January 25th is the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. St. Paul’s conversion is an event that should give us hope: no one is beyond Our Lord’s grace.
Before Paul’s conversion, he persecuted Christians. He was present for the stoning to death of St. Stephen, our first martyr. He arrested and imprisoned Catholics.
Then, something drastic and unexplainable (to the secular world) happened, Saul became a Christian and changed his name to Paul. Not just any Christian, the greatest missionary the world has ever seen! He was fearless in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Inspired by God, Paul authored many of the books in the New Testament.
How did this conversion happen? In natural terms, it is unexplainable. It can only be understand in supernatural terms. How can a vehemently anti-Catholic become, not just a Catholic, but an incredible apologist for the Faith to the point of dying for Jesus Christ?!
We see in the Gospels how many times Our Lord heals someone because others ask him. For example, the centurion asks Jesus to heal his servant. Jesus heals the servant after the centurion’s faith and humility: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof. But, only say the word and my servant will be healed.” Our Lord also heals the paralytic – spiritually and physically – when He saw the faith of his friends!
How many must have prayed for Saul’s conversion! How many offered their sufferings, that Saul inflicted, for his conversion? How many offered their deaths, perhaps St. Stephen, for Saul’s conversion?
What a lesson for you and me! Can we do similar? For the conversion of fellow Catholics who do not practice the Faith – and perhaps say they are ‘practicing Catholics’? For the conversion of fallen away family members? For non-Catholic Christians? For non-Christians living immoral lives and trying to impose such practices upon Christians?
Jesus says that some sins are only overcome through prayer AND fasting. Imagine if Catholics took Jesus at His word and began praying and fasting daily for the conversion of others, especially those who persecute Christians. The Devil has no defense! Can you think of one particular individual? Imagine if we all prayed and
fasted for one particular individual to practice and support the moral teachings of his Catholic Faith?! St. Paul would encourage us to do so!