“For I want you to know how great a struggle I am having for you,” Paul says in our first reading to the Colossians.
What’s causing Paul such agony?
He wants nothing more than to journey to Colossae to support these early Christians, who are struggling in their faith.
But Paul’s stuck in prison, chained to the floor. Imagine how frustrated he must be.
He also fears his own death is near. Although he’s a heroic man, nobody looks forward to a torturous death.
There’s a chance that Paul might be spared if he renounces his faith. Certainly, Satan – and the Roman Emperor Nero – would want nothing more than that. Having Paul deny Jesus would be like breaking the end off of a spear; the early Church would’ve been devastated.
But Paul will not give up. He runs the race of life to the finish and keeps the faith. His courage and his faith – so evident in his writings – become his legacy.
So, what can we learn from Paul’s final days?
There are some things in life that we cannot control.
In Paul’s case, while he was imprisoned, all he could do was pray and leave the rest up to God.
At times, that’s all we can do, as well; pray and leave the rest up to God.
Secondly, Paul knew his life was bigger than himself; he shaped an entire generation of Christians. Similarly, we must see beyond ourselves, trusting that our faith influences others, whether or not we realize it.