The Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul confirms Paul’s astounding conversion from an enemy of Jesus to one of His greatest Apostles. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking St. Paul’s intercession to help him grow in the Virtue of Faith and by building the Virtue of Studiousness so he can better imitate St. Paul’s love of Sacred Scripture.

Liturgy

Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle – January 25 – Mk 16:15-18

Commentary

Following the His baptism and grueling 40-day ordeal in the wilderness, Jesus emerges from the wilderness and learns John the Baptist has been arrested. Jesus returns to the region of Galilee, first to His hometown of Nazareth and then to the larger trading town of Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee.

With only a simple call by Jesus, Peter, Andrew, James and John immediately follow Him, leaving their livelihoods and possessions (their nets and boats); James and John even leave their father Zebedee. These four men are Jesus’ first chosen leaders, play a prominent part in His public ministry, and go on to lead His Church after the Ascension of Jesus. Simon, renamed Peter (Greek for “rock”) by Jesus, becomes part of Jesus’ “inner circle” (with James and John) and becomes the first pope of the Catholic Church after the Ascension. Andrew (Greek for “manly”) becomes the apostle to the Greeks. James (with brother John, is called by Jesus, the “Sons of Thunder”) is also part of Jesus’ “inner circle” and will be the first martyred. John, the youngest, is also part of Jesus’ “inner circle”, is given responsibility to watch over Our Lady after Jesus’ death and writes two key books of the New Testament, the Gospel of John and the Revelation to John. 

Several years after His Ascension, Jesus personally appears to Saul, the violent Jewish persecutor of the Church, temporarily blinding him and calling him to conversion (Acts 9).  Saul is converted, eventually taking the name of “Paul” and becomes the second great pillar of the Church Militant; the Apostle to the Gentiles. After his conversion, Paul spends the last 30 years of his life establishing the Catholic Church throughout Asia Minor, Greece and Rome, and he leaves a written record through his collaboration with Luke (Gospel of Luke and Acts) and his own epistles (Greek: “letters”). Paul was martyred by Nero in the late 60s A.D. and his relics continue to be venerated in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome. 

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Marvel at how Jesus, Divine King and greatest Leader, with mysterious Divine Knowledge, recruits unlikely men (lowly fishermen; the virulently anti-Christian Paul) who are immediately compelled by the powerful Charisma of Jesus to leave everything (families, homes, work) and who will go on to carry out exceptional heroic acts of evangelization and martyrdom. 

Seek St. Paul’s intercession to grow in faith

Realize: As Jesus established His Holy Catholic Church, He called the 12 Apostles, and later called Paul to be an Apostle to the Gentiles; all the Apostles, moved by the encounter with Christ, came to understand that He is the only Son of God (CCC 442). 

Believe: Reflect upon Christ’s Call to the Apostles (CCC 541, 787).

Pray: St. Paul, Great Apostle, pray for me that I grow in the Virtue of Faith so I might better imitate your unshakable confidence in the Son of God, and zealously respond like you did to help build His Holy Catholic Church. 

Imitate St. Paul’s love of Scripture

Realize: In His Divine Wisdom, Jesus calls and inspires Paul to help establish the early magisterium of the Church: Paul is credited with writing and influencing about half of the New Testament (Luke, Acts, his Epistles).

Believe: Reflect upon Sacred Scripture (CCC 101-141).

Pray: St. Paul, Writer of Epistles, pray for me that I grow in the Virtue of Studiousness (a part of Temperance) so I build a daily discipline of reading and contemplating Scripture, particularly the Gospels, and I can grow in knowledge and love of Our Lord Jesus.