Today we celebrate the conversion of St. Paul. His “immediate conversion” story is perhaps one of the best known accounts in all of Christian history. For that reason, I am “struck” with the thought that no matter how powerfully God intervened in Saul’s life, there was still for him as for all of us a pre-requisite of personal surrender.
Such immediate conversions are rare in our history. For most saints, indeed most of us, the process of surrendering to God’s will is gradual. One of the reasons I believe it is gradual is because to surrender one’s own desires, plans, “will” is not an easy thing to do. Thus, a part of the “surrender” is growing in the knowledge that God’s plan and will is far better than anything I can conceive for myself.
St. Paul makes several references throughout his epistles to the “revelation” he received from God regarding Jesus as well as the doctrine and teaching found in his writings. The process of how God “reveals” Himself to us through prayer and personal life experience is probably more “subtle” than the manner in which St. Paul received his revelation, but God does desire for us to grow in such knowledge.
For myself, this is a critical element in the self-surrendering that is required for ongoing conversion to true holiness. We must allow ourselves to be fascinated with the reality and nature of God. Once we open our self to this Mystery, our lives are forever changed. May you grow today in the knowledge and love of God. May your fascination with God never cease. May your surrender to God always continue.
St. Paul, Pray for us!