The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle – Feast day January 25
St. Paul the Apostle was the greatest of the early Christian missionaries. He first appears in the Acts of the Apostles under the name of Saul. Saul was raised in the Jewish faith as a Pharisee trained in the strict observance of God’s Law. He believed the Law should be obeyed by himself and all Jews. Saul was upset by the early Christian Church, believing that the early Christians had broken away from their Jewish traditions. He actively persecuted the Church in Jerusalem. As the first Christian martyr Stephen was being stoned to death, Saul watched the cloaks of the persecutors (Acts 7:58).
Paul then traveled to Damascus to further persecute early Christians. On the road to Damascus Saul had an encounter with the Risen Jesus Christ (Acts of the Apostles 9:1–19, Galatians 1: 13–14). Jesus asked, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Paul replied, “Who are you, sir?” Jesus responded, “I AM Jesus whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9: 4 – 5). Jesus then sent Saul into Damascus to wait for further instructions. Saul was shaken and blinded by the experience. When a Christian named Ananias came and baptized Saul, his blindness went away. As a result of this encounter Saul became a follower of Christ. He was now convinced that fellowship with the Risen Jesus Christ, not the observance of the Law, was all that was needed to receive God’s Promise of Salvation. (Galatians 1:11–12; 3:1–5)
Saul, whose name now became Paul, went to Jerusalem to consult with Peter (Galatians 1: 18). After his first missionary journeys, Paul was called by Jesus to proclaim the Gospel to the Gentiles. He spent the rest of his life journeying on his missions, establishing local churches, and writing to them when he heard of their accomplishments and failures. Paul’s letters are the earliest records of the life and history of the early Church. As inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul’s letters are part of the Canon of the New Testament. As a record of the happenings in the early Church they are in invaluable record of the expansion of the Christianity.
From the Book of Heaven
V4 – 3.9.03 – “My daughter, how terrible it can be for those souls who have been much fecundated by My Grace, but have not corresponded to It. The Jewish nation was the favorite one, the most fecundated, and yet, the most sterile; and the Whole of My Person could not obtain that fruit which Paul obtained in other nations, less fecundated, but more corresponding. In fact, lack of correspondence to Grace blinds the soul, it makes her deceive herself, and disposes her to obstinacy, even in the face of any Miracle.”
V8 – 12.16.08 – The privation of Jesus is the greatest of all pains – Going through most bitter days, I was lamenting to Our Lord, saying: ‘How cruelly You have left me! You told me that You had Chosen me as Your little daughter, that You would Keep me always in Your Arms – and now? You have thrown me to the ground, and instead of a little daughter, I see that You have changed me into a little martyr; but even though little, my martyrdom is just as cruel and harsh, bitter and intense.’ While I was saying this, He Moved in my interior and told me: “My daughter, you are mistaken – My Will is not to make you a little martyr, but a Great Martyr. If I give you the strength to bear My Privation with patience and resignation – which is the most painful and most bitter thing that can be found, and there is no other pain that equals it or resembles it either in Heaven or on earth – is this not heroism of patience and the Ultimate Degree of Love, compared to which, all other loves remain behind, are almost nullified, and there is nothing that can compare to It or stand before It? Is this not, then, Great Martyrdom? You say that you are a little martyr because you feel you do not suffer so much. It is not that you do not suffer, but it is the Martyrdom of My Privation that absorbs your other pains, making them even disappear. In fact, in thinking that you are without Me, you neither bother about nor pay attention to your other sufferings; and by not paying attention to them, you reach the point of not feeling their weight, therefore you say you do not suffer.
And then, I have not thrown you to the ground; rather, I Keep you more than ever Clasped in My Arms. Even more, I tell you that if to Paul I gave My Efficacious Grace at the beginning of his conversion, to you, Luisa, I give it almost continually – and this is the Sign of It: that you continue in your interior everything that you used to do when I was with you almost continually – doing what now you seem to do by yourself. Your feeling all immersed in Me and bound to Me, always thinking of Me even though you do not see Me – this is not your own thing, nor an ordinary Grace, but Special and Efficacious Grace. And if I give you Much, it is a Sign that I Love you Much, and I Want to be Loved Much by you.”