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It seems what I asked something like this last in that phatmass thread is more pertinent to this forum. So does anyone know the correct interpretation of when St. Paul says something like, "I have become all things to all men"?
Can anyone respond to this? I'd like to know as well.
       I have always taken it to mean that one should attempt to appeal to all men in an effort to convert them. Also, it might refer to the particular duties of a Christian. A Christian should not shun, say his family, in an effort to be a better worker. A balance should be struck. Of course, this is only my poor interpretation.
For whereas I was free as to all, I made myself the servant of all, that I might gain the more. And I became to the Jews a Jew, that I might gain the Jews: To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak. I became all things to all men, that I might save all. And I do all things for the gospel’s sake, that I may be made partaker thereof. (1 Cor. 9:19-23)
He is stating what he himself has been willing to deny himself.  Though he is a free man, he became as a servant in order to convert sinners; though he was free from observing the Jewish ceremonial laws, he willingly observed its rules in order not to scandalize the Jews, so that he might convert them, and so on.
Perhaps an application today might be this: if I were witnessing to a Jew, who would not eat pork, and we went out for dinner together, I might abstain from pork at that meal - even though I can lawfully eat it.  If I were trying to convert a fundamentalist who believed that smoking and drinking alcohol was sinful, I wouldn't take him to a bar and light up a cigarette - even though I could, if I wanted to.  Here's an application going the other direction: as a Traditionalist, I choose to abstain from meat on Fridays, even though this is not a binding law of the Church (outside of Lent, of course).  So, if I were eating with a person from a Novus Ordo parish, and he served me steak on a Friday, I might go ahead and eat it so as not to offend him.
In all things lawful, St. Paul is willing to adapt his customs and behavior to those whom he is trying to win over - so he became "all things to all men."
lumengentleman Wrote:...as a Traditionalist, I choose to abstain from meat on Fridays, even though this is not a binding law of the Church (outside of Lent, of course)...

       I do not know what you had in mind when you said this, but abstinence is indeed still the binding law of the Church on Fridays throughout the year. However, there is also the option to do some other good work or penance on that day. Is this other mortification what you had in mind when you said abstinence is not binding? Unfortunately, folks in the NO, almost to a man, have no idea of this still effective requirement. Sad....