People of my age group, septuagenarians, frequently talk of down-sizing. This describes a time in life after the first steps in retirement and before the assisted living and mortuary, when we realize we no longer need all the stuff, large house, and property we thought we needed during our working and generative years. We look at patio homes, condos, a more modest ranch, perhaps an apartment, or an independent living community. Hoarder that I am, I’ve even taken three large boxes of books to the used book store and other things to the Re-store, run by Habitat. Yet there’s so much more.

Paul speaks of all this possessions as rubbish in light of his possession by Christ. He says it is all “loss” and “rubbish.” The work of his mission is all he has. He seems to speak of his life in developmental stages to “attain perfect maturity.” This maturity means to be completely “to know Christ,” “to gain Christ,” to “be found in him,” and to be “conformed to his death.” For Paul this is righteousness through possession by Christ. Yet this is Christ’s work in him, not his own work. This is his “upward calling,” sort of like that book by Richard Rohr about aging well. Paul speaks of “a goal” and “a prize.”

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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