WORD of the DAY
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He said, “Who are you, sir?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do. (Acts 9: 3-6)
The feast of the conversion of St. Paul concludes the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The narrations of the conversion of Paul as they appear in the New Testament show many divergent details. Some words are added, others are ignored, but some words are always present and show their importance. Paul as a zealous Pharisee, uses all the means at his disposal, even violence, in persecuting the Christians in order to maintain the unity of the people in the scrupulous observance of the Ancient Law of the Fathers. Now, the Lord reveals to him the profound unity between Him and His disciples: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting”. Here he has the first revelation of the unexpected unity of the Body of Christ of which he will often speak in his letters. We are all living members of Christ through our faith in Him and therein consists our true unity.
What happened to Paul? It does not deal with a simple conversion, but a much greater and deeper event that radically changed him. Paul became a new creature! This is why he falls to the ground and loses all the well rooted certainties of his ego and his pride. Paul falls from his own ego, from the idol that reigned in his heart so that he could be ‘totally grasped by Jesus and by His Gospel”.
The voice of the Prayer after Communion
May the sacrament we have received, Lord our God, communicate also to us the ardent charity of the apostle Paul, which he carried in his heart for the solicitude of all the Churches.