Today is the feast day of the conversion of St. Paul. You may remember the famous story of his encounter with Jesus. Well, God knocked him off his horse and struck him blind. Paul heard a voice saying “Saul, Saul, Why do you persecute me?” Paul, who was formerly called Saul, was a Roman who hunted down Christians and killed them for the Roman government. He was a legend in his own time, and feared by Christians. At the same time, a Christian named Ananias heard the voice of God tell him to minister to Saul to get his eyesight back. You can read up on the story here or you can go to the book of Acts in the Bible and read the account at Acts. 22:3-16, or Acts. 9:1-22.
What I find encouraging about this story which is relevant for today in 2021 is the fact that Jesus can convert the most hardened opponents of Christianity. Jesus loved, loves Saul/Paul, the biggest Christian hater and killer, as much as he loved, let’s say, Mother Teresa, someone who is actively serving the Lord. This is amazing on many levels. It shows that any person, no matter how far that person is from God, they can be converted. And it shows us that all people are loved so deeply by God, no matter our sins, (present, past and future). God loves us. There is hope for us, and everyone!
I think about Ananias. Look what he did. He had to step out in faith and really trust God to take the actions he did. This act of love and courage instructs us that we need to do the same. There is so much hope in Jesus. God will give us the grace, courage and strength we need to carry out our mission to share Jesus with others in our every day lives. There are many opportunities to do God’s work in 2021! It’s not easy, but God does do the heavy lifting. We just have to show up, and do our part with a trusting and loving heart.
This story is truly inspiring for us today. We can have hope in Jesus who is alive today, yesterday, and forever, working in our lives and the lives of all He created. Look around for opportunities today.
Below is a short teaching by Father Al Lauer of Presentation Ministries to further expand on Paul’s conversion and to encourage you to have hope. Father Al also talks about how we can intercede for others and gives examples worth hearing about.