Paul's Life-Changing Teachings: Weekly Summary — Center for Action and Contemplation

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Paul’s Life-Changing Teachings: Weekly Summary

Paul’s Life-Changing Teachings

Summary: Sunday, April 19-Friday, April 24, 2015

In a most succinct and perfect summary, Paul says that you should “Pray with gratitude, and the peace of God which is beyond all knowledge, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). (Sunday)

The brilliant Anglican theologian, N. T. Wright, believes the great and supreme idea of Paul is that the new temple of God is the human person. (Monday)

Paul brings a deep new sense of the inherent dignity of every human person. (Tuesday)

Paul understands that Jesus left us his Indwelling Spirit as a permanent, strengthening gift—a source for a true inner knowledge, which becomes a calm inner authority, whereby we know spiritual things for ourselves (see 1 Corinthians 2:1-16). (Wednesday)

All religion, if it matures, will move the soul from the performance principle (any form of meritocracy) to the pure realm of grace. (Thursday)

Jesus becomes for Paul the standing image of “Everyman” who both reveals and identifies with humanity in all its stages, and even reveals the trajectory of all history—at its beginning, at its lowest points, and at its fulfilled end. (Friday)


Practice: Visualizing the Pattern of Reality

Using Friday’s meditation as a guide explore what each of these points on the map mean to you, in your own personal journey. You might create a collage (cutting and pasting pictures from magazines), draw, paint, or journal this map. Gather all the materials you’ll need and give yourself an hour or two to fully enter this practice in silence and solitude.

Follow the spiral in six key experiences or realizations: from conception, to growth through suffering, to a big fall or crisis where Someone held you, to a small death to self, and finally to resurrection into fuller life. At each point along the journey, listen and look for the ways in which God was revealing God’s presence and participation. Represent these moments in pictures, symbols, colors, or a few words.

This is just a snapshot of your life so far; the pattern will continue to unfold, ever wider and deeper, until the final return to home, the source of all life and love. You may choose to repeat this practice at regular intervals, perhaps every five or ten years, as a way of remembering and giving gratitude for the ways in which you’ve been led.

Gateway to Silence:
I am the temple of God.

For Further Study:
Jesus as Liberator/Paul as Liberator (MP3 download)
Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi
Great Themes of Paul: Life as Participation (CD)

Image Credit: Grotto in Ephesus, Turkey adorned with a Byzantine fresco of Paul and Thecla (c. 6th century).
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