Conversion of Paul (Saul)

In this mornings readings we learn about the conversion of Saul ( Paul), from someone who persecuted Christians to become one himself. Not only did he become a Christian but he became a champion of the faith.

A few things occured to me during this reading.  First, Paul after hearing the Lords voice was helpless, and had to be taken by the hand, led by his friends to Damascus where Annanias would educate him about being a disciple. There he was given his sight again.

Is it really that different for us ?  No matter what you have done in you life,  everyone has sinned.  We have fallen, we are imperfect.  For those who are Christians, at some point in our lives we were told about Jesus.  It might not have been something that we immediately accepted, or thought about.   It took people to take us by the hand.  We needed others to lead us there, and then to educate us a bit.  Finally, at some point we saw the light.. we were given the sight to see how great God is.

Now what about Paul.. arent there Pauls in our midst ?   How many times have we heard about people who were criminals, some of the worst criminals who went to prision for whatever they did, and while they were there, had a conversion experience.    In the State of Florida we have capitol punishment.   I happen to know the man who serves as the chaplain for the prisoners on death row.    Once while giving a seminar on the death penalty, he related a story of a man who while in prison awaiting execution he had a conversion experience.     He was baptized and confirmed a number of days prior to being executed.        Now, I have an older brother who worked in the prison not far from where we grew up.  He worked in the maximum security unit where they put all the worst criminals the state had to offer.

Many times I heard him say ” All the choir boys are in prison”  this meaning that , prisoners who know the system, realize that in order to work towards getting paroled need to play the game.   Show remorse, be a model prisoners, etc.  They do that by being at the prison church services every week  etc.     I am not talking about these people, I am talking about the people who are genuine in their change of heart.

Like Paul, these people become champions of the faith and have the unique experience of forgiveness for what they have done.

To forgive others, to turn the cheek, to love, and to teach others about God, are the best of the things that we can do for our brothers and sisters.

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