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Sometimes it happens that a passage of scripture just connects with you. On these very timely occasions a word or a verse encounters our mind like a light that gives direction to our life. It might be an instant awareness of a certain blessing or a strong, silent confidence in a fearful situation or some clarity about a particular challenge. Today’s second reading from Romans 11: 33-36 has a clause that has really connected with me over the past several years. In fact, I have at times posted the clause in a journal or notebook to remind myself and to reignite the grace given through the scriptural clause.

The sentence that I am referring to concerns St. Paul’s exhortation about not conforming ourselves to this world. He states, “be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” Several years ago I had a powerful encounter with these words.  They really lifted me out of a very earthly way of looking at my life that was beginning to weigh heavily on me.  The light from St. Paul’s exhortation to be transformed through the renewing of the mind helped me to see that I was not looking at life or myself through the right lens. I came to discover that the transformation demanded of me was to start looking at each day through the eyes of Christ. It was an exciting and liberating time for me and this clause continued to inspire and direct me for several years.

As I was reading through the Sunday readings I was happy to revisit an old friend, this living Word from St. Paul that had proved so powerful for me a few years earlier. While reflecting on it anew, I turned to the original Greek passage of this verse in which St. Paul uses the Greek word metamorphousthe, which we translate as “transformed” in the English version. If you are wondering whether the Greek word is associated with the English word metamorphosis; yes, it is. In this new reading of the clause I was inspired again by the power of the new way of thinking called for by St. Paul. 

A metamorphic change is much more than just positive thinking. Google’s first article on the word metamorphosis states, “a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.” Wow! Now that is a radical change. Actually, it is more than a radical change, as a radical change would be from the root, i.e., radix. A metamorphic change would be leaving the old “mind” behind and becoming a new “mind.”

This is how St. Paul is calling us to be renewed so as to see ourselves, others and God differently. Does it sound difficult? Impossible? For human beings, yes, but for the Holy Spirit, no. 

“Do not conform yourselves to this age but be ‘metamorphosed’ by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”

Ad majorem Dei gloriam,

Fr. John F. Jirak

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