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Monday, January 25, 2016

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Conversion of St. Paul

Acts 22:3-16 or
Acts 9:1-22
Psalm 117:1-2
Mark 16:15-18

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"a future full of hope" (jer 29:11)

"Saul for his part grew steadily more powerful." —Acts 9:22

St. Paul is one of the greatest people in history. He was an apostle, the first missionary, a martyr, and a saint. He founded several churches and wrote much of the New Testament. His work and word continues to be a major influence in the world.

The Lord's work through Paul is so prodigious that most Christians may find it difficult to relate to him. However, Paul was as human as anyone. He considered himself to be the worst sinner (1 Tm 1:15). He was "an extreme case" (1 Tm 1:16). Paul came to Corinth "in weakness and fear, and with much trepidation" (1 Cor 2:3). Paul said: "If I must boast, I will make a point of my weaknesses" (2 Cor 11:30). Some Corinthians said of Paul: "His letters, they say, are severe and forceful, but when he is here in person he is unimpressive and his word makes no great impact" (2 Cor 10:10). Paul had a thorn in the flesh (2 Cor 12:7) and a challenging physical condition (Gal 4:13-14). He considered himself "at the end of the line," like someone "doomed to die in the arena," "a spectacle to the universe," a fool for Christ (1 Cor 4:9-10). Paul described his life: "We were crushed beyond our strength, even to the point of despairing of life. We were left to feel like men condemned to death so that we might trust, not in ourselves, but in God Who raises the dead" (2 Cor 1:8-9).

No matter how sinful, weak, rejected, and distressed you are; don't despair. The Lord made something beautiful of Paul's life; He will do the same for you. Give your life with all its brokenness to Jesus.

Prayer:  Father, give my life international and eternal significance.

Promise:  "The man who believes in it and accepts baptism will be saved; the man who refuses to believe in it will be condemned." —Mk 16:16

Praise:  St. Paul endured the doubts of his fellow Christians for years after his conversion. Yet he humbly and patiently continued to spread God's Word with power.

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2015

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