St. Paul is my patron saint and my name sake. I truly believe that his conversion demonstrates two important aspects of how God works. We are all important in God's plans and that conversion is possible no matter what the circumstances are. In the Old Testament God used a murderer (Moses), an adulterer (David), someone too young, (Jeremiah), and someone too old (Sara). Jesus chose an assortment of disciples from fishermen to tax collectors. If we have learned one thing from the history of the Almighty's handiwork it is this: there is no status, personality, intellectual profile, or state of worthiness that is necessary. God seeks you and in finding Him you become transformed. When Saul was on the road to Damascus and heard the heavenly voice, he asked one question "Who are you?" That question can be the foundation of our spiritual life as we seek to know Him. Saint Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei once said the he was the envelope. The envelope is usually discarded for it is the message we keep. Pray daily that you can be a messenger of the Good News. Pray that whatever gift has been given to you that you find the way to use it in building God's kingdom. Pray for others that God will enter their hearts and and transform them. What may seem impossible to you is never out of the realm of possible to Our Heavenly Father. Keep a candle burning for that lost loved one, for the friend that just doesn't get it, for the child who has grown up and walked away. God is searching for them, searching tirelessly.
United in the mystery of the conversion of Paul, we pray for the grace of conversion in our own life:
R. Lord, Give me the Grace of Conversion
When I look at my life from the starting point of my own insufficiences, instead of from the fact of your compassion, grace, and love for me. R.
When I would prefer to live by my own thoughts and my own understanding instead of by your Truth which alone can set me free. R.
When I would rather brood over what annoys me than turn myself over to you always invite me to come to you. R.
When I obsess over self-absorption, complacency, and self-assertiveness. R.
When I get dejected about my sin, not because it offends you, but because it prevents me from being able to take delight in myself. R.
Whenever I live in a dualistic way, as if my faith and "my real life" are two separate things, R.
When I am deceived into thinking that my happiness depends on something in the future instead of what you give me in the present moment, R.
When discouragement and shame make hard for me to be faithful, R.
When I become distraught over the evil I would commit if left to myself, forgetting that I do not live according to myself but that I live in you, R.
When self-doubt and fear seem to have the last say, R.
When I miss the point of my fragility, a gift you give me so that I will always be prompted to rely on you, R.
When I am inclined to interpret my problems as punishments and my miseries as being abandoned by God, R.
When impenetrability takes over my life, making me resistant to your beauty and all the little ways you ordain yourself to me, R.
When I get distracted by my feelings, my emotions, my passions, my regrets, R.
When I get duped into thinking that I must fix myself up in order to have a relationship with you, forgetting that you come to me with your love just the way I am, R.
When I treat my faith like some abstract answer to be sought instead of as a loving Presence to be affirmed, R.
When I get discouraged by chronic or recurring sins in my life, R.
When I would attempt to earn you favor by achievements, forgetting that I did not choose you, but it is you who chose me, R.
When scandalized by my own selfishness and self assertion, R.
When the oppressive nihilism of life makes me ignore or reduce the desires of my heart that lead me to you, R.
When independence and self-sufficiency make me resist the companionship with others through which you will give me your friendship and tenderness, R.
Whenever I treaty my preconceptions like idols that drain my life of wonder and simplicity, R.
When the evidence of all that is wrong with my life leads me to become paralyzed, indifferent or lax, R.
When I get preoccupied with my self-justifications trying to convince myself that I am loveable, R.
When I would rather live my life in a safe or sheltered way instead of living my life as a risk, putting your will first in all things, R.
Composed by Father Peter John Cameron, O.P. editor Magnificat