The life of St Paul is a great source of inspiration for me. I enjoy reflecting upon the passion that is so evident in his life. When Paul believes in something then he does not fail to take every opportunity to share that conviction with others. We would do well to draw inspiration from his desire to evangelize in our own attempts to remain faithful to this fundamental element of the Church’s existence.
Paul was a committed and zealous Jew. He believed in his faith and was ready to do anything to defend it and to further promote its growth. Yet this almost fanaticism must have been tempered by a submission of heart to the work of God that ultimately ended up in his conversion to Christianity! Perhaps we can say that it is an honest form of fanaticism for the work of God that ultimately allowed the Holy Spirit the small opening that He needed to awaken within Paul the full truth of the revelation of who God is and what God was asking of him in his life.
It is rare to see such a dramatic conversion experience in the life of such a public person. This indicates a certain level of humility – a willingness to admit his past mistakes – in order to move forward in being obedient to God’s will. One of the things that I really admired about the Jubilee program of Pope John Paul II in 2000 was his desire to repent of past mistakes in a public fashion in order to lay the framework necessary to move into the mission of the third millennium. Paul witnesses to such a humility and depth of vision in the conversion story of his life.
The conversion of Paul challenges us all to look at the process of conversion in our own lives. Do we facilitate the work of conversion in our lives through docile humility to the leading of the Holy Spirit? What is the fundamental focus in our lives – is the will of God or are we more concerned with the things we want to do?
When was the last time that I re-evaluated my life in terms of the ongoing work of conversion in my heart? Is holiness or my own pleasure and comfort the most important thing to me?
Holy Spirit, it is only by your grace that I am able to live according to the will of God. Even then I struggle to be obedient. Help me to surrender my life more deeply to the power of your grace at work in my life.