The Word of God

Reflection – Lectionary: 519

“On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'” Today the Church celebrated that magnificent moment in the life of St. Paul when his whole world turned upside down, and great things followed him all the days of his life. Because of that powerful epiphany in St. Paul’s life, the Christian Church was strengthened in its infancy, and the bulk of the New Testament would be written. Before moving forward, let us take a closer look at what conversion is and understand what it is not.

First, a true conversion must involve a deep, personal and breath-taking encounter with the Risen Lord Jesus: “I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.” The point here is rather obvious. We should avoid calling our experience after a tear-jerking movie or the overwhelming relief after a near-death encounter a conversion unless, somehow and integrally, that brings us to a face-to-face meeting with the Lord. Second, it must involve action: “Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told about everything appointed for you to do.” Conversion without action is as useful as a glass hammer. Finally, but by no means the end of our essential elements, conversion must be ongoing: “But Saul grew all the stronger and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus, proving that this is the Christ.” The reason that Saul became the Great St. Paul was that his name change reflected his life change. Everything was different now, and it would continue until that day when Paul glorified God with his martyrdom. May it be the same for each one of us!

A prayer for conversions:
O blessed apostle, St. Paul, greatest of all converts, who labored unceasingly for the conversion of other souls, inspire me with the ardor of your zeal that I may pray and work for the conversion of my brethren, redeemed in the blood of Christ but not as yet blessed with the full light of his truth.

Mindful of the loving concern of the Divine Shepherd for the salvation of the “other sheep that are not of this fold,” I now beg your intercession to obtain the grace of conversion for (name of a family member, friend or others).

May God, the Holy Spirit from whom alone this gift can come, hear my humble prayer and thus enable me to share with others the riches of my heritage of faith through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

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