I mechanically looked up the first reading for today's mass, 1 Cor. 1:26-31, and read the following verses:
Not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, ...
so that no human being might boast before God.
It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who became for us wisdom from God, ...
Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.
Then I saw this footnote for the final verse: "'Boasting about oneself' is a Pauline expression for the radical sin, the claim to autonomy on the part of a creature, the illusion that we live and are saved by our own resources. 'Boasting in the Lord,' on the other hand, is the acknowledgement that we live only from God and for God."
Hunched over in my chair at the time, I was very receptive to the contrast between "the illusion that we live and are saved by our own resources" and the acknowledgement that "we live only from God and for God." The point was being driven home to me in a painful way through the piercing pain in my spine: "my" prayer is not ultimately my own, but is from the Holy Spirit who prays in me.
|After the earthquake|
I sat down intending to just go through the motions of praying this morning. That was my plan. It was, apparently, not the one the Lord had in mind for me.