Today is the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, which is undoubtedly a most important event, not just in the history of the church, but in all of salvation history. Saul of Tarsus, a Jew, steeped in Hellenistic culture, and also a Roman citizen, was uniquely positioned for the apostolic role assigned him by divine providence. As both of my readers know, I do a lot with the writings of St. Paul throughout the year. So, let's be content today just to read Paul's account of his own conversion:
"For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
"Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother. (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only were hearing it said, 'He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.' And they glorified God because of me" (Gal. 1:11-24- ESV).
St. Paul, holy apostle, pray for us!
Last Sunday the English edition of Il Sussidiario published an article I initially posted over on Cahiers Péguy, where I post occasionally. I also contribute to Il Sussidiario on a fairly regular basis.