Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul

Today is the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. Because it falls on a Sunday this year it is not observed but is still important. I like it because it reminds us that people don’t have a conversion and that’s it, their done. Paul had a journey of adjusting, of listening to others, of learning and submitting that lasted over four years. Then and only then was he ready to be of use to the greater church.

William James talked about various types of conversion experiences. Conversion is one way that personality can change at its core. It changes how we look at ourselves, the world, the cosmos and how we then act. It changes our filter of experience.

Because Paul took time to grow in the Lord, to listen to others, to pray and listen to God he finally acted when he was ready to act. It was not about him, it was about God.
For me, today is the Feast of humility, patience and maturity. As Paul says to the Corinthians, "When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things." Growth takes time.

The Mass ended with “Amazing Grace”. I can think of no finer example (except Paul’s!) of conversion of heart than the story of this song. It is easy to believe change does not happen but to hold that belief requires that one ignore the world. I would rather find the examples of change and savor them for what they are, the fruit of Amazing Grace.

Chris Tomlin - Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)

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