Monday, February 10, 2014

Deeper Virtue

About five new inches of light fluffy snow fell yesterday afternoon.  When I went out to walk this morning this was what greeted me.  The county plow had not been through, but several vehicles had left their tracks.  I walked in the untouched snow on the side, kicking up the cold clouds.
The Gospel passage for this coming Sunday (Matthew 5:17-37) has never been a favorite of mine, so I was surprised that praying over it this morning was a very fruitful experience.  Jesus is encouraging his followers to go deeper or to get to the root of specific commandments.  Of the many translations of verse 20 that I checked the one I liked best is in the original Jerusalem Bible: "Unless your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."
I was reminded that all the goodness in me comes, not from obeying commandments, but from God living in me and sharing with me God's own goodness.  The root of murder is anger, Jesus is saying, and the root of adultery is lust, and the root of taking oaths is lying.  So the corresponding virtues would be patience, purity, and honesty.   God within us shares these virtues with us and helps us  to become even more patient, pure and honest.  It is Divine Goodness Who deepens our virtue.

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