Saint Paul’s conversion and zeal should give hope to all of us whose loved ones have rejected or fallen away from the Faith. Through the ages we see God’s infinite power, love and mercy in the awesome conversions of people from all walks of life whose weary, sinful and hardened hearts were set on fire with love for their Lord and Saviour.
The account of Saint Paul’s Conversion from the Douay Rheims Bible, Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 9:
And Saul, as yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked of him letters to Damascus, to the synagogues: that if he found any men and women of this way, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. And as he went on his journey, it came to pass that he drew nigh to Damascus; and suddenly a light from heaven shined round about him. And falling on the ground, he heard a voice saying to him: Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Who said: Who art thou, Lord? And he: I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against the goad.
And he trembling and astonished, said: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said to him: Arise, and go into the city, and there it shall be told thee what thou must do. Now the men who went in company with him, stood amazed, hearing indeed a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the ground; and when his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. But they leading him by the hands, brought him to Damascus. And he was there three days, without sight, and he did neither eat nor drink. Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias. And the Lord said to him in a vision: Ananias. And he said: Behold I am here, Lord.
And the Lord said to him: Arise, and go into the street that is called Strait, and seek in the house of Judas, one named Saul of Tarsus. For behold he prayeth. (And he saw a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hands upon him, that he might receive his sight.) But Ananias answered: Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints in Jerusalem. And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that invoke thy name. And the Lord said to him: Go thy way; for this man is to me a vessel of election, to carry my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.
For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house. And laying his hands upon him, he said: Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus hath sent me, he that appeared to thee in the way as thou camest; that thou mayest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it were scales, and he received his sight; and rising up, he was baptized. And when he had taken meat, he was strengthened. And he was with the disciples that were at Damascus, for some days. And immediately he preached Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
And all that heard him, were astonished, and said: Is not this he who persecuted in Jerusalem those that called upon this name: and came hither for that intent, that he might carry them bound to the chief priests? But Saul increased much more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt at Damascus, affirming that this is the Christ. And when many days were passed, the Jews consulted together to kill him. But their laying in wait was made known to Saul. And they watched the gates also day and night, that they might kill him. But the disciples taking him in the night, conveyed him away by the wall, letting him down in a basket.
And when he was come into Jerusalem, he essayed to join himself to the disciples; and they all were afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and told them how he had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken to him; and how in Damascus he had dealt confidently in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out in Jerusalem, and dealing confidently in the name of the Lord.
Blessed Apostle Paul, who labored so zealously for the conversion of the Gentiles in many lands, obtain for us a perpetual zeal for the salvation of souls and especially enkindle our interest in the conversion of our separated brethern. Ever mindful of the interest that our Divine Lord, the Good Shepherd, has for the other sheep not of His fold, I now beg your intercession and obtain for me the gift of the true faith for ………….
(Pause here and name relatives and friends) May God grant this request so close to my heart and thus enable me to extend to another what I so richly enjoy, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Converts to Catholicism
On commemorations in the Missal, Fr Tim Finigan has an interesting piece comparing collects, from the Roman Missal used before 1962 and the modern Roman Missal. Quite subtle. https://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com/2021/01/st-raymund-penyafort-miraculous-voyage.html
Since I had a discussion with Fr. Tim earlier today, I am also quite struck by his remark that he knows a number of young people now suffering terrible psychological problems during the lock down in the south London setting where he now lives. These are the grass roots issues that parishes will be dealing with for a long time to come, and around which all can unify in prayer regardless of their dogmatic opinions about Covid-19 responses. I will certainly be adding this issue to my prayer list.
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I love the prayer which is now in my cache of prayers. St Paul’s conversion story is so powerful!
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