A Meditation on The Conversion of Saint Paul – January 25

Acts 9:3-7 As he (Saul) neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

I love the story of Saint Paul’s conversion. It has so much to teach us in our everyday lives. First of all, I’m struck with the mercy of God, that he would choose a man that was so vehemently against Christ. Paul, (or at that point, Saul) was sure he was doing the right thing by zealously persecuting Christians.

Secondly, I’m intrigued by Paul’s conversion process:

The Conversion on the Way to Damascus (Caravaggio, 1600)

 

First, there was light.

Then he fell to the ground.
Next, he heard the voice of Jesus.
He chose to believe the voice and say yes to it.

He was obedient to what Jesus said.
He fasted.
Temporarily blinded, he trusted others to lead him.
Baptized, he was spiritually reborn to solidify his conversion.

He received the strength of God, symbolized by taking food.

 

 

 

For us, in our daily conversion to be more like Christ, it is necessary that God’s light show us where we are not like Him. Often, we need to fall from the places where we think ourselves better than our neighbors, and therefore can’t love them the way Jesus wants us to. It takes hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit to convict us and to believe and say yes. Fasting from those places that distract us from going on our own “Damascus road” of His will can be so helpful. I have found that when the light of something about myself is very bright, I can hardly see straight, and I experience a moment of blindness. It is so helpful when I have a trusted friend to help lead me and help keep me on the way I hope to stay on! And finally, when there is an unwanted habit in me that has shifted, I’m barely aware that it has changed. I realize that I have more joy, and feel more centered in Jesus. What a wonderful testimony the story of Paul’s conversion is for all of us!

 

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