Praying with Saint Paul
Edited by Fr Peter John Cameron OP, Magnificat, 384pp, £10
Fr Cameron has written a most personal, heartfelt foreword to this collection of short essays on St Paul. While studying for the priesthood he realised that “this was a man I needed to get to know better”. Indeed, he admits, “I wanted to be like him who was so much like Christ.”
We can all echo that. For me, it was the power of St Paul’s prose that attracted, even before I thought about its content. Who can read the lines “Now I see through a glass darkly …” without wanting to come “face to face” with their author and learn more?
In this collection it is hard to single out particular reflections. I could easily bookmark every page. But the American scholar and academic Anthony Esolen writes insightfully about the “conversion” of Ebenezer Scrooge from Dickens’s Christmas Carol, arguing that he has not just become more generous but that “he has passed … to the realm of grace.”
Fr Richard Veras does the same in his response to the well-known lines: “We know that all things work for good for those who love God.”
St Paul’s paradoxical statement that “The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom” evokes a thoughtful essay from Fr Joseph Koterski SJ which resoundingly rebuts “the Nietzsches of this world” (Nietzsche thought Christianity was a religion for slaves). And, in response to the mysterious words “To the weak I became weak … I have become all things to all [men] to save at least some”, Fr Raymond J de Souza teases out their deeper implications for all Christians: “Pretending to be someone we are not is a trick that will eventually be exposed. Becoming more like Christ is not a trick, but rather a witness.”
A last example: “For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish.” Fr Harry Cronin CSC relates this to St Paul’s realisation of his past life, now seen in the light of Christ. If you want to know St Paul better, do read this book.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.