Brief History of Saint Paul (early years):
Saint John the Baptist Church
Newburgh, INThe first reference to Saul (as he was then known) is during the persecution of the first Christian communities, specifically, his involvement in the execution of Saint Stephen. In Acts 7:54-8: 1, we read that Saul was at the execution and approved it.
One day on the way to Damascus to fine more Christians to bring back to Jerusalem for punishment, a blinding light came from the heavens so bright as to strike Saul to the ground. The voice of God then spoke to him: "Saul, why do you persecute me?" Bewildered, Saul asked "Who are you, Lord?" The voice answered, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting."
The Lord said that he was to be "an instrument" to spread the Good News among the Gentiles and throughout Israel. Historically, some scholars have placed this event at approximately 33 AD, occurring just after the execution of Saint Stephen.
It is important to note that Paul's heavenly vision is considered to be the single most significant event in the early history of Christianity, apart from the birth and life of Jesus Christ himself.
Here is today's offering from Praying with Saint Paul: Daily Reflection on the Letters of the Apostle Paul, edited by Father Peter John Cameron, O.P.
A Generous God
Monsignor James Turro"For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and this is not from you; it is the gift of God."
(Ephesians 2:8)"This is not from you, it is the gift of God." Perhaps there is not a more deep-seated, urgent desire in man than the desire to be self-sufficient--not really to need anybody or anything--God included. This of course is a fond hope. Consider that though we as a race have mastered space and in large part defeated physical illness, however we have not been able to vanquish death nor have we succeeded in achieving untrammeled and unending happiness. Clearly we need God and the happiness and security he alone can confer. Humbly we must acknowledge that we are not equal to the task of acquiring much of what we require to lead a fulfilled and successful life. We have a desperate need of God and his gifts for us to lead a fulfilled life.
We must look beyond the happiness that God confers upon us to countless other gifts and favors with which he brightens our lives. One thinks of faith--in every way, a gift of God. It is the faith of God and the things of God. It gives us to understand that just about everything short of God is limited and flimsy; only God can truly, deeply satisfy.
As one reflects on God's generosity toward oneself, a not inappropriate resolve is to emulate God's lavish generosity in our dealings with other people--an imitation of Christ.
Faith, this great gift of God, must be prized and jealously guarded. We must never jeopardize this faith in any way--not by the thoughts we think or the life we lead. It should be a hardy faith--not a faith that one possesses but a faith that possesses one. A mere profession of faith honors God because, when all is said and done, it is taking God at his word.O God, you have heaped high the graces which you have been
pleased to offer me; give me one thing more--a grateful heart.
Enough said, except for
THANKS BE TO GOD!!!