Today the church commemorates the conversion of St. Paul. Saul/Paul, a learned Pharisee, aristocratic, proud Jew who was knocked to his knees when the voice of Jesus, himself called, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Then to Saul’s question, “Who are you, Lord?” The response resounds, “I am Jesus, whom you persecute!…But go into the city where you will be told what you must do.” Saul is struck blind and with help stumbles into Damascus where he will be taught the way of Jesus. His teacher, Ananias, and all who hear of him know of his reputation as a blood-thirsty persecutor of those who follow Jesus. Before the end of Chapter 9 in the Acts of the Apostles, it is Saul who is persecuted. It takes some of his believers who are forced to sneak him out of the city, in a basket, through a hole in the city wall. Logically, who would have believed in the great persecutor turned champion of the church?
By Judy Kramer, OSB