Paul 6. Philippians : the Mind of Christ

Saint Paul: Andrei Rublev

'Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus'(2:5).

Why do we resist Christ's gift of sharing his mind and heart9-60

57AD 'When it was decided that we were to sail for Italy, they transferred Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort, names Julius. Embarking on a ship of Adramyttium that was about to set sail to the ports along the Coast of Asia, we put to sea … We came to Rome''(Acts 27:1-2 and 28:16).

to Rome

60-62AD Paul spends two years in custody in Rome: 'Paul lived in Rome two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance'(Acts 28:30-31 - the final words of Acts).

It is likely that it was during his hoiuse arrest in Rome awaiting the arrival of his accusers from Palestine and trial that Paul wrote to the community in Philippi.

map Philippi

Paul made a number of visits to Philippi: when he first visited Europe in 50AD (see Acts 16 and 1 Thessalonians 2:2); when he left Ephesus in 55AD headed for Corinth (see Acts 20:2); when he left Corinth in 57AD (see Acts 20:6).

He writes this letter from 'Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus in Philippi'(Philippians 1:1).

‘God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.’(1:8)

‘You have been filled with the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.’ (1:11)

‘Live as citizens in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one Spirit, striving side by side with one soul for the faith of the gospel.’(1:27)

‘If then there is any appeal in Christ,
any consolation from love,
any communion in the Spirit,
any movements of compassion and feelings of love,
make my joy complete:
be of the same mind, having the same love,
being of one soul and of one mind.

Do nothing from selfish ambition.
Do not strive after or seek to find your value
in things that are worthless,
but in humility regard others above yourselves,
so that not everyone is focused on themselves,
but each is looking to the interests of others.
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.

‘Being in the form of God,
Jesus did not regard equality with God
as something to be grasped,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.

And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.

Therefore God highly exalted him.’(2:1-9)

Paul De Jaegher SJ One with Jesus.

‘Formerly the soul encouraged herself in the practice of higher virtues
by an imitation of Jesus, which I may well describe as
an imitation from the outside. Jesus was her model, but outside of her,
a model whose divine virtues she strove to reproduce
somewhat after the fashion of a painter who copies his subject.
Imitation after this fashion appears somewhat cold and dull.
But now Jesus means something very different for her.
To imitate Jesus is no longer to copy Jesus,
but to be transformed into Jesus, to become Jesus.
It is no longer to bring out in herself the features of the beloved Model,
but to allow Christ to develop and reproduce himself in her.
It is imitation from within.
There is no question of merely becoming like Jesus,
but of being one with Jesus, the God-Man.’

‘All of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.’ (2Corinthians 3:18)

‘Whoever has seen me has seen the Father … I am in the Father and the Father is in me’(John 14:9-10).

‘I will ask the Father and he will give you the Spirit to be with you for forever’(John 14:16).

‘I am coming to you’(John 14:18).

‘My Father will love you and we will come to you and make our home with you’(John 14:23).

‘As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us …
so that the love with which you loved me may be in them,
and I in them’(John 17:21,26).

‘O most beautiful of creatures, transcendent spirit,
who long to know where your beloved is and where you may find him
so as to be united with him. He dwells within you.
You are yourself the tabernacle, his secret hiding place.
Rejoice, exult, for all you could possibly desire,
all your heart’s longing is so close, so intimate as to be within you;
you cannot be without him’(John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle 1,7).

‘The Word, the Son of God, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
is hidden in the innermost being of the soul.’(John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle 1,6)

Jesus exclaimed: ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, “Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water”.’ Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:37-39).
‘The water that I will give will become in you a spring of water gushing up to eternal life’(John 4:14).

‘The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness and self-control.’(Galatians 5:22-23)

‘The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray
as we ought, but the Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.
And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit,
because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
All things work together for good for those who love God.’(Romans 8:26-28)

John of the Cross

1. O living flame of love
that tenderly wounds my soul in its deepest centre.
Since you are not oppressive now, finish your work if it be your will;
tear the veil of this sweet encounter.

2. O sweet cautery!
O delightful wound! O gentle hand! O delicate touch!
that tastes of eternal life, and pays every debt!
In killing you have changed death to life.

3. O lamps of fire!
in whose splendours the deep caverns of feeling,
once obscure and blind, now, so strangely exquisite,
give forth warmth and light to their Beloved.

4. How gently and lovingly
you stir in my breast where in secret you dwell alone;
and in your sweet breathing filled with good and glory
how delicately you swell my heart with love!

St Augustine (Tract on John 18.10.1)

‘Return to the heart!
Why are you running away from yourself?
Why are you getting lost, outside yourself, entering on deserted ways?
You are wandering aimlessly. Come back! To where?
To the Lord! It can be done quickly!
Return immediately to your heart!
Exiled from your own self
you wander outside.
You fail to know yourself, you who
want to know the source of your existence.
Come back! Return to the heart …
See there what you can learn about God, for the image of God is there.
In your heart dwells Christ.
In your heart you are being renewed
after God’s image.’

‘A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. But Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.’ (Luke 22:24-27)

‘Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him … You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.’ (John 13:3-5, 13-14)


1. Element in maintaining structure of domination based on inequality
(however benevolent)
The one being served has a right to be served.
The one serving has a duty to serve.

2. More subtle form of maintaining inequality.
The one with power serves another in need.

3. Mutual service of equals: friendship.
Self-gift in love to another who is loved
Service is not exacted
No debts are created
No dependency created
No exploitation


In this your temple
With your own hand,
Light the lamp of your love.
Turn my darkness into light.
Turn my darkness into light.