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?” (Acts 9:1-4)
When I was young, today’s first reading was one of my favorite stories. In truth, I think it still is. It would rank right up there with the stories that began, “Once upon a time…” I would be very intrigued.
The conversion of Saul is a powerful story of faith unenlightened to faith enlightened. After all, when we talk about Saul, we are not talking about a slouch. He was a very stand-up kind of guy. His faith was real. It was deep. It was strong. Sadly, however, it was misinformed.
Saul was one of many devout Jews who believed that Christianity was an aberration and an abomination. He truly believed that Christians were a threat to the faith and to the world. As a devout Jew, he wanted to do everything that he could do to rid himself of this threat. Thus, he was armed with official letters that would give him authority to arrest any Christian. Those arrested were most likely put to death.
On the road to Damascus, he encountered the Lord.
Saul was so deeply zealous in ridding the world of Christianity that God realized there would be only one way to get Saul’s attention: knock him from his horse and blind him, have him sent to Christians to be cared for and comforted, and have the Christians educate him in the faith.
You have to give Saul credit. He faith was real. He believed in God wholeheartedly. And when he realized that Jesus was truly God, his whole life was changed. He was like a sponge, soaking up the stories of Jesus. He became a zealous Christian. He was a changed man.
There are times that we go off in one direction with our minds set on things that might not be of the Lord. What will it take for God to get our attention?
FAITH ACTION: Ask God to show you the areas of your faith where there is still much doubt. When you see those areas, ask Him for the grace that you need to remove that doubt.