Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul
On that journey as I drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ I replied, ‘Who are you, sir?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.’*
“Merciful and gracious is the Lord, slow to anger, abounding in kindness.”**
“Sooner would heaven and earth turn into nothingness than would My mercy not embrace a trusting soul.”***
Christ instituted the sacrament of penance as a vehicle to effect our reconciliation with Him and His Body, the Church. Let us not fail to approach His unfathomable mercy. He knows our human weakness and what we are made of…and nothing is impossible for God.
“Paul addressed the people in these words: ‘I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city. At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today. I persecuted this Way to death, binding both men and women and delivering them to prison. Even the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify on my behalf. For from them I even received letters to the brothers and set out for Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem in chains for punishment those there as well.
“On that journey as I drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ I replied, ‘Who are you, sir?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.’ My companions saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me. I asked, ‘What shall I do, sir?’ The Lord answered me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told about everything appointed for you to do.’ Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light, I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus.”(From the first reading for the Mass for the feast of the conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle).
* Acts 22:6-8
***Diary of Saint Faustina #1777
Art for this post on the conversion of Saint Paul: Conversion of St. Paul, Nicolas-Bernard Lepicie, 1767, PD-US copyright expired, Wikimedia Commons.