Conversion of S. Paul the Apostle| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
Conversion of St. Paul
Paul’s entire life can be explained in terms of one experience—his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus. In an instant, he saw that all the zeal of his dynamic personality was being wasted, like the strength of a boxer swinging wildly. Perhaps he had never seen Jesus, who was only a few years older. But he had acquired a zealot’s hatred of all Jesus stood for, as he began to harass the Church: “...entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment” (Acts 8:3b). Now he himself was “entered,” possessed, all his energy harnessed to one goal—being a slave of Christ in the ministry of reconciliation, an instrument to help others experience the one Savior.
One sentence determined his theology: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5b). Jesus was mysteriously identified with people—the loving group of people Saul had been running down like criminals. Jesus, he saw, was the mysterious fulfillment of all he had been blindly pursuing.
From then on, his only work was to “present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me” (Colossians 1:28b-29). “For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and [with] much conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:5a).
Paul’s life became a tireless proclaiming and living out of the message of the cross: Christians die baptismally to sin and are buried with Christ; they are dead to all that is sinful and unredeemed in the world. They are made into a new creation, already sharing Christ’s victory and someday to rise from the dead like him. Through this risen Christ the Father pours out the Spirit on them, making them completely new.
So Paul’s great message to the world was: You are saved entirely by God, not by anything you can do. Saving faith is the gift of total, free, personal and loving commitment to Christ, a commitment that then bears fruit in more “works” than the Law could ever contemplate.
Paul is undoubtedly hard to understand. His style often reflects the rabbinical style of argument of his day, and often his thought skips on mountaintops while we plod below. But perhaps our problems are accentuated by the fact that so many beautiful jewels have become part of the everyday coin in our Christian language (see quote, below).
“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Recognizing Our Sin:
Sin is not our best self. Love is a constant struggle, and many times we fail to act in the most loving way because of our laziness or selfishness or weakness. We missed the mark of doing the loving thing; we fail to be the best we can be.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
Take care to employ well your extremely good natural inclinations in the service of Him who gave them to you.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook One: 11-111
The first notebook of Saint Faustina begins her private revelations given from the Heart of Jesus to her. She writes in a beautiful and simple way. Though, as mentioned in the introduction, her actual words are not quoted in these reflections that follow, the messages that she received and articulated are presented.
In truth, her messages are those contained in Sacred Scripture and in the Tradition of our Church. And if you were to read through the lives and teachings of the saints, you would find the same revelations. God has always spoken to us throughout the ages. He speaks the one Message of Truth, and He reveals that Message in love. The revelations to Saint Faustina are one new way that God continues to speak and reveal Himself to us, His sons and daughters.
The reflections based on her first notebook, are intentionally short and focused. They are a way for you, the reader, to slowly and carefully listen to the Heart of God spoken to this great saint. Read these reflections slowly and prayerfully. Ponder them throughout the day and allow the Lord to speak to You the message He wants to give.
Reflection 24: The Purification of Your Soul
The greatest suffering we can endure is a spiritual longing for God. Those in Purgatory suffer greatly because they long for God and do not yet fully possess Him. We must enter into the same purification here and now. We must let ourselves long for God. We must see Him and realize we do not yet fully possess Him and that He does not yet fully possess us because of our sin. This will be painful but is necessary if we are to be purified of all that keeps us from His perfect Mercy (See Diary #20-21).
Reflect upon the fact that the spiritual purification of your soul is necessary. Ideally, we will all embrace this purification here and now. Why wait? Do you seek to grow in this purification? Are you willing to let your soul long for God and have Him as your one desire? If so, all else in life will fall into place as you seek Him and as you discover the Divine Mercy that awaits.
Lord, please do purify my soul in every way. Allow me to enter into my purgatory here and now. Let my soul become consumed with a longing for You and let that desire overshadow every other desire in my life. Jesus, I trust in You.