“To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints.”
It happened. I tried to stifle the laugh, but it was impossible. She was just too funny, too sassy, too real… St. Thérèse of Lisieux had literally made me laugh out loud in adoration. How embarrassingly awesome.
Ever since I was 14, St. Thérèse had been a “saint-buddy” of mine, but it was in a simple moment while reading Story of a Soul (Thérèse’s autobiography) that her journey to sainthood became real to me. Her sassy, stubborn-headed, emotional self had truly spoken to me in such a real and personal way. She spoke to me like a sister. As I’ve grown up, I have started to hear the words of the saints as a sister would hear her siblings speak to her. With reason and, most importantly, love. And St. Paul is one of those siblings I am so incredibly thankful for.
St. Paul, in his Letter to the Romans holds nothing back. Not even that striking and incredibly difficult call to become saints Romans 1:7 flash bang boom only seven lines into his letter. This is what I love about him. He doesn’t seek only to teach us about Christ but to challenge us deeper, to a real, honest, and beautiful relationship with our Redeemer.
This letter, known to many Biblical scholars as a “theological treatise” is really quite beautiful. Written 20 years after Christ’s Crucifixion, as introduction of himself to the Romans and in hopes of enlisting missionaries to accompany him to Spain, St. Paul accomplishes more than just mere niceties. He gives glory to God through his beautiful exhortation of the Salvation of God’s people through Jesus Christ. And more pointedly, how we must conduct ourselves if we are to call ourselves Christian.
This letter is challenging, but oh so worthy of our study. I am no Biblical scholar, nor do I pretend to be, so this won’t be a comprehensive study of Romans (I hope that doesn’t disappoint you). But I do love to nibble on little nuggets of truth, so we will be approaching each section topically and touching on points of history and context throughout.
I pray you will journey with me, as another sister on the road to heaven.
“May we be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” Romans 1:12
and may we learn from St. Paul’s words, but mostly his incredible example of what it means to live for our Lord.