Stripped. Beaten. Imprisoned. Shackled. Such was the plight of Paul and Silas in the early Church community at Phillipi. It is a situation we would all want to escape.
What’s interesting is that when the earthquake comes, and escape is handed to them, Paul and Silas wait. They don’t run, despite immediate freedom. They pray and sing hymns, capturing not only the attention of their fellow forgotten ones, but of God, the liberator. They allow God’s work to continue. They save another man, one of their captors, first. And then, they allow him to save them in response. Paul and Silas offer this guard Christ, and he offers them cleansed wounds. They baptize his entire family, and he offers them a meal and rest.
In the hustle-and-bustle of my life, I often take the immediate action to make my life better without considering the other. Think of Jesus on the cross. He could have saved himself. But our freedom was at stake, and he expired there for the benefit of all. How can I find the patience to wait and draw others into God’s grace with me? How can I find freedom in patience and surrender?
Jesus–help me not to seek the easy way out. Help me to remain in your love, and bring others into fullness of life in you.
—Eric Immel, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic of the Wisconsin Province is studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.