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Holy Discontentment

Lent 2023

Read Romans 9:1–13

1 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. Romans 9:2

It is easy to be amazed at the life of St. Paul. He had a courageous, even fearless dedication to the Gospel no matter what the cost. As we learn in 2 Corinthians, Paul was nearly beaten to death, stoned, shipwrecked, adrift at sea, and at times cold, hungry and homeless. Yet it was not a difficult life that caused him sorrow and anguish. It was that his own people turned away from God. That broke his heart. He spent his life in a holy discontentment for all those around him who were far from God.

Are you in anguish for anyone close to you? I often wonder if our busyness keeps our hearts from breaking as Paul’s did. Let’s remember that we are God’s elect, saved by Christ and given the mission to go out and tell of the love that changed everything for us. In love, be like Paul this Lent.


Lord Jesus, by your blood, we became God’s children. Give us the courage of Paul to tell of your love to those near us. Amen.

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