Greetings Fellow Network of Love Lovers,
As I gaze through my window toward Lake Michigan, I see a dreary day, but one I must fill with hope and anticipation...for exams are five days away from being done! I am looking forward to the end of the school year and I am grateful for the experiences of junior year in college and at seminary. The year has been full of many new things and people and places and I thank God for it all!
A short one...simply on Saul to Paul.
Today's first reading, coming from Acts of the Apostles, mentions the persecution of those first and second generation followers of Jesus Christ: "Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the Church; entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment." (Acts Chapter 8). This Saul, this character who is imprisoning members of the early Christian community...it is hard to imagine that he becomes SAINT PAUL, one of the most influential, motivational voices of the Christian faith. His conversion story is one of epic proportions–––and his life after conversion is one that continues to bring people to want to preach, teach, and reach Christ. Paul "finds a new life in Christ." He considers loving one another to be a sign that a person has come to believe and is living an eternal reality connected with Christ. It is a saved living, one that confidently but humbly tries to re-trace the steps of Jesus, re-live a life worth reliving. In this attempt, those who seek to follow will not realize perfection per se...but in the seeking, God is present, alive, real. There is great joy in the city of God, as there was great joy in the city of Samaria in today's reading.
Sometimes I am Saul. I persecute others who I should be loving.
Sometimes I am Paul. I love those, living through the Spirit, that I might not love in another mind frame.
Sometimes I am living in between Saul and Paul. I want to act out of love but I am fearful of what that act might bring me---what realization or bolt of lighting will enter my life.
Is God calling me to take that step from Saul to Paul? Am I being called to preach a gospel message, a life worth living, laying my life down for others?
It might not be bad to reflect on these kinds of questions, especially when we are feeling as if we have mistreated someone with our words or actions. Our wake up call, on the road to Damascus, might be hardly a lightning bolt, but rather the silent stirrings of a God who is love who seeks us wherever we may be in life.
"I will not reject anyone who comes to me." (John, chapter 6 verse 37)
peace and blessings.
your friend bob : )