

Having received this garment, then let us look now at the list of virtues that follow and that we are to be clothed in by God’s grace.

1. heartfelt compassion – The Greek text is a bit more earthy and explicit rendering it: σπλάγχνα οἰκτιρμοῦ (splanchna  oiktirmou) meaning most literally a”gut-level compassion.”

For the ancients things were shifted down a bit. The heart was the place of though and deliberation. The “gut” or viscera was the place of feelings. And what we call the brain today and see as the seat of thought, the ancients speculated as having the purpose of cooling the blood. We still maintain some ancient expressions when we talk of a “gut reaction” or of having butterflies in our stomach.

So, splágxnon  (heartfelt) refers literally to the inward or visceral parts (stomach, liver, bowels, etc.), and figuratively to the emotions. And thus note that these are “deep” feelings, not just passing or surface feelings. Thus  the insight here is the capacity to feel deep emotions, to have sympathy, empathy, etc.

And oiktirmós (compassion) – refers to deep feelings about someone’s difficulty or misfortune. But note that the prefix “oik” is likely related to oikos, meaning “house” in Greek. Thus this locates the virtue of compassion to the family or household especially.

Thus the virtue to be cultivated here is a deep, tender, family-like mercy or compassion for others, especially in their misfortunes of struggles. It is to have the kind of mercy that usually is directed to a brother or sister, child, or parent. It is the tender compassion that befits the family.

 2. Kindness – This is an often misunderstood virtue and tends in our culture to be seen merely as being nice or pleasant. But kindness here is understood in a far more active sense.

The Greek word is χρηστότητα (chrestoteta) And though kindness is a good translation, it speaks more to having a disposition that is well suited, useful, or profitable in a given situation.  Chrestotes means that something is “well-fitting” or something that is really needed.

Thus kindness refers to more than being nice or pleasant. It refers to meeting real needs. St. Paul lists Kindness (chrēstótēs) as a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). Jesus uses this word to describe his yoke as being easy, i.e. “well-fitting”.

Kindness here is to be understood as the Spirit-produced goodness which meets given needs in a suitable way and avoids human harshness.

3. Humility – Here too, humility is often misunderstood today to merely mean having a lowly estimation of oneself. But true humility is reverence for the truth of oneself.

The Greek word is ταπεινοφροσύνην (tapeinophrosynen) derived from tapeinós meaning “low, humble” and phrḗn, meaning a “moderation” that is regulated by a proper and inner perspective. And thus humility is the virtue that helps us moderate having too high an opinion of ourselves but does not mean we have no sense at all of our gifts or that we deny or hide them.

Scripturally  the “lowliness” is not an artificial or merely negative self assessment that ignores our gifts and talents. Rather, it comes from comparing ourselves to the Lord rather than to others. This brings sense of self into alignment with the proper standard. Before God who can boast?  And thus this virtue is to keep one from being self-exalting, self-determining, self-inflated. For the believer, humility also means to  live in complete dependence on the Lord and to realize whatever good we have is a gift that we ought to be grateful for rather that glorify ourselves in.

4. Gentleness – Here too gentleness is often misunderstood to describe a person who is always mild mannered and seldom animated. But here again the virtue described is one that moderates strength and anger but does not destroy them.

The Greek word is πραΰτητα (prauteta) and is relates to the term praótēs, meaning “meekness.” Aristotle defined meekness or gentleness (praotes) and the proper mean or middle between too much anger and not enough anger.There are times when some anger is appropriate and it would actually be wrong to show no anger.

Thus gentleness or meekness refers to one who has authority over their anger and is able to moderate its use. Some one has defined meekness as “gentle strength” since it  expresses power with reserve and gentleness.

So gentleness is a virtue that moderates our use of anger and channels it to good ends when we do have recourse to it. It is the perfect virtue for a parent who needs to discipline a child using some degree of anger to frame the seriousness of a matter but not so much anger as to be counter-productive. It is a virtue that helps steer a middle course regarding anger that avoids excess or defect.

5. Patience – Patience is the capacity or willingness to suffer on account of others, often over a long period of time.

The Greek word is μακροθυμίαν (makrothumian) – from makrós, meaning “long” and thymós, meaning “passion” .

Thus the virtue described here is “long-suffering”, the capacity of waiting sufficient time before expressing anger or other premature use of force.

Here is a virtue that embraces a steadfastness and staying-power. In our families, it is often necessary to stay in the conversation a long time before we see results. Parents need to see beyond the moment to the longer perspective. Spouses need to realize that change in the other spouse may take a long time, much prayer and on-going help. In a divorce, cut and run culture, here is a virtue that helps us stay and strive to work out our differences.

6. Bear with each other – Here is a realated virtue that helps us stay in the conversation even when progress is slow.

The Greek word is ἀνεχόμενοι (anechomenoi)  from aná, meaning “up or through (as in seeing something “through” or completing a process”) and echō, “to (still) have”) –

Thus the virtue of bearing with others describes “still putting up” even after going through a sequence or course of action that has yet to produce all the desired results. It is  to forbear;  to endure, to persist.

Here too we can see how crucial this virtue to endure even when change seems slow or unlikely.

7.  forgive one another, if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.- Here is another essential virtue, but one that causes a lot of fear and consternation in people. Many people think that to forgive is either to pretend something did not happen or say the there should be no consequences for wrong doing. Neither notions are necessarily contained in the concept.

The Greek word is  χαριζόμενοι  (charizomenoi) from cháris, meaning “grace, or favor” – and menoi – meaning to extend or grant. Thus the Greek word means to freely show favor, or extend mercy or kindness.

To forgive is to receive the grace from God to no longer be vengefully angry and seek retribution. It is the grace to let go of our anger and need to hurt or shun those who have harmed us. It does not mean that we can live in peace with everyone, especially when the one who has done the harm shows little capacity or willingness to change. Sometimes the best we can do is to extend the grace of indicating we are no longer filled with venom and a desire to seek vengeance over what happened.

Through forgiveness we let go of the need to change the past and surrender the illusion and vengeance will make everything alright. The degree to which we can resume a normal relationship with others will vary based on circumstances. But forgiveness helps us bury the hatchet wherein crime brings crime forever.

As we can see, according to the text, our capacity to forgive others is directly related to how deeply we grasp the enormous mercy that has been extended to us. Too many people today have little knowledge or appreciation of the incredible degree to which they have been forgiven. And thus they are little equipped to forgive others. Too many are “unbroken” in their spiritual walk and manifest more as pharisees than forgiven and grateful disciples.

8. Put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – The concept of love (agape) “binding” and “perfecting” and “unifying” the other virtues speaks to the way love manifests a kind of maturity in the Christian life and crowns the other virtues. The journey to Love requires that the Lord remove a lot of sin and selfishness from us, which the other virtues assist with. Having done this he is able to give us the capacity to actually love other people with tender affection and loyalty. Believe it or not God can actually give us the power to love other people, even our enemy, and those who trouble us. This is not just a slogan, it is a virtue and a reality for those are purified by God’s grace and brought to the increasing perfection of greater maturity .

The phrase “bond of perfection” is instructive. The Greek text is  σύνδεσμος τῆς τελειότητος (syndesmos tes teleiotetos) – sýndesmos is from sýn, meaning “close identity with” and déō, meaning “to bind” So, “bond” here means a close identity which produces close harmony between those joined. And thus we are taught that love has close identity with all the other virtues and in a sense cannot be separated from them. And the relation between love and other virtue is two-way, for love supports, perfects and infuses them, and they also help clear the way for love.

And, as for perfection, the Greek word teleiótēs refers to the perfection of  completion. It refers to something that has reached perfection in a  cumulative sense, something that has reached perfection by attaining to its telos or “proper end.”

9. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. The concept of peace ruling in our hearts is a fascinating one in the Greek text.

First of all the notion of “peace” is rather abstract and incomplete in English where it is more of an absence of conflict than a truly positive and rich reality.

But the Greek word for peace is  εἰρήνη (eirene) from eirō, meaning “to join, tie together into a whole” And thus “peace” is the experience of being made whole, as when all essential parts are joined together.  peace is God’s gift of wholeness, of being complete. It is to be integrated and is a far more beautiful gift than simply not being at war with others or arguing with people.

And the concept of peace ruling in our hearts is even more interesting in the Greek which literally speaks of peace being a βραβεύω brabeuó meaning  “to act as an umpire” And thus peace in this sense arbitrate, or makes the call” in a conflict between contending forces” whether with us or outside us.

And thus, when we are whole, complete and serene because what is essential is up and running, this wholeness and completeness “calls the shots” so that we do not overreact in error and become too vexed at what is often not real or accurate in our perception.

As members of the Body of Christ we are called to receive this gift of peace, this wholeness, this completeness. And when we receive it we become a real blessing to our family and others!

10. And be thankful – Gratitude is one of the most essential virtues to cultivate. It is a discipline of the mind and heart wherein we remember, we have present to our mind and heart what God has done for us so that we are moved, we are grateful, we are different. A grateful person is a joyful and serene person and it is pretty difficult for for a deeply grateful person to be grouchy, stingy, unkind or unmerciful. Gratitude is a wonderfully transformative grace and virtue!

The Greek word is εὐχάριστος (eucharistos) – from eú, meaning “welland charízomai meaning to grant freely”.

In other words, by this grace and virtue we are well able to appreciate that all is gift, and that God has been so very good to us and has done so “freely” not because we earned or deserved it, but just because he is good, provident and loving.

11. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts –

The notion of allowing the word of Christ dwell in us also involves a “household” word in the Greek, which is  ἐνοικείτω (enoikeito) and once again we see the root word “oikos” which means “house” or “home” Thus the text directs us to make a home for the word of the Lord in our mind and heart. The word of the Lord cannot be a mere thing about which we are only vaguely aware. It is to dwell in us richly, abundently, and habitually. It is to have a home in us, an abiding presence.

And having cultivated this for ourselves we are able to teach others, especially the young. The Greek word here is  διδάσκοντες (didaskontes) which means teaching, or more literally “to cause to learn.” But the sort of teaching implied here in this word is discursive teaching which involves an on-going teaching, through the use of discussion or discourse. The Greek word here is also a participle and thereby includes the notion of an on-going action: “teaching one another.” One gets the image that the faithful are expected always to be discussing God’s word and always teaching and learning of it.

The text also speaks of admonishing. In English we hear the notion of “warning” in this word. But more literally, the Greek word νουθετοῦντες (nouthetountes) means to place the mind (from noús, “mind” and títhēmi, “to place”). The word contains the idea of  appealing  to the mind by supplying doctrinal and spiritual substance or content which exerts positive pressure on someone’s logic  or reasoning. Thus perhaps “urging” is another way to translate this word.

The Christian home must be a place where the faith is learned and taught! Parents absolutely must read Bible stories to their children. The faith must be learned, discussed and handed on. This task cannot simply relegate to Sunday School or the Sunday pulpit. Every parent and elder in the home should immerse themselves in God’s teaching so as to teach it, urge it and deeply root it in the heart and mind of other family members, especially Children.

Psalms hymns and inspired songs are often a way to put the word more deeply in our minds. Music can often reach the depths of the soul in ways that the spoken word alone cannot. I am deeply aware of this as a preacher who also has a great choir. It is often the choir which impactfully “brings the message home” on a given Sunday.

 12. do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus – The expression, “In the Name of Jesus” is more than a slogan or a way to end a prayer. To do something in the name of Jesus means that we are doing it in accord with his will. If I were to say to my congregation, “In the name of the Bishop, I hereby declare that Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation” I better have checked that out with the Bishop and make sure that it what he thinks and has decided.

Therefore this final admonition is a call for us to be deeply immersed in the actual will of Jesus through the study of his Word, his Church’s teaching and through prayer.

If every family member will do this, innumerable arguments and power struggles can be avoided since we are all on the same page, and of the same mind and heart.

OK, so this has been a workout! But there is here a rich tapestry of virtues to cultivate both for us as individuals and for our family life.

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  1. Susan says:

    Thank you, Monsignor. This is excellent!

  2. edraCruz says:

    Thank you for the post on your reflection of St. Paul’s epistle to the Collosians. Truly enlightening. My struggle though is that, yes, I forgave those who have offended me, I even offer my sorrows and sufferings for them for their redemption. Kindness, I treat them. But whenever I see them the first thing that comes to my mind is the negative things they have done to me though it does not let me treat them unkindly. Why cannot I forget? I know GOD is Mercy, for HIS Mercy on me I always meditate and share with others. Can you help me on what scripture to meditate that will free my mind from such negative thoughts? GOD Bless you, Monsi. Shalom Aleichem!

    • Sue Korlan says:

      Try praying, “Dear Lord Jesus, what they did was completely wrong. Please don’t hold it against them and give me the grace not to hold it against them either.”

    • RichardGTC says:

      I’m like that too.

  3. edraCruz says:

    Could you direct me too on what spiritual exercises like that of Ignatius de Loyola I can practice so I can focus on the positive not on the negative sides of my fellow men? Thank you in advance, Monsignor.

    • Gosh, maybe a reader can help. I’m not an expert on the exercises. I’m a Carmelite at heart.

    • anna lisa says:

      What you said above was so beautiful–that you you offer the pain they inflicted upon you for the conversion and healing of their souls.

      This must be why Jesus appeared to the apostles in the upper room with his wounds still on his body. There is profound beauty when vicious wounds are transformed into wounds of love. If there was no residual pain in our interior wounds, they would cease to have such power of expiation.

      In heaven there will be *no struggle*. We will be able to look upon those that harmed us with a profound understanding of their incredible value, beauty, and worth–it will be so *easy* to feel love for them.

      Our struggle is not only pleasing to God–it is our daily gift to Him. The recognition of our faults as we struggle to overcome our pride and anger is a fragrant offering to Him. He could, after all, show us the truth, which would put a sudden halt to our struggle.

      There is a beautiful story of St. Catherine of Sienna. She attended to a woman who was dying and who had treated her horribly in life. When the woman finally died after a long and agonizing illness, God allowed St. Catherine to see her soul. At first Catherine was confused, because the woman’s soul was so terrifyingly beautiful, she thought she was gazing upon God himself.

      A book that continues to help me, with my struggle to come to terms with all the imperfections I see in myself is called “Interior Freedom” by Jaques Phillipe.

      • edraCruz says:

        Thank you and GOD Bless you. I will try to secure the writings of Jacques Phillipe.

  4. NinaBG says:

    Oh, I just love it when someone takes the time to explain things so well! Thank you for this!!!! May each step you take to and from His altar bring you closer to God and to His people you serve.

  5. RichardGTC says:

    I when I was younger, I knew this young woman who greatly wanted to learn the French language. She thought that people must say wonderful and beautiful things in the French language. So, she studied French and went and spent a year or a summer in France. She told me that what she learned is that people say the same thing in French as they do in English, just in a different language. That made sense to me.

    I saw documentary about Vatican II. Concerning the language of the Mass, this guy claimed that it broke down along these lines: those who had studied five or more years of Latin wanted to keep the Mass in Latin. Those who hadn’t done so wanted the Mass prayed in the vernacular. That is what I recall from the documentary. That made sense to me.

    There is this Polish priest I listen to who every now and then seems to claim that the English language just isn’t sufficient to fully express meaning. If that is what he is claiming, I don’t agree with him. That doesn’t make sense to me.

    Every now and then, I come across this sort of implied claim that one needs to know biblical Greek or both biblical Greek and Hebrew to understand the bible.–and I am not the only one who has noted this. I think that is really a form of gnosticism, if I understand the word. Am accusing you of that, Monsignor, with your turning to the Greek in this piece? No. I think you are just showing off.

    And I agree that it is important for parents to read bible stories to their children.

    • Nasty, and I would also add anti-intellectual. The Greek is the inspired text and Both Greek and Latin contain many nuances that are not available in other languages including English. I authentically feel very enlightened and excited to read the Greek text. Your attempt to read my heart, demeanor or intentions is both flawed and uncalled for. I wish I knew Hebrew as well.

      • Tailler Heuws says:

        I’m definitely on the side of Fr. Pope. Understanding the Greek and Hebrew are essential for those who yearn to fully understand Divine Revelation in both the literal and spiritual senses. To call this blog gnostic is like calling the authors of the Gospel gnostic: the argument is completely without merit.

        • RichardGTC says:

          Tailer, I specifically said that Monsignor Pope was engaging in the what I would say is akin to gnosticism. All I said is that he was showing off.–which isn’t a sin, or vulgar, or anti-Catholic. Your description of my argument is completely without merit.

          • Tailler Heuws says:

            RichardGTC – Sir, I am bringing to your attention that your positions seem to me, based upon my education, knowledge and some personal wisdom, to be subjectively and rashly negative and accusatory – in summary – rash judgments. Whether one states “akin” or “like” or “the same,” the result is the same. You are bringing doubt where there should not be doubt in this situation.

            Fr. Pope is teaching and encouraging here, and should we not be grateful instead to learn what he has to teach us? Would it not bring one greater hope if one understood the original languages in which we find the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to be written?

            And how many priests actually provide or are capable of providing such a service? We should be grateful, not accusatory and doubting. St. Thomas the Apostle doubted, so we understand how even a man chosen of God can doubt at times. But read the original Greek and Hebrew, and believe even more and with greater confidence than before! As Jesus the Lord said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” [John 20:27].

            Learning the Greek and Hebrew is like touching the Wounds of Christ that one may not be faithless. So, penetrate deeper into the Mystery of the Word made Flesh and seek healing there.

      • RichardGTC says:

        I intended no nastiness. I would like to know both Greek and Hebrew, though I know neither. People can both show off and be informative at the same time. Showing off isn’t a sin. People need to show off some. So, whether you were or weren’t showing off at all, there was nothing nasty about my remark, as showing off is normal human behavior.

        You have as less basis for saying that my comment was ‘nasty’ as I do for saying that you were ‘showing off’.

        Anti-intellectual? Now that is a much more interesting description of my comment. I thought of that myself after I posted the comment and remembered the anti-Catholic “Know-Nothings” of old.–what little I ever learned of them. I freely admit that one can benefit from learning the languages of the bible. There is a spectrum: at one end is the idea that that one must learn every language and translate everything oneself, and at the other end is the idea that every translation is the same, each as good as the other. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

        • Your remark was nasty

        • Faustina says:

          Asserting that someone is showing off is implying a selfish motive. I believe, after reading practically all of Msgr Pope’s blog posts, that he is merely attempting to help us to be more Christ-like. Personally speaking, I need all the help I can get. Thank you, Msgr Pope.

          • Thanks.. I appreciate your encouragement here.

          • Thomas Gallagher says:

            Showing off is “normal” behavior? To exonerate oneself for having made nasty remarks by twisting the truth in this way seems almost as nasty as the original nastiness. Let me add my voice of support for you, Monsignor Pope. Your blogs are absolutely wonderful. They always give us something to think about. They’re deep, they’re full of good theology, they’re a call to deeper discipleship. One day the Lord will say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Wouldn’t it be a delight, a pure delight, to hear Him say it to you in Greek?

          • one anonymous says:

            Please! It seems here all this (what seems like bickering even if it isn’t) is contrary to the whole teaching we are trying to contemplate and emulate. I am certainly not perfect and many would say I have no “place” to say this, but I just had to bring up the glaring contradiction here as we are, after all, trying to study “the text for our reflection”…

            (Col 3:12-17)Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

  6. Elisabeth Oldaker says:

    I disagree with Richard GTC that you are showing off–no, you are enlightening. Your discussion which includes the Greek & Latin is a delight! We would definitely miss those nuances with only an English translation. In college I took a course in the Old Testament & was amused to learn that the original Hebrew could be somewhat vulgar–perhaps not now, but this was 30 years ago. The more we learn, the more we can savor the scriptural material.

  7. Jimbo says:

    I am a Reader at my parish and try my best to understand the reading prior to getting up at the ambo to read it, particularly St. Paul, because the punctuation and the pauses make all the difference to the listener. If I don’t know what it means, it’s hard to read it right. Then the congregation sits there, maybe, thinking, huh?

    Last Saturday, as I was going over this, I actually wondered to myself about the meaning of some of these words in English. So I was so struck by the usefulness of this article!

    For instance, the difference between “admonish” and “to place” or “urging” is huge! Using just English, one gets the impression of a wagging finger, “hey you, you’d better watch out”, but when you read it through the Greek it strikes me as more gentle. One is called upon to pursuade our brothers and sisters not knock them, over the head, it seems.

    Anyway, your piece answered several questions that I had. Now I am only left to wonder about the Greek for “subordinate” and “submission”.

    Meanwhile, this letter is stunningly deep! What if we all only did exactly what St. Paul tells us right here? Wow, can you imagine?

    Oh and sorry, one last: is the love referred to here “agape” in Greek? If so, then St. Paul is calling us to wrap ourselves in love reserved for God alone? I would have thought he was referring to some other type of love for each other….while we are being forgiving, patient, etc.

    Thanks so much, Msgr., for your amazing work!! I beg you to please keep doing it the way you are; it has been so helpful to me!

    God bless you!
    J

  8. Elisabeth Oldaker says:

    Msgr., I looked at your bio & found it wanting. I couldn’t access it after: “experience as a church musician. He attended Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary and was ordained in 1989. A pastor since […] Read the rest of this entry »

    Nothing happens after “Read the rest of this entry.” Nor will any questions be answered–an error message pops up. Help!

  9. jennyroca says:

    “…..wives being submitted, husbands loving their wives, and children obeying their parents..”

    Would it be helpful to switch the words : wives and husbands ?

    We may see an increase in marriage , if husbands become submissive to their wives..
    And 1 in 3 children fatherless…that may decrease also………

  10. Christy says:

    I hardly leave remarks, but i did some searching and wound up here Be Clothed in the Beauty of Holiness!
    A Meditation on the Virtues in Colossians 3