Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul

Today is the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul

Paul’s entire life can be explained in terms of one experience—his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus. In an instant, he saw that all the zeal of his dynamic personality was being wasted, like the strength of a boxer swinging wildly. Perhaps he had never seen Jesus, who was only a few years older. But he had acquired a zealot’s hatred of all Jesus stood for, as he began to harass the Church: “...entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment” (Acts 8:3b). Now he himself was “entered,” possessed, all his energy harnessed to one goal—being a slave of Christ in the ministry of reconciliation, an instrument to help others experience the one Savior.

One sentence determined his theology: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5b). Jesus was mysteriously identified with people—the loving group of people Saul had been running down like criminals. Jesus, he saw, was the mysterious fulfillment of all he had been blindly pursuing.

From then on, his only work was to “present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me” (Colossians 1:28b-29). “For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and [with] much conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:5a).

Paul’s life became a tireless proclaiming and living out of the message of the cross: Christians die baptismally to sin and are buried with Christ; they are dead to all that is sinful and unredeemed in the world. They are made into a new creation, already sharing Christ’s victory and someday to rise from the dead like him. Through this risen Christ the Father pours out the Spirit on them, making them completely new.

So Paul’s great message to the world was: You are saved entirely by God, not by anything you can do. Saving faith is the gift of total, free, personal and loving commitment to Christ, a commitment that then bears fruit in more “works” than the Law could ever contemplate.

Comment:

Paul is undoubtedly hard to understand. His style often reflects the rabbinical style of argument of his day, and often his thought skips on mountaintops while we plod below. But perhaps our problems are accentuated by the fact that so many beautiful jewels have become part of the everyday coin in our Christian language (see quote, below).

Quote:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).


Bless you all this day.


Help me Lord to be more conscious of your presence.

Teach me to recognise your presence in others.
Fill my heart with gratitude for the times Your love
has been shown to me through the care of others.

Comments

Gemma said…
The Corinthians quote is beautiful!!
Pamela said…
Enjoyed your post on "Feast of the Conversation of St. Paul". Faith is trusting in the Lord, sight unseen and is a loving and lasting commitment.

Love Corinthians so much, and it hangs in our bedroom printed in nine little hearts. Have a blessed day! :)
Terry said…
Dear Sioux..I remember that when I was in high school, we had to memorize the "Love" verses from 1 Corinthians.
That was required in our Literature class.
It is so sad that in Candada now the Bible has been kicked out of the public schools and they have put God out too.
In our national anthem, they have taken out "God keep our land glorious and free".
They have taken "God " out of this song in the public schools
God and the Bible is still n the Catholic schools and Christmas concerts are too and the whole program is about Jesus.
They call it winter concert in the public schools and no carols just a lot of little skits with no mention of God!!
Way too bad Sioux...

This was such a good positng!
Love Terry
Gail said…
There is so much truth in this post, it is knowing what the word says that transforms us. I am so thankful that here in the good ole USA we have not lost Christ YET! it could happen though, and what are we as christians doing to make sure it does not? What will the future hold if there is no teaching
as Terry said, she REMEMBERS, how can you remember what you have never heard? Blessings to you Sioux
PEA said…
A truly beautiful post Sioux...thank you for sharing this! Hugs xox
Kathleen Marie said…
This is excellent. Thanks for posting. I know the Lord sure took the scales off of my eyes, and then he cleaned out my ears ... seriously. I couldn't understand a think I heard or a thing I read until the Lord got a hold of me!

Thanks and God Bless!