ST. PAUL'S PASTORAL "STYLE"
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God…” (Rom 15: 13-15)
As those of us on the Older Calendar approach the great feast of Sts. Peter and Paul (coming up this Sunday for OC-people), I’d like to take pause and reflect on St. Paul’s admonishing-yet-encouraging pastoral “style.” The great Apostle to the Gentiles does admonish his people, writing “more boldly” to them “on some points”; but he also takes the time to praise and encourage them, saying, “Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.”
Whenever I need to “admonish” (myself or someone else), let me do so in the apostolic Spirit, of “the God of hope,” Who nudges us forward, rather than beating us down, by His kind of “admonishments.” As the Apostle Paul shows us here, we are to note the “goodness,” “knowledge,” and “abilities” already abounding in us, and build those up and encourage them, even as we’re addressing “some points” in need of correction/improvement. Thank you, St. Paul, for your confidence in us. “Now may the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit,” and by the prayers of the Holy Apostles. Amen!