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We can all win

by Sr Tamsin Mary Geach o.p.

As contenders for Christian perfection, the feelings can be much the same – the saints are so far ahead in the race that it is barely worth the effort of trying to catch up with them.  So here are a couple of thoughts on this reading of St Paul’s:  First, unlike in a normal race, we can all win.  It is not that there is a podium with only three places, that only one person can take the first place, and the rest of us are either one of the two runners up, and the rest of us are nowhere – no, in this ‘race’ everyone is a ‘first-born’, and we can all win.

Secondly, unlike the goals we set ourselves in this life, the victory once won is one that does not fade.  So the exam results, the academic achievements, the social and professional status we achieve – none of this has any lasting value – take our breath and we will return to clay, and our plans that day come to nothing! Unlike this, the reward we strive for as Christians is laid up for us in heaven, where the thieves cannot steal and the moth cannot spoil it – the wreath we are striving for can never fade or be spoiled or taken away.

Finally, lest we become too Pelagian in our outlook and think that in our Christian striving everything depends upon our own efforts, we should look upon all that we do or achieve as grace.  Precisely because it comes from Christ, if we depend upon Him, we can all win, and if we hope in Him and hold fast to Him, our victory is already won.