Yesterday I attended Weekly Manna, a weekly gathering of mostly non-Catholic Christians that occurs weekly at the law school. It is one of the worship opportunities we make available for faculty, students and staff at the law school during our noon “worship period” (which includes daily Mass).
The speaker yesterday was my friend Chato, the prime organizer of the weekly gatherings and his theme was thanksgiving. After talking about his gratitude for the group, he read a passage from Philippians. When I think of Philippians, I always think of the plea for unity and humility in Chapter 2:5-11, one of my favorite passages. The passage Chato read – prayed, more accurately – is one I’ve somehow passed over. I’m sorry that I have, since it is absolutely beautiful.
And so I share it – prayerfully – with all of you who work to bring God’s kingdom here on earth. I pray it with the same wish that Chato expressed yesterday – the wish that I could pray it individually with each of your names. But since there are names I do now know, I pray it with the names in mind of all of those I personally know who work on behalf of the Gospel, but include in my prayer those I do not know who work just as hard.
I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you, praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, because of your partnership for the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right that I should think this way about all of you, because I hold you in my heart, you who are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.