Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Light from Heaven

We usually conclude our evening prayer with a reading from our "Pauline calendar" for the following day: a thought from the Founder, a listing of any foundation anniversaries on that day, and a prayer for the deceased members of the Pauline Family (we actually have the names of each person listed on their anniversary of death). The feasts of St. Paul are almost always marked by an enormous list of foundations. Even here in Chicago, the first Mass celebrated in our community chapel was held on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul in 1980. (I was here for the occasion! A few of us drove over from St. Louis to help get things in order.)

The Feast of the Conversion is always a good reminder of how God can surprise us with a greater truth than we had been cherishing, and call us back to the right path when we thought we were already on it. Paul's conversion was that kind. Not a change-of-religion conversion, but a the-religion-you-believe-in-is-bigger-than-you-think conversion; even though at first there was the intellectual component to it, the information that "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," the real point of that meeting on the road to Damascus was to win Paul's heart. As zealous as he was for "the Law," his ardor became love for a person, Jesus, and for every other person whom he now would see as a "brother for whom Christ died."

That conversion is probably the most urgent grace to ask for every member of the Church in these very challenging times.

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