Saint Paul, out of all the Apostles, continues to be my favorite. There are quite a few reasons as to why but the most prominent is how I can relate to him. We all have stories and scars to share, some a bit more deep than others. It is Paul’s conversion that resonates so deeply to what we all can attain. We’re not perfect, far from it truthfully, but we should always strive to do better. It doesn’t mean that one day everything will be perfect but you at least know you’re doing the right thing.
Paul was not wholesome in his beginning days, to put it bluntly he was a killer of Christians. He belonged to the sect of Jews known as the Pharisees, a rather strict group who held firmly to the traditional Jewish beliefs. After what can be described as a slap-in-the-face awakening, Paul experienced a powerful vision from Jesus Christ. After this vision he did a complete 180 and actively worked to bring Christ’s message to people.
Christianity is not easy, as Paul found out; he was attacked, jailed, harassed and eventually martyred all because he was Christian. Christ told us Himself that because we don’t belong to this world we will always face a struggle. We often see this when we face our own trials that seem to come at a never ending pace. We must always hold on to the hope that Jesus gave us when He died on the Cross. That eternal salvation would be ours if we stayed the course and overcame the temptations.
A good friend of mine told me that life is a participation sport, you can either play or sit on the sidelines. The same can be said about Christianity, we either watch or we participate. We have to actively be seeking to better ourselves, to reach out to others and to also spread Christ’s message to the rest of the world. We have to actively be living our faith and not simply talking about it. You can say you’re a Christian but you have to show that you are. This is done by being kind to others, not having an ego, clothing the naked, feeding the poor, etc.
We should never be ashamed to share our past because it could help others who are struggling with the same issues as you. At first it can be daunting, I know it was for me. When we look at what we’ve been through, whether from our choices or life circumstances, we can use it to make us stronger. Saint Paul didn’t let his past stop him but rather he used it to propel him forward. He was on fire with the Holy Spirit but he wasn’t born that way. None of us (with the exception of Jesus and the Blessed Mother of course) are born perfect. Neither will any of us truly attain perfection until we make it to Heaven.
Many of the Saints struggled at first with their past, the chains that bound them. Saint Augustine, Saint Francis, Saint Mary of Egypt, etc. As Saint Augustine so eloquently stated “There is no saint without a past, no sinner without a future.” We are in a very special time right now, Lent. This is a time of deep reflection and repentance. Look at where you’ve been and realize how far you’ve come, you are a child of God. So share your story, let your voice be heard and become a participator of Christianity. Saint Paul – Pray for Us.
Your words speak so profoundly to me,
Help me to truly let them play in my life.
Help me to share the story of my beginning,
To become like Saint Paul and spread your message.
You bestow upon me special graces,
Help me to open my eyes and heart to attain them