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Romans 1:9-12
Friday, December 16 2011

Encouragement...

No one is meant to make their spiritual journey alone:

"God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in proclaiming the gospel of his Son, that I remember you constantly, always asking in my prayers that somehow by God's will I may at last find my way clear to come to you. For I long to see you, that I may share with you some spiritual gift so that you may be strengthened, that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by one another's faith, yours and mine." -Romans 1:9-12, NAB

Truly, the people of Rome had a special place in Paul's heart.  He desperately wanted to find his way back to Rome to continue spreading the Gospel there.  At first, he states that he wants to help strengthen them through a spiritual gift, but then he corrects himself.  Instead of him solely bringing something beneficial to them, Paul realizes that their relationship was something that they both benefited from.

What we find in today's verse is the concept of fellowship within the Church.  When we gather together, we not only receive blessings, but we give blessings to others as well.  Together as a group, we can do great things in each other's spiritual lives.  We may go to Church on Sundays to be fed, but sometimes, we end up doing the feeding for someone else.

Our faith is not something that should exist inside of a vacuum.  We cannot simply bottle our faith up inside; we must allow it grow through openly sharing our faith in fellowship with other Catholics and Christians.  On our own, we may be able to develop a strong relationship with Christ, deeper theological knowledge, and a solid prayer life, but it is fellowship with others that truly takes our faith to another level.  Beyond simply having faith, we begin living our faith.

This Sunday, change your old habits.  Do not just come to Mass and duck out right after Communion.  Stay awhile and get to know your fellow parishioners.  Make Sunday Mass more than an obligation - make it a social event!  From personal experience, I can assure you that my faith may have been strong on its own, but it still had its weak points.  Luckily, our fellow Catholics and Christians help me shore up those weak points and make my faith stronger than it could ever be without the love and encouragement from our brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

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