Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
Today is the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.
Now, we all know St. Paul, he’s a big fish – so to speak. No matter your denomination, he’s a ‘heavy hitter.’ But I kind of like that today we are not remembering just him, but specifically his conversion. And really, this IS one of the really fascinating things about Paul, for me anyhow. Maybe because I am SO resistant to change. And Paul, he should be (if he isn’t already) the patron saint of change, of stubborn people, of opinionated strong-willed folks. Oh gee, maybe he’s been one on MY patrons all along and I am only now figuring it out. Doh!
But I digress. Anyhow. Paul’s conversion fascinates me. It resonates with me. Not because I’m all about persecuting innocent folks (I hope. Hush, Jon, I heard that!). But rather, it’s because he was SO sure he was right, and filled with such pride and anger and intent about it all. It was his mission to search out and imprison Christians-followers of Christ. He HATED them.
And I find that really so intriguing, and so telling, and apropos of today. Isn’t that just what is going on today? In our modern, oh-so-enlightened, world? We all do the same darn thing. Sometimes even to the same levels of persecution and self-righteous surety. Even the hate. But the point is just this: Saul/Paul (he was born Saul, of course, and renamed Paul by Christ at his conversion) didn’t KNOW. He thought he knew it all, all about those Christians, all about what they were about. But he was wrong. He didn’t KNOW them. His hatred of them was manufactured from his own pride and ignorance and misguided ideas.
How often do I do that? Too often.
How often does the world, the media, the shouting commentator, do that? All the time.
And I think that maybe we all need to get knocked off our horse now and then. I know I do. And really, literally, Saul was KNOCKED off his horse (which I just love, such a great real life thing to happen, sorry Paul, but I do, love that). Blinded by the light of Christ. And that light, really SEEING him, and being called by name by him…it changed everything. It was Saul’s conversion. It converted his whole self, down to his very name. And he let it.
He let it change him.
That’s the second part of this that I have to just sit down and contemplate, for the rest of my life. Every day. And still it will boggle my mind. Because isn’t that the hardest thing? Ok, for me, I think it is. Change. I struggle with it, all the time, every day just about. I resist the big changes, drag my heels through them, or pretend I’m not resisting and steamroll through them to find the new (as close as possible to the old) normal to get back to my comfort zone. I hate being out of my comfort zone. Hate it. But Paul embraced that, in a humbling yet total all-in way. And in doing so, he changed the world. Whoa. That’s something for me to think about.
So, enough blathering. Enjoy this feast day. I think it’s a cool one, hip and modern in its own way. Timeless.
Happy Feast of Conversion of St. Paul!
St. Paul, pray for us!