Archive for January 25, 2012

For Love Of Christ, Paul Bore Every Burden

Posted: January 25, 2012 by CatholicJules in Meditations, Memory Book

From a homily by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop

Paul, more than anyone else, has shown us what man really is, and in what our nobility consists, and of what virtue this particular animal is capable. Each day he aimed ever higher; each day he rose up with greater ardor and faced with new eagerness the dangers that threatened him. He summed up his attitude in the words: I forget what is behind me and push on to what lies ahead. When he saw death imminent, he bade others share his joy: Rejoice and be glad with me! And when danger, injustice and abuse threatened, he said: I am content with weakness, mistreatment and persecution. These he called the weapons of righteousness, thus telling us that he derived immense profit from them.

Thus, amid the traps set for him by his enemies, with exultant heart he turned their every attack into a victory for himself; constantly beaten, abused and cursed, he boasted of it as though he were celebrating a triumphal procession and taking trophies home, and offered thanks to God for it all: Thanks be to God who is always victorious in us! This is why he was far more eager for the shameful abuse that his zeal in preaching brought upon him than we are for the most pleasing honors, more eager for death than we are for life, for poverty than we are for wealth; he yearned for toil far more than others yearn for rest after toil. The one thing he feared, indeed dreaded, was to offend God; nothing else could sway him. Therefore, the only thing he really wanted was always to please God.

The most important thing of all to him, however, was that he knew himself to be loved by Christ. Enjoying this love, he considered himself happier than anyone else; were he without it, it would be no satisfaction to be the friend of principalities and powers. He preferred to be thus loved and be the least of all, or even to be among the damned, than to be without that love and be among the great and honored.

To be separated from that love was, in his eyes, the greatest and most extraordinary of torments; the pain of that loss would alone have been hell, and endless, unbearable torture.

So too, in being loved by Christ he thought of himself as possessing life, the world, the angels, present and future, the kingdom, the promise and countless blessings. Apart from that love nothing saddened or delighted him; for nothing earthly did he regard as bitter or sweet.

Paul set no store by the things that fill our visible world, any more than a man sets value on the withered grass of the field. As for tyrannical rulers or the people enraged against him, he paid them no more heed than gnats.

Death itself and pain and whatever torments might come were but child’s play to him, provided that thereby he might bear some burden for the sake of Christ.


Posted: January 25, 2012 by CatholicJules in Holy Pictures, Memory Book

Paul was born in a seaport city in Asia Minor called Tarsus, in the province of Cilicia. He was born of Jewish parents who maintained , with great care, the Pharisaical traditions and pious customs. They came originally from Galilee and belonged to the tribe of Benjamin. On the eighth day of his birth, the child was circumcised according to the Jewish custom. He was given the name of Saul and in addition, as a Roman citizen, the name Paulus was also added. This too was customary among Jews who were Roman citizens.

In those days, even wealthy Jewish boys learned to work with their hands. Saul was to be a tent maker and he began to learn this trade when he was quite small. As a young man, he was sent by his parents to Jerusalem where he was instructed in the law of Moses by Gamaliel, a noble Pharisee and an eminent Doctor of the law.

As Saul grew older, he persecuted the followers of Jesus with zeal, believing them to be heretics and idolaters. His name alone would induce fear in the hearts of the faithful for he breathed nothing but threats and slaughter against them. He was one of those who took part in the murder of Saint Stephen, the first Christian Martyr, by looking after the robes of men who stoned him to death.

In the fury of his zeal, he applied to the high priest for authority to arrest all Christians, men and women, in Damascus, and bring them bound to Jerusalem. Saul was almost at the end of his journey to Damascus when a great light suddenly shone around him; as he fell from his horse, he heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” The voice was gentle but reproaching. “Lord, who are you?” he asked in awe, and the voice answered, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting!”

“Lord, what will you have me do?” asked the instantaneously, miraculously converted Saul, who from now on will be known as Paul. Jesus told him to rise and to proceed on his journey to Damascus where he would learn more of Jesus’ plan for him.

When he got up from the ground, Paul realized that he could not see, he had been stricken blind! The furious persecutor of Jesus Followers, whose name wrought terror to the Christians, was no more; he had to be led by the hand like a child!

In Damascus, Paul was miraculously healed of his blindness. Thus, a persecutor was turned into an apostle and chosen to be one of the principle instruments of God in the conversion of the nations.

From the moment of his incomparable conversion, Saint Paul knew and loved Jesus!

Excerpt from “Saints for all. Lives of Saints for every week.” A Paulines Publication Africa

Conversion Of St Paul