Paul, born Saul of Tarsus, never met Jesus face-to-face as the other apostles had, yet his entire life was changed by a supernatural encounter with Christ.
A Jewish zealot, Saul was on his way to Damascus to arrest followers of Jesus, when suddenly a great light flashed around him and he fell to the ground. He heard a voice say, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He said, “Who are you, Lord?” The voice replied, “I am Jesus and you are persecuting me….” (Acts 9:3-6). In an instant, Saul knew Jesus was the miraculous fulfillment of all he had been pursuing in his scrupulous observance of the law of the Pharisees. This profound event was the beginning of his own intimate relationship with Christ.
Paul then spent his life tirelessly proclaiming the message of the Cross–that through the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven and we can receive eternal life. He taught that we are saved entirely by God’s grace and mercy–that we cannot earn our own salvation. When we receive this gift and commit our lives to Christ, we are able to do even greater works than our observance of the “law” could ever accomplish.
Paul’s prayer for you is “to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; until, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God” (Eph. 3:14-21, JB).
The Church has set aside June 29th to celebrate the holy lives of St. Paul and St. Peter.