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January 25, 2020

Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle

Today’s feast marks the end of the 51st Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. There is a choice of readings for the epistle today. Either is appropriate. On this day last year, Pope Francis said the following: “Saint Paul, whose conversion we celebrate today, had a powerful experience of grace, which called him to become from a persecutor to an apostle of Christ. God’s grace also drove him immediately to seek communion with other Christians, first at Damascus and then at Jerusalem (Cf. Acts 9:19, 26-27). This is our experience as believers. As we go growing in the spiritual life, we understand ever better that grace comes to us together with others and is to be shared with others.”

Paul’s conversion was not from an immoral to a moral life, but from a false to a true notion of a holy life. It was from the notion that we are saved by our practicing all the prescriptions of the Mosaic Law to the realization that we are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Note what he said in his letter to the Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ and the life I now live I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20). True holiness is to die to ourselves so that the risen Christ truly can live within us, and make us his instruments in the salvation of the world.

The strength of Paul came from an encounter with Jesus not only on the road to Damascus but every time he, with the early church, “took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’” Is this the source of our strength as well?

Let Us Pray:

O merciful Lord, help me to live a life of continual conversion, so that I may always do your will, not my own. May I be your instrument of grace to all that I meet.

 

Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)

 


About Paul J. Bernier, SSS

Blessed Sacrament Father Paul J. Bernier served for many years as the editor of Emmanuel. He is a popular writer, preacher, and director of retreats. Among his many published works is Ministry in the Church: A Historical and Pastoral Approach, Second Edition, published by Orbis Books in 2015.