©2011 James Dacey, Jr. SFO
Today we will reflect on a most Joyous event; the conversion of Saul (St.Paul). Paul admits to being one of those who opposed and persecuted Christians. Today I really want us to see and read and learn (Paul's Story), we all have our own conversion story. Paul's is pretty exciting and scripture tells it, only like scripture can. Paul had a very radical change in his life when he encountered Jesus, how many of us have similar stories of near death experiences; either in body or spirit. Our stories, and our experiences are what helps draw others to look at their own lives; to maybe help them see how Jesus is at work with them. Sharing is a huge part of our walk spiritually, it allows us to relate to similar circumstances we share with that person; and it also gives us a much better understanding as to how they managed to draw closer to our Lord through it. Please I strongly encourage you to share your story with everybody. Write it out, and see how your testimony will travel around the globe and so many will come to Jesus because of it.
This is my story...
Please take a moment and read this incredible account as Paul's shares it: Acts 22:3-16 (Paul Tells of His Conversion), followed by a reflection on the significances of St. Paul's conversion by Pope Benedict XVI.
Acts 22:3-16 - “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.
“About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’
“‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked.
“ ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.
“‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked.
“ ‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’ My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.
“A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him. “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’
Pope Benedict XVI (Reflection)
"Paul's conversion matured in his encounter with the Risen Christ; it was this encounter that radically changed his life. What happened to him on the road to Damascus is what Jesus asks in today's Gospel: Saul is converted because, thanks to the divine light, "he has believed in the Gospel". In this consists his and our conversion: in believing in Jesus dead and risen and in opening to the illumination of his divine grace. In that moment Saul understood that his salvation did not depend on good works fulfilled according to the law, but on the fact that Jesus died also for him the persecutor and has risen. This truth by which every Christian life is enlightened thanks to Baptism completely overturns our way of life. To be converted means, also for each one of us, to believe that Jesus "has given himself for me", dying on the Cross (cf. Galatians 2: 20) and, risen, lives with me and in me. Entrusting myself to the power of his forgiveness, letting myself be taken by his hand, I can come out of the quicksands of pride and sin, of deceit and sadness, of selfishness and of every false security, to know and live the richness of his love."
(from address given on January 25, 2009 - ANGELUS)
Here is a link to that talk in St. Peter's Square.
As with the prodigal son who returned home to the open arms of his father, and St Paul who was converted and brought to his knees before Jesus; many of us have friends and relatives who maybe are against us or angry towards us, let us pray for their conversion and awakening. No matter what happens we must let them know that we love them, all the time, no matter what. For like St Paul who persecuted the followers of Jesus, he needed to be knocked off his feet and put to the ground, blinded. This rather dramatic way of getting his attention worked; I honestly don't believe Paul would have so easily responded to a quiet still voice in the night. Paul was a strong, aggressive, powerful man; he needed to be forcefully put in his place, and by doing so Paul listened to Jesus. When Jesus died for us, He also died for Paul who was (Saul) at the time, who was persecuting Christians. It doesn't matter who you are, Jesus loves you and died for you, for every single one of us. Please share your story.
"Jesus, I trust in You."
Your brother in Christ Jesus & His Most Blessed Mother,
Jim (The Rosary Man) Dacey Jr SFO
Today we pray the Sorrowful Mysteries
1. Agony in the Garden2. The Scourging at the Pillar3. Crowing with Thorns4. Carrying of the Cross5. The Crucifixion of Jesus