Conversion of St. Paul

Friday, April 15, 2016

 Conversion of St. Paul
Easter day 20

In the Easter season scriptures, we continue the stage of reflection on our faith called “mystagogy.”, that is “to lead through the mysteries.”   Today we reflect on the conversion of St. Paul. In “The City of God” by the mystic Mary of Agreda, there is an entire chapter devoted to the conversion of St. Paul, the role of Mary, the Mother of Jesus in the conversion and his influence on the Church in his time and ours.

The chapter describes Paul’s conversion as “ one of the greatest miracles of grace for the consolation of sinners; for, from a virulent and blasphemous persecutor of the name of Christ, as St.Paul calls himself, he was changed to an Apostle obtaining mercy through divine grace.”   In This year of mercy, he certainly is a model for all and can especially be a model for all those in the ISIS regions these days.  The chapter goes on to say that Paul had a great character which drew others to him and his teaching; however, he was a staunch and learned professor of the law of Moses, he was ignorant of its essence;  As a result, before his conversion, he could not apply the teachings of Jesus to the law.  This same source has the demon choosing Paul as messenger of evil and Mary the Mother of Jesus as an advocate who prayed for Paul’s conversion.  This is the response of Jesus to Mary’s prayer that was given in the chapter.  In the account, the incident on the road to Damascus follows this prayer.

“My Mother, chosen among all creatures, let thy will be done without delay. I will do with Saul as Thou askest, and will so change him, that from this moment he will be a defender of the Church which he persecutes, and a preacher of my name and glory.  I shall now proceed to receive him immediately into my friendship and grace.” 

The chapter makes this statement about the significance of the conversion of St. Paul:
“Thus is happened that in the same short time, in which Lucifer through p[ride was changed from an angel to a devil, the power of Christ changed Saul from a demon into an angel in grade.  In the angelic nature the highest beauty turned into the deepest ugliness;  and in the human nature the greatest perversity into the highest moral perfection”.

This is what we are called to reflect upon today.

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