Monday, January 25, 2010

Christ never gives up on anyone (Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Jan 25, 2010)

It is perhaps one of the first and greatest miracles in the early Christian church that a man so hateful and destructive to Christianity, himself became its most powerful preacher, defender and missionary. The stories of Paul’s persecution of the early followers of Jesus are legendary, including his approval and joining in the condemnation and stoning of Saint Stephen. Before his conversion, Paul—who was first known as Saul—possessed such disdain and hate for Christians that he literally hunted them down wherever they were.

We must not think of his attitude, however, as simply that of an evil man bent on destroying his enemies. Paul was an extremely devout Jew who saw Christians as corrupting the pure message of Judaism. It was this, and this alone, that made him want to wipe them out. On the road to Damascus, of course, all that changes, when he has an encounter with Jesus, who asks him why he is persecuting him. This event begins Paul’s conversion from being a Christ-hater, to being the greatest Christian preacher in the ancient world.

Much of Christianity owes its existence to the zeal of Saint Paul. In fact, most books of the New Testament were written by him. His story is one of the greatest proofs that Christ doesn’t give up on anyone—no matter how hard and sinful he may be. God is able to make use of us, despite our greatest sins and unworthiness, if like Saint Paul, we allow God’s grace to touch our lives and change our hearts. Paul is the greatest proof of what the Bible tells us: “Nothing is impossible with God”.

"The Kingdom of Heaven is a condition of the heart." (Friedrich Nietzsche)