Today I can resonate with the feast which the Church celebrates, The Conversion of St. Paul. I have to admit I have had my share of conversions. What I notice about the conversion of Paul is that, as one writer states, “Paul’s entire life can be explained in terms of one experience–his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus.” What a gift to have a powerful encounter with Christ which hurls you into a complete 360 degree turn around. That was Paul’s experience –he went from persecuting Christians to becoming one. From that day forward he spent his life forming others in the following of Jesus Christ.
Tertullian, a theologian of the 2nd century, said that is what becoming Christian is like.“Christians are made, not born.” One does not become a Christian simply by saying you want to be a Christian, although this is an important step. Being Christian just does not happen like magic. Rather, slowly and gradually one is opened to the good work of God in their life and God’s call to share life together within a community. The process is a lifelong process of conversion. Conversion is God’s work of literally turning someone around and redirecting them into a way of life rooted in the values found in the Gospel. If we are growing in faith, no matter how long we have been Christian, we will experience a call to conversion as a life long journey.
What about you? Think about your own life of faith. When have you encountered a similiar call to redirect you way of relating to another? When did you hear an inner voice nudging a change of attitude? Where is the greatest need of conversion in your life today? I believe St. Paul is not the only one who could benefit from a blinding light that illuminates areas in need of conversion. Grant to me O God a heart renewed, recreate in me the gifts of Your Spirit, your joy, your peace, your charity.