Reflection & Dialogue: Fill your minds with everything that is noble.

What St Paul has to say in today’s reading from the letter to the Philippians presents abundant material for reflection on dialogue between the Church and today’s society. The accusation is occasionally made that belief in the other world, with the Christian emphasis on this being the one thing necessary, prevents believers from paying proper attention to this world’s affairs or the respect due to the dignity of the human person and an understanding of matters of culture arising from this. It was occasionally expressed in the maxim that many Christians were so heavenly minded as to be no earthly good. What Paul has to say in today’s reading should be sufficient answer to such an accusation. From the point of view of Christian virtue and life in Christ according to the Gospel, the Church and all believers have the maxim given by Jesus: “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”. There is here really no upper limit, in matters pertaining to the response to the Gospel.

                  But, in a sense, matters are no different with regard to matters of human living. What Paul has to say in today’s second reading was part of his teaching to the churches, and was for him not just an aside. It covers all aspects of life, what one might call the profane as well as the religious. Paul’s exhortation to believers to fill their minds with everything that is noble, true, good, that can be thought virtuous or worthy of praise could hardly be better put by a moral philosopher. Christians are called to become involved in all aspects of the human experiment, all forms of culture, literature, the arts and so forth.

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