|Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle
Acts 22:3-16, or Acts 9:1-22
Psalms 117:1, 2
In January we celebrate two saints who have made important and lasting contributions to the Church. On January 24th, we celebrated the feast day of St. Francis de Sales and today we celebrate the Conversion of St. Paul. St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) awakened us to the notion that spirituality is not just for priests and religious, but for all of us - religious and lay alike. We are all called to be attuned to our spiritual nature. The conversion of St. Paul helps the Church to appreciate that the Gospel is not just for a few, but for all. I think they go hand in hand.
In todayís readings we find all of the Good news catch words. We are told of Paul who is struck blind while in determined pursuit of the Christians. His persecution of the Christians comes to an end as a result of his violent encounter with the Lord. His conversion includes a recovery of sight and the ability to hear the sound of His voice. Conversion leads to change in action. While Saul is undergoing this conversion, there are those around him who doubt the sincerity of the conversion. Prior to going to Saul at the Lordís request, Ananias questions the Lord. Also, Ananias questions the sincerity of Saulís conversion knowing his background. With Saulís conversion comes change, authority, sight, light and food, a messenger and the laying on of hands. What may also be part of the conversion process is resistance. Saul resisted the Lord as did Ananias.
In my own life I have slowly come to realize that the Lord works in his own time in his own way. My role is to let God, be God. My conversion, my faith journey, my path most certainly will not be the same for others - not even for those in my own family. The Gospels, scripture are for all of us. The message, the call to love, to show mercy, to faith, to live compassionately, and to act justly, to follow Christ will be given and received over and over again to each one in very unique ways - in intimate, personal situations. It will be different for each one of us. It is an ongoing process that will look differently and feel differently at different times. Conversion is an on-going, never ending process. As spouse and parent, I have found it, at times, a difficult challenge to step aside, to let go, to let God, be God. It is a form of resistance that I want to be in the know regarding our childrenís faith development. It is a form of resistance that I want others to have the same appreciation and regard for what is important to me.
The Chinese proverb says that the ice on the pond does not freeze in a day. So to for most of us, conversion does not happen overnight. I know that the Spirit spends a lot of time chipping away at my resistance!
For me, the good-news is the joy and the peace that come from letting
God be God.
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