A letter from Paul and Timothy who,
Are slaves of Jesus, and addressed now to
All the Holy Ones in Christ who are in Philippi
Grace to you and peace from our Father on high
And his son Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God
In remembrance of you, always joyful and awed
In every prayer, since now our true partnership
In the gospel derives from its first day’s small blip.
I am confident He who began work in you
Will complete it in Christ on the day that is true.
It is right I should think about all you this way,
For I hold you in heart, both now when I stay
In this prison or too in a just confirmation
Or defense of the gospel when I give an oration.
God is my witness, how I yearn for you all
With the affection of Christ. And this is my call,
This is my prayer: that your love may abound
More and more in the knowledge and insight you’ve found
So that you may be able to discern what is best,
And be blameless and pure on the day of Christ’s test,
Filled with the fruit of the righteousness that came
From Jesus for the glory and praise of God’s name.
Now brothers and sisters I want you to know,
that what’s happened to me is not truly a woe,
But a joy for the spread of the gospel of grace,
My imprisonment in this praetorium place
Has made it quite clear to the imperial guard
That for Christ I’m imprisoned, for Jesus I’m barred.
And so most of the brothers, having confidence here,
Now proclaim the whole gospel, the word, without fear.
It is true that some preach Christ from envy, yet still,
Others without rivalry preach from goodwill.
The latter, in love, act so kind and are thoughtful,
Knowing I’m here in defense of the gospel.
The former proclaim Christ in selfish ambition,
Not sincerely, but thinking to trouble my mission.
The important thing is, whether false or true voice,
Christ is proclaimed and for this I rejoice.
Indeed I’ll continue rejoicing, for I know
Through your prayers and the help of Christ’s Spirit I’ll go
To deliverance. And it’s my hope proclaimed.
My eager expectation is I’ll not be ashamed.
Now and always with courage my body and breath
Will honor Christ both in my life and in death.
For to me, life is Christ, and death is my gain,
Since living in flesh means I fruitfully strain,
Yet which path I choose I cannot now tell.
I am hard pressed by both and I want to be well,
So I long to depart my own life, since its better
To be now with Christ and enjoy him forever.
Yet, that I remain in the flesh is your benefit.
And I am convinced, I’ll continue to enter in
Service for you, for your faith and your joy,
I’ll remain for your progress in this. So deploy
Now some boasting in Christ for his glory,
For you know he’s honored in your and my story.
Conduct yourselves only in that Christlike way
Which is worthy of the gospel you’ve heard here today.
So that whether I’m with you or absent I’ll hear
That you stand in one Spirit, striving with peers
In one mind side by side for the gospel of grace,
Not frightened in anything by opponents you face.
To those who oppose you and reject Christ’s instruction,
All suffering in life seems to signal destruction.
But to those who believe, we know its salvation,
for the redemption of suffering is God’s causation.
For you have been granted, and this for Christ’s sake,
Not only to believe in Him but for Him to ache.
Yours is the same struggle you see me in now:
To rejoice, not despite, but through sufferings allowed.
St. Anthony, Pray For Us