“I am Jesus the Nazarene whom you are persecuting.”
+ Saul was a faithful Pharisee who was born in Tarsus. Entrusted with a formal mission by the high priest, Saul departed for Damascus, intending to arrest Christians in that city and bring them to Jerusalem for trial.
+ As Saul was nearing the city, a light from heaven suddenly blazed around him and an immediate transformation took place in the soul of Saul, who would become known as “Paul.”
+ In his many letters, Saint Paul never recalled the moment of his conversion with deep gratitude for the mercy and love shown by the Divine Master.
+ The Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul was first celebrated in France in the sixth century and was introduced in Rome in the eleventh century.
For prayer and reflection
“[Paul] was consistent, because he was a man open to God. If he persecuted Christians, it was because he was convinced that God desired it. But how can that be? Never mind how: he was convinced of it. This is the zeal he carried for the purity of the house of God, for the glory of God. A heart open to the voice of the Lord. And he risked all, and charged ahead. Another characteristic of his actions is that he was a docile man – full of docility – and was not hard-headed.”—Pope Francis
To learn about religious communities under the patronage of Saint Paul, see the links below.
– The Barnabite Fathers and Brothers (Clerks Regular of St. Paul): www.barnabites.com
– The Paulist Fathers: www.paulist.org/vocations
– The Society of St. Paul: www.stpaulusa.com
– The Daughters of St. Paul: www.daughtersofstpaul.org
O God, who taught the whole world
through the preaching of the blessed Apostle Paul,
draw us, we pray, nearer to you
through the example of him whose conversion we celebrate today,
and so make us witnesses to your truth in the world.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.