January 23rd

This coming Tuesday (the 25th) is the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul.  The conversion of Saint Paul is, perhaps, one of the most famous conversion stories in the entire history of Christianity.  Paul, one of the most ardent persecutors of the early Christians, encountered the Lord on the road to Damascus and as a result of that encounter was completely transformed.  He went from trying to destroy the early Church to carrying the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

Our own personal faith is meant to be a journey with the Lord.  It is important to know our Faith and to learn about what the Church teaches and the reasons behind those teachings, but the real goal of our faith is to lead us to come in contact with the one in Whom we put our faith.  The Sacraments, the Church, the Scriptures, all devotions and prayers are meant to help draw us closer and closer to God; and whenever anyone truly encounters Christ they cannot help but be changed by the experience.

Conversion is not just a one- time experience: it is an on-going process.  Once we have encountered the Lord we have only just begun our journey.  Even after Saint Paul encountered Christ and began to proclaim the Gospel to the nations, he still spoke about the necessity of working out our faith with fear and trembling (cf. Philippians 2:12); even though he places all his confidence in Christ, he compares the spiritual life to a race and tells us that we have to strive so as to win the race.  (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:24)

We have to work at our relationship with the Lord just as we have to work at our other relationships.  Of course our relationship with God is a freely given gift and when we turn towards God it is only in response to His invitation.  Nevertheless the fact remains that we have to make our best effort to love as Christ has commanded us to love; and we still have to do all that is in our power to avoid offending Our Lord through sin.

Let us all resolve to renew our effort to respond to the graces that God offers to us.  Lord, help us to draw ever closer to You!

God bless,

Father White