Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Has the Year of St. Paul brought any conversions of heart?

And so marks the end of the Year of St. Paul. I was in Italy last year just prior to the beginning of the year dedicated to St. Paul and since then I have come to know a bit more about the man Paul. I participated in a bible study on St. Paul and I attended a lecture given by Dr. Chris Baglow about the life of St. Paul that focused on the Temple of the Holy Spirit and how our lives reflect this about us, we as temples of the Holy Spirit. Paul gave us such incredible teaching as to our being the 'body of Christ' by our participation in the Eucharist. As Catholics I still wonder how many people realize the implication of this teaching. That by taking in Jesus Christ into our bodies we become like Christ, we are temples of the Holy Eucharist. For the Israelites, the Temple in Jerusalem was the most holy place on earth because it held the Ark of the Covenant, the Word of God. The significance of what Paul was teaching was probably incredibly difficult for some Jewish people to hear, much less comprehend. There are times I want to shake some people out of their reverie for the implications of what this means for our lives.
When teaching the children about St. Paul, they can all tell me that his name was Saul and he was knocked off his horse by a blinding light and was cured and became a follower of Jesus. Sounds so simple. We have to realize that Saul was blind for three days before he experienced his "resurrection" and then truly saw the "light". I wonder what hell he descended to for those three days, what did he truly "see" before his resurrection? This is not so simple. When we experience a conversion, a metanoia or a change of heart, many of us will experience this gradually but for some it will be that God knocks us on our behinds to get our attention. When this happens do we see God working in our lives? God reveals many things to us we don't want to acknowledge. For our sakes He wants us to see our sinfulness, the ugliness in our lives before we can freely turn to God and be the person He created us to be. This conversion is truly a blessing, a miracle happening in our lives. Like St. Paul do we recognize the miracle happening in our lives? Do we recognize ourselves as 'Temples'? Sin and ugliness can be extremely painful especially when it's our own sin and pain. For God it's the struggles of our lives that make them worth living, living in Christ.

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