Raised to be a reader, I have always loved learning about the meaning behind words. I am fascinated by them. As a little girl I would dream up and write these imaginative (sometimes crazy!) short stories, many of which I'm certain are still stored in my parents' basement.
As I read the words of Saint Paul, the word abundance keeps jumping off the page to me. What does it mean in our normal, hum-drum life to live abundantly? Or, as Saint Paul says, "in every circumstance and in all things"? (Philippians 4:12). Is that even possible?!
I think he would tell us that yes, it is. Saint Paul is a man who knew great suffering. He experienced imprisonment, ship wrecks, attempts on his life, and physical hardship. Amid it all, Saint Paul learned the secret of living in abundance even when life felt completely depleted and hopeless. He lived with an overflowing fullness of who Jesus Christ was.
Saint Paul personally knew who Jesus was to him, and that was where his strength came from, strength to face or endure anything. That is the secret to living abundantly.
When we know who Jesus is, that knowledge gives us strength and courage to face and endure whatever may come. Jesus is a faithful God who sees and knows us so intimately. He has not forgotten or overlooked us. He will not abandon us, and yes, He somehow always uses things to work for our good. Saint Paul, I believe, knew this to the depths of his core.
Ask the Holy Spirit today, "Am I living abundantly? In every circumstance and in all things?" And if not, "In what are the areas of my life can I change that?"
Patty Breen is a full-time lay minister who finds joy in running, strong cups of coffee, and all things Ignatian spirituality. A Midwest gal from the mitten state, she is constantly learning to find grace in all things. She is passionate about ministry to divorced Catholic and women whose relationships have been impacted by sexual addiction. Find out more about her here.