“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me… I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me enough and gave himself for me.” – Galations 2:20
The conversion of St. Paul has always fascinated me. I mean come on! Seriously! Pretend you were him for just one second! Picture yourself as one who is known for zealously persecuting the Christians. And thus, you are on the road to Damascus to continue this mission… when suddenly, a light from the heavens flashes before you. It is so intense that you fall to the ground and you hear a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” You shakingly manage to reply…. The voice answers saying: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting”
Much like St. Paul, I think that if this were to happen to any of us, we too would dedicate our entire lives to telling people about Jesus. It would be impossible not to do this. You had just experienced Jesus in an fully tangible way. So much so that this saint was wont to say that he had met Jesus, and received the revelation to go preach directly from Him. There is no doubt of this. In that moment Paul experienced the great love of Christ. So great a love that God was saving him from his horrible actions. God in his infinite power and might choose to rescue him. Although, Paul is not the only one to experience this. It is so true that each of us have gone through this at some level. Each part of this story we have experienced. The road, the light, the acknowledgement, the meeting, and the change. We have all been there.
Traveling down a road, the way the conversion story begins. We have all traveled down this road, just like Paul. A road which we believe will fulfill us. A road we believe will get us to where we are meant to be. When suddenly something hits us. The intense flash of light. Perhaps the light is a thought that pops into our minds as we travel. Maybe it is even an event or a person we meet. Whatever it may be, this light is a grace. We suddenly see how this road will only lead us to a terrible place, and that our walk down this road was greatly hurting our loving Lord. We suddenly see that we were created out of love by Him to live for so much more. Perhaps, like St. Paul, after this light flashes we at first do not recognize it to be Christ. But he speaks to us, introducing himself. Then, we finally meet Him. We meet Him in His love and mercy. We meet Him a such a real, non refutable way.
Just as St. Paul met Jesus and His love and forgiveness, as Catholics we too have the blessing of encountering the same. This indescribable meeting is what we experience at every mass, and this forgiveness is what we find in the beautiful sacrament of confession. In the Eucharist, humbly hidden, yet fully there, we meet Jesus in body, blood, soul and divinity. In the confessional, we meet with Christ, working through the priest, and receive total forgiveness for all that we have done. And thus, once recognizing this we are left totally changed. The final part of Paul’s conversion. Our new lives then carry and entirely new mission, just like Paul’s did: to live for Him.
Thus, our Lord is still knocking me off my horse everyday. And through this grace, everyday we are able to continue striving for sanctity. We are able to get to know our Lord more and to experience His love for us. This love, especially poured out for us in the sacraments, is the most life changing thing that we can ever come in contact with. Just like our Lord did with Paul on that great day, he strives to do with us. He wants to rescue us from any sin and to have us live His plan for our lives. Let us pray for all of these amazing graces. The grace to be always be thankful for God’s love. The grace to notice these points in our lives. The grace to have the courage to change our lives and go out to preach the gospel. The grace to be so impacted by meeting him in the sacraments that just like Paul we will not be able to shut up about Jesus. Let us pray for this grace that we each may bring Christ to others, and not get knocked down from our horse too hard.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
“As we gaze upon the Lord’s glory with unveiled faces, we are transformed from glory to glory into His image by the Lord who is the spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18
God bless you!