The Pope described how the Apostle uses strong terms, like foolishness, to describe their behaviour, because they risked losing their faith in Christ, which they initially received with enthusiasm, and so Paul appealed to their memory of his first proclamation when he offered them the possibility of attaining a new, hitherto unhoped-for freedom in faith.
The love of Christ, the wellspring of salvation
The point is to shake up their consciences, the Pope explained, when Paul reminded the Galatians how the word he preached to them focused on God’s love, fully manifested in the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the grace they received from that. In summary, the Pope went on to say, Paul’s intention is to compel the Galatians to avoid falling into the trap of a religiosity based solely on the scrupulous observance of precepts, overlooking “the love of Christ, crucified and risen again,” which should “remain at the centre of our daily life as the wellspring of salvation”.
The Galatians understood what Paul was saying, the Pope pointed out, since they had experienced the action of the Holy Spirit in their communities, through charity and other charisms that manifested themselves among them, “the fruit of the newness of the Spirit.” God was bringing them to faith, the Holy Spirit had been the agent of their experience, the Pope added, but the Galatians were putting that all in the background seeing their own works as the protagonists, which Paul described as foolishness.
Christ’s love at the centre of our lives
In conclusion, the Pope said we also need to reflect on where our faith is, and how we live it; and to make sure that Christ’s love remains at the centre of our lives, the way to our salvation. We must continually keep to this “precious treasure, to the beauty of the newness of Christ,” rather than to externals, rather than “something that attracts us momentarily but then leaves us empty inside.” He said we can be encouraged by the fact that, “even when we are tempted to turn away, God still continues to bestow His gifts… God does not abandon us but rather abides with us in His merciful love.”
Source: Vatican News article