St. Paul, although in prison, wrote some of his most encouraging letters to his communities. Never despondent, in fact, he was a giant encourager. The letter to Philemon might be named Letter from the County Jail from someone who loves you: “I am not discouraged at all, rather grateful to be here since it gives me a chance to write to you, my good companion. In fact, whenever your name comes up, I say, ‘Oh, thank you, God.’ Your love for our Master Jesus brims over… you have no idea how good your love makes me feel when I see your hospitality to fellow believers.” This letter to Philemon, one of the shortest in the New Testament, underlines the truth that every movement made in response to God has a ripple effect, touching family, neighbors, community. We can’t keep our beliefs inside; they brim over, spill out, and make local history, at first; but unbeknownst to us, can even become world history. Do you need encouragement? Read Paul’s letter to Philemon.
By Renée Domeier, OSB