Feast of the
Conversion of St. Paul
The Conversion of St. Paul by Parmigianino – found at Wikipedia
There is a great article about this painting in This Rock magazine.
Before his conversion St. Paul (or Saul, as he was known by his Hebrew name), was an active persecutor of the early Christians. These Christians were considered a dangerous sect by the first century Jews, and St. Paul was certainly willing to do his part to stamp out this new religion (Acts 22:3-21; 26:9-23). St. Paul actively participated in the killing of St. Stephen (Acts 7:58-60; 22:20), consenting to the stoning that created the first Christian martyr, and actually holding the garments of those who did the stoning.
Christ, however, had other plans for St. Paul. St. Paul was on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-19), where he was going to arrest any Christians that he might find. Suddenly, a heavenly light surrounded him, and he heard a voice asking him, “Saul, why do you persecute me?” St. Paul asked, “Who are you speaking to me?” The voice returned, “I am Jesus, whom you persecute.”
Paul was blinded, and led to Damascus, where he spent the next three days. God then sent to him Ananias, who prayed over him. The scales fell from his eyes, he could see, and he was given a Christian baptism. Immediately, he preached Jesus in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.
Jesus set St. Paul apart for the special evangelization of the Gentiles, and he made several missionary trips up and down the Mediterranean coast. Eventually, St. Paul was captured and suffered martyrdom in Rome (according to the oldest witness, on the same day as St. Peter, though maybe not in the same year.)
There’s much more to the story than this. Please, read all about it in the Acts of the Apostles.
St. Paul, pray for us! St. Peter, pray for us!
St. Joseph, pray for us!
Holy Mary, Queen of All Saints, pray for us!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!