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Monday, January 28, 2008

Happy Conversion!

Last Friday, the 25th, was the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. Yes, that's right--we honor that moment in the history of salvation when Paul was completely conquered by Christ.

"Breathing murderous threats" against the fledgling Christian community, the pharisee Saul determinedly set out for the city of Damascus. His mission? To arrest and imprison any who professed the name of Jesus. This same Jesus showed the fullness of mercy to the young man, literally stopping Saul in his tracks and transforming him into the greatest apostle of all time and a true vessel of Christ's love. To his credit, Paul allowed himself to be grasped by Christ, and so must we.

It's a tremendous story of grace that can be found in two places in the Scriptures: Acts chapter 9 and Galatians chapter 1.

Our Founder, Blessed James Alberione, naturally wrote a lot about St. Paul. Speaking of the Conversion, he has this to say: "Saul, the enemy of Jesus, becomes his intimate friend, to the point of living of him: 'Christ...lives in me' (Gal 2:20). And nothing--neither life nor death, neither the hardships he had to endure nor the prisons which he sanctified; neither the chains that he bore nor the shipwrecks he endured; neither the beatings nor the floggings--separated him from Christ. 'I am certain' (Rom 8:38), he said. He was certain of the grace of God and of the power which came to him from Jesus Christ."

Pope Benedict has declared this coming year to be a year dedicated to St. Paul. It extends from June 2008 to June 2009. If you'd like to read more about the Apostle, we can suggest a wonderful biography on his life. Written by historian Alain Decaux, Paul, Least of the Apostles: The Story of the Most Unlikely Witness to Christ gives an intimate look into the mind and heart of an incredible giant of faith.

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