Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Today we hear the story of Saul’s (St. Paul’s) conversion. Jesus says of Paul: “he is an instrument whom I have chosen” or “This man is a chosen instrument of mine” in other translations. Do you view yourself as an instrument of God?
God uses all of us, not just a special few, to spread love, compassion, and bring glory to him. We don’t need a spectacular conversion like St. Paul’s to contribute. God uses the simple and ordinary. He uses all parts of us, including our sins and weaknesses.
Paul’s past of persecuting Christ’s followers is something most would be ashamed of, something we’d want to hide. But God uses it to bring good. Paul’s story brings hope and encouragement to those who hear it. Later, when Paul is questioned by Jewish leaders, he points to this past as powerful defense for why they should believe him now. How might God be using your sins or weaknesses to bring about good?
—Jake Derry is the Campus Ministry Associate at St. Mary Student Parish at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Lord my God, when your love spilled over into creation you thought of me. I am from love, of love, for love. Let my heart, O God, always recognize, cherish and enjoy your goodness in all of creation. Direct all that is me toward your praise. Teach me reverence for every person, all things. Energize me in your service.
Lord God, may nothing ever distract me from your love; neither health nor sickness, wealth nor poverty, honor nor dishonor, long life nor short life. May I never seek nor choose to be other than what you intend or wish.
—St. Ignatius Loyola, First Principle & Foundation, trans. Jacqueline Bergan & Sr. Marie Schwan, 1985.Please share the Good Word with your friends!