The National Catholic Review
"Brothers and sisters: What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." This might be the passage for me. It has always been difficult for me to point to a particular verse or passage and say that this is the one that I turn to in a time of need or speaks to me most deeply. In fact, a couple of years ago I heard my students joking about how every Gospel or Epistle I was teaching was "certainly my favorite." In my defense, at that point, the particular Gospel or Epistle I was teaching was my favorite. Scripture is like that – its depths can never be fully plumbed or its graces exhausted. Blessed is the woman or man who is able to teach Scripture for a living. Yet, a couple of years ago I did notice that reading this passage, even in an academic setting, made me tremble. I noticed that when I needed comfort, I turned to this passage. When I thought of the suffering of those close to me, I went to read this passage. I am not certain what sort of exegesis is necessary for Romans 8:35, 37-39: to me the profound sense of Christ’s love for us overwhelms any other reading and defies explanation. When you read the passage, this love washes over you. This love is available constantly and without fail, but when I find myself separating myself from God’s love or getting caught up in the trivial (and genuine) concerns of day to day life, I return to this passage. What will separate us from "the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord"? Absolutely nothing. Not only is this my favorite passage, but that sense of God’s eternal love is my true comfort. Free to all in spite of persecution, famine, anguish, death, life, powers and principalities. Spread the Word. John W. Martens