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Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle
Wednesday, January 25th, 2023
Saint Paul was right when he wrote to the Corinthians, “Now to the unmarried and to widows, I say: it is a good thing for them to remain as they are, as I do.” And I’m sure he had a prophetic insight into my family. The group of seven corralled into prayer time only to be side-swiped by the six-year-old yelling from the couch, “I thought my book said Penisaur!” Welcome to the front lines of the domestic church in all its imperfect glory.
I was not too keen on writing a gospel reflection about Saint Paul after dealing with the emotional fall-out of the cancelled group prayer. Here is Saint Paul with his spectacular conversion story complete with a prophecy from the mouth of Christ before his ascension: “They will pick up serpents with their hands . . . they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Acts 27 and 28 shares the story of Paul’s shipwreck, his imperviousness to viper bites, and the miracle healings of the island’s inhabitants.
And all I’ve got is a shipwrecked prayer time and a miraculously disappointing bedtime with everyone getting tearfully separated to contain the laughter contagion. Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed. The one St. Paul nugget that I’m hanging on to while writing this is the virtue of perseverance. “Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Rom 5:3-5)
In moments like these, I like to turn to Psalm 139. The first verse says it all: “LORD, you have probed me, you know me.” (Ps 139:1) The Lord knows our intentions. He knows what gives us the giggle fits. He knows our weaknesses and what makes us cry. He knows how we feel even when we ourselves don’t know how we feel. Sometimes all it takes is to remember that we are known, and we are seen. Let these moments of mini-conversions open our eyes to the love of the One who knows!
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