The Conversion of St. Paul
Back in 2004, Forward Movement published “Calendar of Saints” by David Veal. It’s a set of meditations on the lives of saints — a hagiography that doesn’t require a theology degree to enjoy. Alas, the book has gone out of print. Good news is that we’re going to be updating this book and issuing an expanded version to include all saints who are currently in Lesser Feasts & Fasts. Should be ready very soon. In fact, I’m spending all day today on this project, adding a few hagiographies for some of the more recent additions to our sanctoral calendar. Here’s a sample from the book — for today’s Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle.
Paul: Apostle to the Gentiles
Paul has been called by some modern writers “the true founder of the church” and even “the first Christian.” Although we may reject such statements as exaggerations, they do reflect the enormous importance of this man in the development of our faith and our community in history.
The occasion of Paul’s conversion has long been regarded as a major turning point in Christian history. He had been an enthusiastic Jew, a Pharisee, in fact, and had studied under one of the great Rabbis of his day, Gamaliel. He advocated and witnessed the stoning of Stephen (see December 26) and was enroute to Damascus to assist in the further persecution of the Christians there when his dramatic conversion took place.
From then on his life was totally devoted to the service of Christ, and especially to the conversion of non-Jewish people. His letters and the Book of Acts give us a wealth of information regarding his life and work. He founded churches in Philippi, Athens, Thessalonica, Corinth, and many other important cities of his day. He is generally believed to have died with Peter in Rome, a victim of the persecution of Nero.
O God, grant that we may hold in remembrance your apostle Paul’s wonderful conversion, and show our thanksgiving by following his holy teaching.
(Geek stuff for 7WD: DNQZJ52GJ5NW. Please disregard. That is all.)