Sunday, January 25, 2015

Conversion of St Paul

A painting by Michael Camilleri Cauchi in the Sacred Heart Church, Fontana, Gozo, Malta
This day in history is a true milestone. Personally I probably would not be a priest if I was not born in Catholic Malta. And Malta would not be Catholic if it wasn’t for St Paul being shipwrecked there in 60 AD (we’ll talk about that on February 10, the feast of the shipwreck of St. Paul,) and St Paul would not have made any of his missionary journeys if he was not converted on his way to Damascus. The dramatic painting below is one of many that are depicted in Maltese churches, although the shipwreck obviously is more of a popular scene. We honor our great Apostle of the Gentiles today on the day his life changed forever.
Caravaggio's depiction of the Conversion of St Paul
"Now Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,  went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains. On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He said, “Who are you, sir?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.” (Acts 9: 1-9)

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