Donning Spiritual Armour

One of the great joys of studying and working at the Faculty of Theology is the opportunity to share our faith, whether it’s during our weekly liturgies, class discussions, impromptu chats springing up in the student lounge or at one of our social events.

As part of our collective Lenten journey, we are sharing seasonal reflections written by students and Faculty as a way to include the broader community in the life of the Faculty.

The reflection for the Second Sunday of Lent is written by Patricia Dal Ben, who is preparing to write her thesis for her Master of Theological Studies degree. She is a religious education and faith development consultant with the Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board. She lives in Toronto with her family.

Readings for the Second Sunday of Lent:
Genesis 12.1-4
Psalm 33.4-5, 18-9, 20+22
2 Timothy 1.8b-10
Matthe 17.1-9

Suffering: not something we in the 21st century seek out.  In fact, we do all we can to avoid it —  medication, exercise, prayer, etc.  We are often too afraid to climb the mountain of pain and suffering, so euthanasia becomes appealing and right and just.  What is awe-inspiring is that St. Paul threw himself at the suffering.  He walked for days and endured the common experience of travel in the first century and was robbed, beaten and imprisoned. It was a dangerous and difficult process to preach and build community in the first century and yet he lived and wrote with such conviction and passion and love; all this to tell of the Good News.

And we bemoan and begrudge our giving up chocolate or coffee or chips for Lent.  It seems almost preposterous to juxtapose such a faith in this time and place, and yet this is exactly what we are being called to do.  Jesus didn’t ask for the faithful to be lukewarm in their mission. Not in the first century or any subsequent century.  St. Paul was unashamed to suffer for the Gospel. He was assured the future glory was at hand and he could still rejoice in the midst of his present sufferings and tribulations.  That is faith!  He was a soldier of Jesus Christ awaiting the imminent Parousia, but he didn’t complain of the long hours or the horrible working conditions or the lack of respect he got.  He, “relying on the power of God” welcomed people to suffer with him. Put on your armour, there is work to be done!

Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, 9who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. ~2 Timothy 1.8b-10