Meditation for the Day

Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle, January 25

May We Allow God’s Grace to Work Within Each of Us, Qualifying Us for the Task to Which He Calls Us, So That God’s Will May Be Fulfilled through All Our Endeavors.

I would like to share with you a story I had read some time ago – One evening a man took a small candle from a box and began to climb a long winding staircase. “Where are we going?” asked the candle. “We’re going up above the house to show the ships the way to the harbor.”

“But no ship in the harbor could ever see my light”, the candle said. “I am so very small.” “If your light is small”, the man said, “just keep on burning brightly and leave the rest to me.” The little candle said meekly, “I will.”

When they reached the top of the long set of stairs, they came to a large lamp. The man took the little candle and used its tiny flame to light the lamp. Soon, the large, polished mirrors behind the lamp sent beams of light out across the miles of sea to guide the ships safely home. The candle smiled, for he realized his faithfulness was rewarded with a wondrous accomplishment!

In today’s Readings, we recall, once again, the great Love which our Father in Heaven has for all His children, and that no task is impossible for our Lord; because, as we are reminded in an old axiom – “God does not call the qualified; He qualifies the called.”

Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul. The Acts of the Apostles tell us that, after the death of Stephen – one of the original deacons of this new Christian movement called the Way“Saul…was trying to destroy the church; entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment.”

And in our First Reading, we hear the testimony of one who was once a passionate but hard-hearted persecutor of God’s faithful sons and daughters. Yet, it was through the loving Mercy of Almighty God which dramatically transformed the heart of this faithful zealot, a person overwhelmed with zeal for protecting the Jewish Law and its customs.

Through this singular event on the road to Damascus, Saul’s energy and love for his God was now harnessed for a new purpose. Called into spiritual service, Saul became an Apostle for Christ Jesus, chosen to become God’s instrument to help others grow in their awareness of God’s Love through the One True Savior of the world.

It became Paul’s (Saul’s) mission, as we read in his Letter to the Colossians, to “…proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me.”

Even in our Gospel Reading today, we are reminded that Christ chose uneducated fishermen to lead His Church. He selected disciples with no leadership qualities – one who was impetuous, one who would doubt, one who was despised for having been a tax collector, and others who bickered over petty things.

Yet, our Lord saw into the very depths of their hearts. This motley group, this band of “brothers”, was transformed by the power of God to do great things! Of all the disciples chosen, the only one who showed any real potential from the beginning, Judas, ended up betraying our Lord to His death. Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta spoke it best when she said that “God does not call us to be successful, He calls us to be faithful.”

The great commission “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” is a commission given to each and every one of us, and we do our Lord a great injustice when we think ourselves unworthy of this personal call!

No matter whether we are called to a vocation in life of embracing marriage and become a loving parent, if that is God’s will, or even a vocation to the single life, or for those who are called to a vocation of serving the Body of Christ through clerical, religious or lay service, God gives us the grace to fulfill that to which He calls us. He only asks that we open our hearts to His grace.

Paul’s encounter with the Risen Christ dramatically and radically altered his life forever! His intimate relationship and love for his Savior becomes evident in the many Letters he wrote to the early Christian communities. For it is in these Letters wherein lies the wealth of Christian understanding and reflection.

Through the grace of God, and the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit, Paul and the Apostles changed the world forever – and so can we in the environment in which we find ourselves today.

God does not call the qualified to the role which we fulfill in life. Rather, He qualifies the called as He did for Paul, and as He did for the faithful Eleven, and all those throughout the centuries who have responded to God’s invitation in serving the varied needs of His children.

May our relationship of love with Jesus Christ guide each of our steps we take in the life of faith which you and I profess daily. May we be open to the Holy Spirit as was Paul in his ministry to God’s children.

And as unqualified as we may interiorly feel in the roles to which God calls each of us – in faith, may we open our hearts and allow God’s grace to work within us, qualifying us for the task to which He invites us, so that God’s will may be fulfilled through all our endeavors.

The success of our work – the work to which God calls you and me – is in His hands. It always has been, and it always will be.

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Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.

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Scripture for the Day

  • “I persecuted this Way to death, binding both men and women and delivering them to prison. Even the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify on my behalf.” (Acts 22:4-5a)
  • “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective. Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them; not I, however, but the grace of God that is with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)
  • “According to the grace of God given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But each one must be careful how he builds upon it, for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:10-11)
  • “It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me.” (Colossians 1:28-29)
  • “He said to them, ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.’(Mark 16:15)
  • “I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.” (Philippians 4:13)
  • “Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that of ourselves we are qualified to take credit for anything as coming from us; rather, our qualification comes from God, who has indeed qualified us as ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:4-6)
  • “Yet, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

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Prayer for the Day

“Glorious Saint Paul,
Most zealous Apostle, martyr for the love of Christ,
Give us a deep faith, a steadfast hope,
A burning love for our Lord,
So that we can proclaim with you,
‘It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.’

“Help us to become apostles,
Serving the Church with a pure heart,
Witnesses to her truth and beauty
Amidst the darkness of our days.
With you we praise God our Father:
To Him be the glory, in the Church
And in Christ, now and forever. Amen.”

Prayer from the Year of Saint Paul (06/2008-06/2009)

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