April 30, 2004

Pondering St. Paul's Conversion

I'd always thought of St. Paul's experience on the road to Damascus in isolation, as a stand-alone event in which God said to St. Paul "let there be light" where light was his enlightenment.

But at Mass the priest started his homily by mentioning the reading from Acts 7 earlier in the week and I had one of those "ah-ha!" moments. I knew where he was going and he didn't disappoint. He linked the last words of Stephen as he was being stoned - "Lord, do not charge them with this sin" - with Paul's conversion. Stephen was praying for Saul during his moment of maximum suffering and one could scarcely imagine a more powerful prayer.

I think it suggests anew our interconnectivity and mutual influence. I don't think it an accident that Paul's conversion in chapter 9 followed so closely after the prayer of the first martyr, another Christ who followed in his Master's footsteps by asking that He not hold their sins against them.

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