A reading from the beginning of the first Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy 1:1-2,12-14
Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, to Timothy, my true child in faith: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry. I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief. Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
REFLECTION: "I have been mercifully treated"
One nice thing about getting old is that we have the opportunity to see our lives through many stages. We can be wise, prescient, perceptive, and farsighted as our years of experience give us an understanding beyond that of youth. An elderly person can give you so much advice and guidance because they have been through it, lived their bad decisions, and can pass on their knowledge. Surround yourself with a seasoned prayer warrior and you will learn how to pray better and to see how good God is.
The Bible has many stories --biography after biography. We know the thoughts of men and women and what they did and how God responded. St Paul, in his letter to Timothy, reminds Timothy that he had been a blaspheming arrogant man; he persecuted the Jews and yet God chose him for his ministry. He gave him abundant and unconditional graces. Timothy was to persevere in their mission.
If we all look back in our lives, we can see the hand of God. Were we once angry, lazy, or prideful? Were we aimless and lost? Spiritual growth can be gradual and sometimes we don't see it till we look back. St Paul had the time to reminisce on all that God had rewarded. We too have pasts that had we not had a forgiving and loving God, we too would have been lost. Always thank God for these undeserved gifts and patiently wait for more and more of His work in us. One day we can say to our grandchildren, "I have been mercifully treated."