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Tuesday, January 25, 2000

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Conversion of St. Paul

Acts 22:3-16 or Acts 9:1-22
Psalm 117
Mark 16:15-18

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"Before all men you are to be His witness to what you have seen and heard." —Acts 22:15

The conversion of Paul is repeated three times at considerable length in the Acts of the Apostles (see Acts 9:1-22; Acts 22:1-21; Acts 26:1-23). This threefold repetition indicates how critical it is for people to hear about God bringing someone to conversion.

Listen to Paul's witness: "I once thought it my duty to oppose the name of Jesus the Nazorean in every way possible...I sent many of God's holy people to prison. When they were to be put to death I cast my vote against them...So wild was my fury against them that I pursued them even to foreign cities" (Acts 26:9-11). "But because I did not know what I was doing in my unbelief, I have been treated mercifully, and the grace of our Lord has been granted me in overflowing measure" (1 Tm 1:13-14). Paul summed up the purpose for his witness as follows: Christians "heard that 'he who was formerly persecuting us is now preaching the faith he tried to destroy,' and they gave glory to God on my account" (Gal 1:23-24).

Paul knew that when he told his conversion story, God would receive glory (Gal 1:24). He also knew that Satan would be defeated by the witness of his conversion testimony (Rv 12:11). Therefore, he was never "ashamed of (his) testimony to our Lord" (2 Tm 1:8).

The Lord plans to do the same with our conversion testimonies. Accordingly, He says to us: "Witness to what you have seen of Me" (Acts 26:16). "You are to be My witnesses" (Acts 1:8).

Prayer:  Father, may I believe so deeply in You that I never look upon any situation or person as being beyond hope.

Promise:  "The God of our fathers long ago designated you to know His will, to look upon the Just One, and to hear the sound of His voice." —Acts 22:14

Praise:  "How deep are the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How inscrutable His judgments, how unsearchable His ways!...To Him be glory forever. Amen" (Rm 11:33, 36).

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by one of our editors.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 21, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1999