Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul

~ Parmigianino

Would that we could have the Heavenly Father throw some loved ones we know off a horse to the same end.  Or do you think maybe He actually does that sometimes?  I wonder if the trials we see our dear fallen ones face are not the same tactic, but their free will hasn't kicked in yet to lead them to the Faith.   Paul could have despaired after he fell and was blinded,  he could have thrown up his hands in disbelief at the voice of God, and continued to live his life blind and bitter.  But he didn't.  We only know about him, in fact, because he heard God's voice in the middle of his misfortune, opened his heart and jumped over that invisible barrier between doubt and faith; he looked for God and found Him.

I think God still speaks to us, the faithful and the blind ones still stumbling.  I don't think He ever stops talking.  And sometimes He tips us off our horses to get our attention.  How many times, I wonder, has He done that to me in my life and I just didn't get it?  I'm sure He's tried to wake me up out of my stupor of bad habits and apathy dozens of times, but, instead of noticing who it was that had just shoved me out of the saddle, I blamed my hard luck or got mad or galloped off on a pity trip -- without my horse. It's sad how dense I can be.  The metaphor of Paul's blindness is an apt one. 

On this feastday, I pray that St. Paul will help me realize when God is trying to teach me a lesson -- and that he'll help me to learn it.  And I also beg his intercession for the conversion of those near and dear to all of us who have either lost their Faith or never been blessed with it. 

St. Paul, pray for us!

In Honor of Saint Paul
(An ancient Coptic prayer)

O God of knowledge and giver of wisdom, who bringest to light the hidden things of darkness, and givest the word unto them that preach the gospel with great power, who of Thy goodness didst call Paul, who was sometime a persecutor, to be a chosen vessel, and wast pleased in him, that he should become a chosen apostle and preacher of the gospel of Thy kingdom, O Christ our God. Thee also do we now entreat, O Thou good and that lovest man. Graciously grant unto us and unto all Thy people a mind without wandering and a clear understanding, that we may learn and understand how profitable are Thy holy teachings, which are now come unto us by him; and even as he was made like unto Thee, the leader unto life, so make us to be like unto him in deed and doctrine, that we may glorify Thy holy Name and ever glory in Thy Cross. And Thou art He unto whom we ascribe praise and glory and worship, the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, now and ever and unto the ages of all ages. Amen.

* Found here

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